On knitting

                                             

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

One Comment

  1. The easiest ktinnitg pattern I know of is this one. It makes a square afghan that is the same on both sides and has an eyelet border.Cast on 5 stitches.Knit two rows.Row 3: K2, yo, k3Row 4: K2, yo, k4Row 5: K2, yo, k5Row 6: K2, yo, k6Row 7: K2, yo, k7Continue in this fashion, increasing one stitch on each row, until the sides measure the length/width you want. Then start decreasing:1st Decrease Row: K1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row.2nd Decrease Row: K2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row.Continue in this fashion, decreasing one stitch on each row, until you have 5 stitches left.Knit 2 rows.Bind off.Variation (this makes a square afghan with a 2-st garter stitch border and stockinette stitch center:Cast on 5 stitches and knit 2 rows.Row 3: K2, M1 (make 1 st), k3Row 4: K2, M1, p2, k2Row 5: K2, M1, k to the end of the rowRow 6: K2, M1, p to the last 2 sts, k2.Continue in this fashion, increasing one stitch on each row, until the sides measure the length/width you want. Then start decreasing on the K side:1st decrease row: K2, k2tog, k to the end of the row.2nd decrease row: K2, k2tog, p to the last 2 sts, k2.Repeat these two rows until there are 5 sts.Bind off.Another easy pattern is this one:Cast on a number of stitches unevenly divisible by 5 (155, 185, 205, etc.)Border: K 5 rows.Pattern:Row 1: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 2: *P5, k5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 3: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 4: *P5, k5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 5: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 6: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 7: *P5, k5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 8: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 9: *P5, k5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Row 10: *K5, p5. Repeat from * to the end of the row.Repeat these 10 rows until the afghan is as long as you want it to be.Knit 5 rows.Bind off.Variation: If you want a garter stitch side border, just knit the first 5 stitches on every row, then work the pattern to the last 5 stitches, and knit the last 5 stitches on every row.

Comments are closed.