As I prepare for my first knitting-related interview, to be broadcast on, I’m realizing that there is a cool story behind KnitFreedom, and I wanted to share it with my lovely readers. I really believe in this business and as I try to succeed at teaching people to become Knitting Superstars over the Internet, it helps to remember why I started.

How Knitting Saved My Life, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament

Liat's Story
By Liat Gat - Founder • Published November 11, 2010 • 23 Comments

knit superman chart

Knitting really did rescue me!

As I prepare for my first knitting-related interview, to be broadcast on, I’m realizing that there is a cool story behind KnitFreedom, and I wanted to share it with my lovely readers.

I really believe in this business and as I try to succeed at teaching people to become Knitting Superstars over the Internet, it helps to remember why I started.

Learning to Knit

Complete Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crocheting 3rd Edition square
Complete Idiots Guide to Knitting and Crocheting
I learned to knit just after I graduated high school, using a book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting. I read every single page, following every instruction and illustration, until I got to the end of the book.

I made every project, one by one, in the exact order described. I was a knitter and there was no looking back.

But then, about seven years after I learned to knit, I forgot I knew how to do it.

How could this have happened? The reason was that, unbeknownst to me, I developed a full-blown eating disorder.

My Journey Back to Knitting

Given my rigid upbringing, our obsessive thin-culture, and the stress of the general mid-twenties success-test, I’m not surprised. What was weird was that I didn’t even notice!

Dieting became my full-time hobby. I thought that weight loss was the thing by which one’s success was measured — the thing to talk about, think about, and plan about. (Lack of food will do this to anyone's brain — it’s scientifically proven.)

Avalon Hills Eating Disorder ClinicI only realized something was going on when my beloved roommate finally cried, "Can we talk about something else??!"

Luckily, my family was able to support me in going to an eating disorder clinic, where I slowly re-learned the habits of normal eating and normal socializing.

And there was the craft woman. She brought scrapbooking projects, collage crafts, and other stuff I couldn’t care less about, and I paid her no mind. Then one day she brought knitting needles and yarn. It was an epiphany.

As she was showing all the girls how to cast on for a felted purse, I was thinking, "Why is she showing them the knitted cast-on? The long-tail cast-on is so much faster!" and then - "Wait, I know how to knit! How could I have forgotten?"

Becoming a Teacher

Flat-Top MittensOn my next trip home, I got yarn for the Flap-Top Mittens in Melanie Falick’s Handknit Holidays, and completed them within a couple weeks.

I also started helping the other girls — picking up their dropped stitches, reminding them how to cast on, encouraging them. And all these behaviors came so naturally to me. I loved it!

Soon after that, I "graduated" from the clinic and returned home to Bozeman, able to eat normally but lacking a job or purpose in life.

What I WAS doing was knitting like crazy and spending so much time at my LYS, Stix, that the employees started recognizing my voice on the phone!

The Magic Loop Booklet by Bev Galeskas cover sq
The Magic Loop Booklet by Bev Galeskas
I learned Magic Loop from Beverly Galeskas’ little pamphlet, before any of the employees took any notice of this awesome technique.

By the time they offered me a job, my phone number was already written on the employee contact list!

For the next year, I lived and breathed yarn. I helped students learn to knit and to fix their own mistakes.

I started re-writing people’s patterns that they brought in, saying, "Why would they have you do it this way? This is so hard and confusing! Why don’t you just… take a seat while I re-write this for you…"

My passions for knitting, helping people, and making stuff better had started to bloom. The rest is history. 

Knit Your Own Christmas Ornament

Now: A fast holiday ornament project you can do in the round (on Magic Loop of course) with a little leftover yarn.

This isn’t my pattern, but it’s a great one that lets you practice lace and Magic Loop at the same time — let’s see how good your skills are.

white knitted lace Christmas ornament cover
This is a moderate challenge for Magic Loopers - try it!

This knitted Christmas ornament cover pattern is by Judy Sumner and is a free download.

Other Good News

I’ll be appearing on Salt Lake City’s KUTV 2News This Morning next Thursday! I’ll be teaching the anchors how to knit. Updated: watch the interview here.

Related Resources

Related Post: Live Your Dream — A Celebration of How Far We’ve All Come
Resources: If someone needs help - Avalon Hills Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Leave a Comment

If you liked this article on how an eating disorder helped me rediscover knitting, please post in the comments.

