Although my grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was a child, I really did not become passionate about knitting until college. I left Minnesota to attend a wonderful women's college in Massachusetts. One of the long-standing traditions there dictated that each dorm create a "Santa Scarf" to be given to the faculty member who dressed up as Santa for the dorm Christmas party. The scarf was begun after Thanksgiving break by a student with decent knitting skills (and leftover yarn) and then added to by anyone with a few minutes on their hands. As you can imagine, the scarves were usually hideous: yarn nobody wanted, knitted by extreme amateurs, often in the wee hours of the morning. But I fell in love with the process despite the less-than-gorgeous product. And I've been knitting ever since.
As I gained confidence in my knitting skills, I began teaching others to knit. I think my worst teaching experience was also one of my favorites: I was asked by a kindergarten teacher at our local Montessori school to teach the entire class to knit. Having no idea that 5 year-olds are often not ready to knit and that 24 kids is far too large a group, I accepted the challenge. For many of the kids, the best part was making their own wooden needles and I think only one child actually learned the knit stitch, but I still run into teens that were in that class and they definitely remember the experience!
I think that we all need to work with our hands on a regular basis. Knitting is my handwork of choice. I knit to remind myself that I am creative. I knit to create a calm space in my hectic life. I knit complicated patterns to keep my brain nimble. I knit simple, repetitive patterns to slow myself down. I knit to honor my grandmother. I knit to teach my children.