The final post in my series How Knitting Changed My Life is by Irina Pi. I met Irina through FiberShare. She was my daughters match up but when my daughter enlisted me to make a bag for Irina we soon became Instagram friends too. Irina is multi-talented. Not only is she a translator and takes the mostly lovely photos of her garden but she's a knitwear designer as well. This is something I didn't know about Irina when we first met. She keeps it pretty underwraps but she has some beautiful designs you should definitely check out.
Irina's story is a great example of how something as simple as learning to knit can change your life. Here's her story.
My Knitting Story by Irina Pi
My affair with knitting starts many moons ago. My mum knows how to knit but she has never been an avid knitter. I think because she has always worked full time (she is a doctor) and then had to take care of the family, she didn’t have a lot of time to devote to her hobbies. But she would pick her needles up once in a while and I always enjoyed watching her. When I was in uni mum knitted me lots of hats per my request (I had “I-want-hundreds-of-hats” syndrome at that time it seems!), and she even tried to teach me to knit. She is a continental knitter and even though I learnt how to knit and purl the process just didn’t grip me. Skip forward, about 8 years, and I decided I wanted to make hand-made scarves as presents for my husband’s aunts. They are both vegans, so I bought some bamboo yarn and simple needles and went to YouTube to search for knitting tutorials to refresh my memory. I was really lucky to come by Very Pink Knits channel run by Staci Perry, who has, arguably, the best technique and pattern video tutorials on the Internet. She basically taught me everything I know, and how to crochet too. And most importantly she taught me the “flicking” method of knitting and that is what made me fall in love with the process. Holding the yarn with my right hand is just so much more intuitive for me.
So after knitting those scarves, I then decided to knit a pair of socks. I knitted one sock, “kitchenered” the toe and then realised I forgot the decreases for the toe! So I had some kind of hammer-toe sock on my hands! I then knitted a pair of fingerless mitts, which turned out to be really small, because I didn’t swatch and didn't yet have an eye for the yarn weight/needle size/gauge ratio. But by making mistakes I kept learning. I discovered more and more techniques, yarns beyond basic acrylic blends sold in small local shops, and then Ravelry. I didn’t know anyone else who enjoyed knitting, so I joined Instagram to share my projects in the hope of finding like-minded people. That I did. I was really lucky to be invited to a knit night with three wonderful ladies. These three ladies are now wonderful friends of mine and we meet regularly. I also participated in Fibre Share and this is how I met wonderful Katherine and her daughter Sarah.
I am a freelance translator, a job that I don’t really like, and sometimes I have very quiet periods in my work which is bad for my morale but also means I have lots of time for knitting. So a few years ago I decided to try my hand at designing knitting patterns. At the moment I mainly design accessories, but I do plan to design a garment soon too, I just need to get my backside in gear and do the math! But I have to say I just love knitting shawls, they are a perfect combination of relaxing and interesting knitting, and they are portable, are relatively quick and lend themselves beautifully to all the wonderful hand-dyed yarns available. I design what I like to wear myself and I am so grateful that there are people who like my designs and knit them! It is one of the best feelings in the world! And it boosts my morale so much when I know I am doing something productive with my hands (my head gets a workout too!).
I seem to be luring my whole family into this whole Wool World. So much so, that now my father-in-law has gotten into hand turning crochet hooks with the wood from his woodland and my sister-in-law has kept some sheep fleeces from her Romney sheep flock so that I can have it spun into yarn. So this is my neck project: to find out the cost and how I can have it professionally spun by a local spinning mill. I am so excited! Never ever did I imagine that I would become such a keen knitter and pattern designer and I am so grateful to it for helping me find myself and my path.
I loved reading Irina's story and I love how she shared the mistakes she made when she was first learning to knit. We've all been there, we all start at the beginning and learn as we go along.
Thank you so much Irina for sharing how knitting has changed your life. You can find Irina's patterns on Ravelry. I especially love her Bare Branches and Thophy Shawl patterns and her High Woods Shawl. And I might be stitching up a few of her High Wood Hats for Christmas presents. (If any of my family is reading this please disregard that last sentence. The hats are not for you [wink,wink]) And go follow Irina on Instagram. You won't be disappointed. Her lovely garden photos are enough to make you ooh & aah but there are also lots of beautiful knitting photos too.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this series. I loved reading every post. And if you've missed any of the other posts in this series you can find them all by clicking here.
Until next time...
Carry a little joy wherever you go.