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23 thoughts on “How Knitting Saved My Life, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament”

  1. Margie Chellberg

    Upon watching one of your videos for the first time, I knew immediately you were the one to watch! Slow, up close, large needles and thick yarn…awesome! Your voice is comfortable, and your sense of humor is perfect. And now I know why I like you so much! You’re from Bozeman. I went to MSU for a year, and I loved it. I miss that neck of the woods! And now maybe I know why I’ve been eating more…I stopped knitting in Februrary after a winter marathon of knitting. Ok, I’m going back in! Thanks.

  2. Liat:

    I LOVE Knitfreedom. You taught me to knit – my mother and grandmother failed. Long life Continental Knitting:-) I always have some project on the go. Currently it’s a mistake rib scarf which I’ve threaded with seed beads – just a few “twinkles” here and there. I’ve made 3 sweaters and a feather and fan lace shawl.Told so many people about your site. Thanks so much. We love you.

  3. Nancy Pranaitis

    I LOVE your videos! They are so clear and easy to understand. I learned continental knitting because I was knitting so much and my hands were killing me. Now I am much happier. I really want to learn the magic loop, but I have so many projects going that I have not yet found time. Soon, I hope. Thanks so much!

  4. Natalia Ballestero

    Hi, I’m a dentist and I have a arroyos surgery, so I can’t have kids, I learned how to knit online, that’s why I’m back to life knitting babies stuff for others, but happy to help, because as I could do it by myself others in my office are learning, that’s the best treatment to fix my depression problems, and to understand that I’m not a mommy, but I’m the nice untie that knit a beautiful gift… Good for you and please add me to your list of contacts. Greetings from Costa Rica.

  5. I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer. He wanted to stay at home, so nursed him, my 15 year old son and I.
    I had been an avid knitter and machine knitter with a 40×50 studio.
    When he died, circumstances made me move into a 1100 sq ft house. I did not touch needle or pins for eight years. I now do spinning weaving and other crafts.
    And although space is limited, I am learning that it there is a will, there is a way.

  6. You are a wonderful teacher, Liat. I love your pragmatic bent. I also appreciate your classics major in college. I’m a college teacher who wants to become a better knitter, and you seem the ideal teacher. Tracy

  7. Hello everyone, I am the new girl on the block , using knitting to prevent my hands seizing up, pleased I found you . Everyone sounds so upbeat, I was taught how to knit by my Grandma and Mum, knitted for my three boys. Then stopped for years, I am now 80yrs and have taken it up again. With your help Liat I hope to take on board some of the new technics.

  8. Nothing happens for nothing. I re-started knitting to occupy my hands and avoid “munching” all evening long as I want to loose some weight. I knit mostly for others and by thinking of others, I don’t focus on me. It is a pay it forward thing. Thank you !

  9. Barbara LeBlanc

    Liat, thank you for sharing your story. I have purchased several of your online classes and thoroughly enjoy your videos. You make everything so easy to see and do. I came back to knitting after years of being away. Because of your great videos, I now understand so much more than years ago and I enjoy my knitting much more with this new knowledge. As it is said, when one door closes in our lives, G-d opens another for us. Thankfully for the knitting world, you walked through the next door.

    1. Wow, Barbara, thank you so much for this wonderful note! To think that you are knitting with more confidence and understanding because of my videos makes me so happy.

      I feel so connected when students write me comments like this – now I know you’re really out there! Thank you so much.

  10. Liat, you have a gift. Your gift is making people feel good about themselves. Your knitting videos are so good because you talk to your students and not down to them. Sharing your struggles helps others get through theirs too. I feel very fortunate to have found your web site. Sincerely, Billi

    1. I am so fortunate you found me, Billi! You know, as I was editing my old blog posts in my blog Spring-cleaning, I came across the first comment you made, the day you found my site. You said that you had learned something new and that you would be definitely back for more.

      And here we are! You are such a special student to me – I’m so glad you are keeping in touch. Happy knitting!

  11. Liat, you already know that I think you’re Wonder Woman! I’m so glad you went to the clinic and saved your own life. Teaching knitting is truly your calling, and I toot your horn every chance I get. Live long, knit happy.

    1. Hi Kay,

      Aw, you are so sweet! Going to that clinic was so hard but it really did change my life, and I’m so grateful. Life is tough sometimes – I was lucky I was able to go there and get help!

      Thanks for your support. It means so much to me!

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. Eating disorders have been a thread in my life, too. I’m glad you found a passion in knitting and shared your knowledge with us.

  13. Wow Liat, that’s an amazing story! I believe it’s safe to say we are all so grateful that you went to that clinic. And yes of course not just for knitting ;-)

  14. Thank you for sharing that personal glimpse of yourself with us, your readers. I love learning what makes people tick. It's so neat how you came to realize your passion, and how it's evolved, and will continue to do so, no doubt!

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