Living Entrepreneurship Blog / The Arts

I Like Knitting Because I Like Networks

Barbara Selmo: I like knitting because I like networks, color, and process.  Knitting provides me all three.

My mother taught me to knit when I was around 6 years old.  Her mother was a legendary knitter, the type that could talk and knit socks without ever looking down.  My mother, by contrast, was an excellent seamstress and dedicated her spare time to making clothes to order for friends and family.  I thought sewing was boring.  So when I found a ball of blue wool and two size 1’s, I brought them to her and asked her to teach me.  She did.  I made many long, thin, squiggly scarves as presents for my relatives and for my dolls, who appreciated them most, I think.

Over time, I invested allowance money into “How To Knit” books and worked through each pattern—headbands, hats, scarves (I got better at them), bedroom slippers (how Victorian) and mittens.  My knitting mania lasted until high school.  In college, I briefly returned to wool and needles when a roommate and I worked a pair of bright red mittens with patterns on the back as a going-away gift for a friend.  But, other than that, and wearing the many cardigans my grandmother had knitted for my aunt, who had passed them all to me, I stopped knitting.

Unemployment and the opportunity for a new social network brought me back to it.  While I was searching for a job, I got involved in knitting because I wanted to learn to crochet.  A close friend was a master at all fiber crafts and invited me to join her knitting/crocheting group.  Meeting once a week to knit or crochet, have snacks and talk with a new group of women?  I was thrilled.

Crocheting paralyzed me.  And anyway, I wanted my youngest daughter to have a homemade poncho, like one I had seen on a classmate of hers on the playground.  So that was my first big project.  And I have been knitting, purling, ssk, yo, and tinking ever since.  And yes, I have even gone on yarn crawls.  I meet fun people, have a new topic to bond over with strangers, and even enjoy Babson colleagues in a whole new way (yes, I mean you—Sue, Ann, and Becky.)

Here’s a picture of my latest project, a fool-proof baby blanket. We’ll see, right?

Barbara Selmo, Director, Graduate Admissions, Babson College