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When I started Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously, one of the main questions I wanted to answer was, "Why do Knitters Knit?" The answer took a year to unearth, despite its simplicity: There isn't just one reason why knitters knit.
While searching for this answer, I traveled to Toronto to talk to Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and to Nashville and New York to talk to Ann Shayne and Kay Gardner of Mason-Dixon Knitting. I met with yoga guru (and knitter) Cyndi Lee. I chatted with an artist. I called a lawyer. And in between, I knitted a fantastically complicated sweater by Scottish designer Alice Starmore, whose gorgeous designs inspire conversations about 16th-century British royalty and 21st-century copyright infringements. Knitting — any craft, really — is always about more than than its tool. Craft is about the people who practice it.
During my 365 in the knitting underground, I found a lot of answers to my initial question.
One was on a bumper sticker on a car at the sheep and wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY. "I knit," it read, "so that I don't kill people."
Some knit for warmer, fuzzier reasons, like so that they can have a tangible demonstration of their love, like in this heartwarming ad for a Belgian Natural gas company.
Some knit to push boundaries. Or to outfit their dolls. Or to hold back time, or make it pass more quickly.
Every single knitter has her (or his) reason for taking to the yarn and the needles. There is no single answer. Heck, I knit for different reasons — to unwind, to exercise my brain, to keep my hands busy while watching bad reality TV — at different times of the day.
But, sometimes, I knit something just to see if I can.
Why do you knit?