Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™

How Knitting Saved My Life, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament

Blog » Liat's Story » How Knitting Saved My Life, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament

How Knitting Saved My Life, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament

Liat Gat - Founder

November 11, 2010

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.

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

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  1. A very lovely story. Knitting, quilting, cross stitch are all life saving creative outlets. I am 83 years old and each day is wonderful, I live for my knitting, quilting and cross stitch. I could never be bored and I can’t imagine life without it.
    So happy you were able to recover from the eating disorder.

  2. I know you must be thanking God for helping you find your way back to health! If you don’t believe in Him, you should. I know how foggy I get when I go too long without proper food, so now that you have explained that, I understand a bit more about why eating disorders are so difficult to control. I’d go on to say that your saving grace, learning to be a marvelous knitting instructor, has benefited a huge number of grateful people—like myself. I can’t begin to tell you how many of your knitting videos and tips have helped me, and I’ll take every opportunity to thank you and share your site with other knitters.

  3. I’m so happy knitting helped you recover from your eating disorder. My daughter struggled from many years, many inpatients but is doing well now. I got into knitting when my cardiologist told me to get a hobby so when I would wake up with palpitations, I had something to take my mind off it. That was 30 years ago and I’m still an avid knitter. I was recently in Missoula visiting family and wishing I had the time to visit Stix. I’m a bobcat. 😊

    1. Hi Susan,
      What an incredible story! Thank you for sharing this with me. Eating disorders are so sad, I feel so grateful to be out of the grip of weight and weight loss. Life is hard enough without all that! I’m so glad we have knitting to get us through the hard times, and help us enjoy the good times even more.

  4. Thank you for sharing! I stopped knitting when my friend moved to another state, she being the better knitter! I am about to start again because I miss it. I always go to your videos for instructions, and am thinking about joining your tutorials again! Thanks Liat!

    1. Hi DeeDee!
      I’m so sorry for the long delay in replying to you – my only excuse is a 6-month old baby! Now he’s a year old and I’m just answering all my comments 🤦‍♀️ I do hope you have picked up knitting again. How is it going for you?


  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad you got the help you needed and that it brought you back to knitting. I appreciate your tips and tricks – thanks for all you do!

  6. Excellent! I learned to knit in high school from the coolest teacher. I didn’t knit for about 20 years but when I picked it up again-look out! 😁

  7. I’m so happy you and knitting found each other (again), when you needed it most. I have learned so much from your tutorials, and just want to say thank you!

  8. An inspiring story. Thank you. Isn’t it amazing how God was with you through that trial and worked in such a mysterious way which ultimately brought you to where you are today, helping others to do what you love doing.

  9. Yes, knitting can save your life! I saved mine too. And isn’t it wonderful that you replaced an obsession with a compassion for knitting and teaching!! You deserve all the joy that knitfreedom will bring you. Thank you for sharing.

  10. AHH, how fun! Thank you for sharing that video clip! And thanks for sharing your touching story. You are an inspiration for all of us!

  11. I am 65 years old. No one in my family has ever knitted. I am an artist and a retired medical transcriptionist. I grew up in beautiful rural North Carolina. My ancestors were farmers. At seven my desire to knit was strong and deep in my heart. I had no one. So I skied God to someday let me have someone show me. In 2009 I planned to retire and was thrilled to plan on joining a local knitting class in my small hometown. My husband had major surgery that summer. I was not able to retire nor take the knitting class. I have ALL of Elizabeth Zimmermans knitting books. However, here comes Liat Gat! My knitting Angel straight from Heaven, face to face via the computer screen! You came! God sent you! I waited! I am so happy! I will join the lifelong account soon. Thank you for your emails! A real Angel holding knitting needles and yarn and guidance! God bless you!

    1. Hi Lora,
      Thank you for your beautiful comment! I’m sorry it took me a long time to respond. When I read your comment I was so overwhelmed and grateful that you found me and that I have been able to make a difference in your life. I feel so happy that you feel my caring for you and my desire for you to learn knitting with confidence coming through in my videos. You are so welcome and I hope you stay involved with KnitFreedom for a long time. Please continue to comment, and when you join the membership I would love to see you on our monthly Zoom calls.
      Big hugs to you and thank you again!

  12. I am so happy that your story has a happy ending. My sweet granddaughter nearly succumbed to an eating disorder at the age of eleven. For her, it was fear that her food would harm her. She read every expiration date on every item in her parents’ and our refrigerators before consuming the product. Each time I look her and her sister and cousins to their favorite fast-food restaurant, she would inspect her chicken sandwich. If she found even a hint of pink, she would simply put her food aside rather than having me tear out the pink portions. Her little body was just shutting down. She still struggles with the disorder in one form or another, and probably will for the rest of her life. Your happy smile on each post I receive is a gift, especially now that I know what you have overcome.

    1. Hi Janice,
      Thank you for coming here and telling your story. My heart just goes out to you, your family, and your innocent granddaughter. These thoughts about food can be so scary and black-and-white. One resource you may want to check out is Grace Bell’s Eating Peace. Grace is an amazing coach that I’ve worked with who facilitates people in doing The Work of Byron Katie, and she specializes in eating disorders. You can contact her directly to see if she can help you or perhaps your daughter, in supporting your granddaughter. And her support may be right for your granddaughter as well. But it’s always good to start with you as we cannot control what others are ready or willing to work on. Thank you for this and I wish you and your family better things to come. Hugs!!

  13. Hi Liat,
    I knew some of your story but it was good to get a better idea of what a passionate and enthusiastic person you are. I’m so glad you found such a wonderful way to express it creatively. Thank you for sharing and helping others.


  14. Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad that you found help and rediscovered your passion for knitting! I went through a period of depression as a teen after my dad died from cancer but got help also. But I do believe that engaging in creativity and building social connections aids in healing and well-being also!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. 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 !

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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 ;-)

  28. 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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