“When I was a child, my mother taught me to knit, and the first thing she taught me was how to knit a dishcloth,” said Mrs. McAllister, who has lived in Joplin her entire life. McAllister always watched her mother knit clothes for her and, eventually, she learned how to master the art of knitting herself. “I didn’t knit very much in college or when I was younger. I just knew the basics. When I got married and had kids, that’s when I started knitting sweaters and caps for them.” She had a close friend who taught her how to knit socks and hats at the friend’s shop.
There are many details that go into knitting for whichever kind of knitting someone wants to try. When asked if there are different kinds of knitting, Mrs. McAllister explained, “Yes. Sweaters have a different style of yarn; socks have thin types of yarn. Scarves, hats, and mittens all take different techniques.” But when asked what kind of knitting she liked the most, Mrs. Allister’s eyes lit up and she said, “My favorite type would have to be knitting little white baby caps with a red fluff at the top. I used to knit for the babies at Freeman hospital.” She then went on to say, “I did that all out of love and devotion. Freeman bought the yarn and I’d knit and knit forever, until I couldn’t anymore.” Everyone could tell that Mrs. McAllister was the one who knitted the object because she never had seams when she knitted. “It’s like my very own signature,” she added happily.
“Knitting is almost a lost art. There aren’t very many young people that like to knit anymore,” she mentioned. Mrs. McAllister used to host knitting classes for anyone who wanted to come. She would have her kids hold the yarn for her so the yarn ball was nice and tight during class. “I’ve always knitted for people. I didn’t know, it gives you a warm feeling inside. People should continue to knit. It’s a very good skill to know.” She has also shared her knitting skills with individuals at Cecil Floyd Elementary School here in Joplin.
Mrs. McAllister knits to this very day. “My mother once told me that whatever I feel like knitting, that’s what I should do.” Whether it be knitting for babies at Freeman, random people at Cecil Floyd, or knitting for fun, Mrs. McAllister says she will always knit.