I don’t knit.
I know how to knit. I belong to knitting websites and live a fiber filled life vicariously through knitting bloggers. I stalk sweaters. I keep a mental list in my head of what I want to knit. I buy yarn. I cast-on to knitting projects. But I don’t knit.
Sometimes when life is really bleak and gray, when I seem to be stuck in the first fifteen minutes of The Wizard of Oz, I’ll yearn for yarn and pattern. Sometimes when I’m tired, or when I’m full of energy and need something to occupy my hands, my fingers will itch for the feel of merino and the smooth, solid rainbows I use as needles. I stifle these feelings whenever I can. Because I don’t knit.
But sometimes the longing to be, not just a partaker in beauty, but an orchestrator – a crafter, not a user –sometimes that desire is too strong to silence. And sometimes the need to be useful, to produce something, to say “see, I have accomplished,” sometimes it threatens to break forth into the world. To do something truly impulsive. When my dreams of beauty and ability combine, then I forget. I forget that I do not knit.
And so, I cast-on.
I delve into my basket of WIPs (works in progress).
And I start to knit.
And it is beautiful. And it is calming. And, somehow, even though it’s enjoyable, I feel it means something. It’s not like I’m watching TV, reading Heyer, or composing a poem about the sky. Those are ways of consuming time. But knitting, knitting is using time. It’s taking it and making it into something else. The sticks in my hand click together, catch the yarn, pull it through, and in that instant also catch a bit of time as it hurries past, and so the time I spend knitting is saved. It remians with me for as long as the knitted object does.
But the more I knit the less time I capture.
Before long I am lost. I’m rereading charts, counting stitches, checking deffinitions for common terms (K2 tog, ssk, psso). I’m not knitting. Not anymore than a drowning man can be said to be swimming. At first I try finding the source of the problem. I tink, unknitting my project stitch by stitch until I reach an area unaffected by my confusion. I frog, pulling out my needles and ripping back two or three rows with a grim enthusiasm. I’m not knitting. I’m tinkering. I feel doubt creep up on me. Maybe this project really will never get finished. Maybe this yarn is a bad choice for this pattern. Maybe I’ll just go bury this out in the yard and pretend it never happened. So, in an attempt to salvage my urge to create, I take short cuts. I decrease redundant stitches, create necessary ones out of thin air. I stubbornly ignore the instructions in order to stay in pattern. I am not knitting. I am fudging.
Eventually I reach a point where the ideal world of knitting becomes worse than real life. It becomes a world where everything I touch falls apart, gets knotted, felts. A world where I can’t do anything useful or productive. Where trying to make things better only makes things worse. At this point I lay down my needles, stuff the yarn back in its cubby hole, and vow to pick it up tomorrow when I’ve “calmed down.” But I never do. I leave it there, gathering dust, until I’ve forgotten that I don’t knit. Until that world of intense focus wrought by missing stitches and mis-crossed cables starts to look like peace again.
In the ‘tween times, when I am sane(er), I remember: I don’t knit.
But maybe I sew.
|This picture isn’t as blurry on Flickr|