I have known about this Blogstalking assignment for a whole week now, but hadn't posted my answer yet because I could not come up with one decent answer about what possessed me to knit. I knew that one day I didn't knit, then next I threw some horrible blue Red Heart Super Saver in my bascart at Wal-Mart and started obsessively watching knittinghelp.com videos. I've been wracking my brain about it for days. I was prepared to come here this morning and admit that I don't know what came over me that spurred the yarny obsession.
Finally, last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, kicking at the cat to keep her from sleeping on top of my knees: It was the needles! I had needles first, and one day I saw other people knitting and said, "hey, I can just buy some yarn and I'll be a knitter."
Why did I have needles first, you ask? (I know you probably aren't actually asking, but I'm pretending you did.) Because long ago I took part in a handmade sewing and craft swap at amitymama.com. Each person makes 5 of the same thing, then sends it to the swap organizer. She then sorts out the stuff, and sends 5 assorted items to each participant. Everyone makes 5 things, everyone gets 5 different things back. It's really a cool deal, except for the shipping costs, of course. My friend and I coordinated the Christmas 2004 swap, and when you're the organizer, you sometimes end up with some odd things. And one of the items that I, a non-knitter, got were some handmade wooden needles (about a size 10 or so) in a little fleece pouch.
I brought them home, put them on the shelf with all my sewing thread and needles and bobbins and elastic, and ignored them for a couple of years. Eventually, here in the "new" house, I got quite burned out on home-improvement projects, and decided that a good winter replacement hobby would be knitting. I made a large swatch with the above-mentioned Red Heart yarn (now happily living out its life as a dolly blanket), then moved on to a boucle yarn garter stitch scarf that my mom got started for me the previous winter. It's a very functional scarf, but it is a bit of a trapezoid. By then I was hooked. I started with dish cloths and fell in love with the craft.
So there. All that, and to be honest, I still really don't know what prompted me to pick up needles and learn. I think it might be coded in my DNA somewhere.