It’s hard to believe that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is upon us. While taking in the various retrospectives being offered in the days that lead up to that memorable date, I keep thinking that the news agencies are missing one dramatic unintended consequence of that horrific day: the explosion of knitting in the United States. While I have no empirical evidence to prove that cause and effect, I have ample anecdotal evidence, not the least of which is my own experience.
I began knitting at age ten and pursued the craft energetically throughout my life. But at age 20, I discovered a frightening fact about myself as a knitter. The truth arrived in the form of four very large boxes shipped to me by my mother who was cleaning out my childhood home prior to its sale. Treasures of my youth, I thought happily. No, think again—it was an accumulation of all of my knitting projects over ten years, not one of them completed. I vowed then never to start a knitting project until I’d finished the last one.
Fast forward to 9/11. I awake, turn on the TV and see one smoldering Twin Tower. Within minutes I watch, stunned, as the second jet hits. The rest is a blur except for this: the refuge offered to me by my basket of knitting that had gathered dust as I avoided confronting a dye lot issue in a blanket that required more yarn than expected. The problem that had seemed insurmountable earlier was solved within minutes. That day, and for a great many days thereafter, I sat and cried and knit furiously. As I did, my blanket grew, all the while wrapping me in a comforting cocoon of my own making.
That was just the beginning. I couldn’t stop knitting. I knit more and more complicated patterns, then began to design. One day I found myself standing in my LYS wearing my first Swirl and boldly announcing “I’m going to write a knitting book!”
Ten years after 9/11, the second printing of knit, Swirl! is due to arrive in my distributor’s warehouse on, you guessed it, 9/11. I can’t help but smile at the thought that Osama Bin Laden would have been so disappointed to learn that one of the unintended consequences of his effort to spread terror was the spread of creativity and the healing art of knitting throughout the USA.
Sandra McIver is the author and publisher of knit, Swirl! Uniquely Flattering One Piece, One Seam Swirl Jackets, a book that is getting rave reviews across the knitting world for its beautiful presentation of an ingenious form some have taken to calling “the Miracle Sweater”. After 25 years as the president and founder of Matanzas Creek Winery, she sold the business and turned her attention to her lifelong love of knitting. knit, Swirl! is her first book.