I have a confession: I am not a knitter.
Though there have been many attempts at becoming a knitter, it has never quite stuck for me. My mom has tried to teach me to knit multiple times in the last 29 years, but it has never blossomed into a hobby as she would have hoped. My mom is a self-taught knitter. She grew up in Northern Ireland in a family of nine children where knitting and sewing her clothing was a necessity, but also a creative outlet she truly enjoyed. She still furiously knits to this day.
Throughout my childhood, she would teach me to cast on and cast off on a set of pink needles with leftover balls of yarn from her various masterpieces. I would do a few rows and lose interest shortly thereafter. Usually, I would only get to the point of making a little swatch of stitches. Then I would put it down and forget about it. When I would come back to it, I would get to exactly the same point each time. I suppose I’m a stop-and-start sort of knitter. We tried needlepoint as well. After completing one needlepoint project (a little needlepoint house and garden with the alphabet below it), I was racing out the door to play kick-the-can with the rest of the neighborhood kids. And so, I guess that is the story of how much of a knitter I am not. I am, however, an avid and loving observer to the world of knitting, not exactly a participant or an authority.
This past month I happened to be in Paris while the ‘We Are Knitters’ pop-up was also there. As I flicked through my Instagram, my old college friend and fashion school classmate, Samantha Brunson, was pining to go through her Instagram stories. So, before I got on my plane that Thursday (the opening day of the pop-up!), I stopped by to explore the beautiful new space on Rue des Blancs Manteaux in the Marais. There was a huge protest that day and public transport was shut down, but I braved the streets to do some fieldwork for Sam.
Little did I know, I had just walked into the perfect pop-up for a knitting beginner (many times over).
The pop-up it’s self was so cozy and filled with friendly faces. A bright and inviting wood interior with lots of tactile bits and bobs. A wall of their beechwood needles artfully arranged and sculpted downward on one side of the room. A naughty hashtag graced the front window (#woolporn). Other plywood walls had skeins of wool inserted into circular holes like little donuts. You could brush your hands over each color to get an idea of which yarn you liked most and which would make it into your kit.
The idea of ‘We are Knitters’ is that you can choose a design you love from their selection and they will send you a kit with the exact amount of wool skeins for that design along with needles and design instructions. What was special about the pop-up, is that you could create this kit on the spot from a slew of designs. You could choose a snood, a hat, a scarf, or a blanket. There were so many great options. The kit is a great gift (to your self or someone else!) and the space-inspired so much creativity. The weight of the yarn is perfect for beginners, as is the size of the needles. If you needed help once you got your kit home, the ‘We are knitters’ website has video tutorials, free patterns, crocheting techniques, and a full-blown knitting community ready to support you. On top of that, the yarn is 100% Peruvian wool and the needles are 100% beechwood. There is no plastic packaging or plastic needles and the community really values sustainability. Beginner kits start at around $55 online and in-store.
Although I did not walk away from the pop-up with a kit myself (my luggage was already teetering the scales at the airport and I had to hold back), I do have an inkling that maybe this all happened for a reason. Maybe it is a little nudge from the universe that it is time to give knitting another try. Just one more try. It can’t hurt! And if anything, I know it would make my mom very, very happy.
Get started with WAK
5 rue des Blancs Manteaux
The WAK pop up will be open every day from 11am to 8pm.
From the 4th to the 22nd of December 2019