Wednesday, November 14, 2007

K is for Knitting

For an explanation of this alphabet theme, see my first NaBloPoMo post.

Many of the knitters and crocheters I know learned the craft from their mothers or grandmothers. I learned from someone's grandmother, but she wasn't mine. In fact, my own grandmother, watching me knit by the Christmas tree a few years ago, shook her head in wonder and said, "How do you do that?" Apparently she forgot that my mom actually has saved in a cedar chest at home no fewer than three baby outfits that my grandma once knit for me or one of my sisters. I wonder what I can expect to forget in another few decades. I'm hoping it's something particularly useless, like any and all memory of Who Let the Dogs Out. (Do not click that link. No. Seriously. Don't do it. I'm sorry I even tempted you like that.)

Where I did learn to knit was in a community ed class, from a pair of lively old ladies who couldn't decide who was in charge. Come to think of it, the way they bickered and consistently talked over one another reminded me quite a bit of my grandma and my great aunt (her twin sister), so maybe it's almost as if I learned from family after all.

I hadn't even particularly wanted to learn to knit. It was my friend Lisa's idea, but I agreed to go with her because oh hell, why not. What's strange is that I took to the sticks pretty much immediately, and I don't think Lisa ever finished her first scarf.

I'm not sure exactly why I do it... I like being able to knit home-made gifts for friends and family, but they aren't exactly time-efficient gifts, and not everyone appreciates a gift made of yarn anyway. Knitting is therapeutic, I suppose, but depending on the pattern, it can be tense and frustrating as well. Maybe what I like about it is that it manages to feed simultaneously two conflicting urges constantly battling in my head: my desire to sit around lazily and my guilt if I'm not doing anything productive. I have a hard time watching a movie now without knitting during it; I almost feel I'm wasting that time by not multi-tasking.

Another thing I like about knitting is that it's both creative and systematic. I think a big part of why I was never a great artist is that I'm always too stuck in my left brain. Knitting is an art that more or less requires order and structure; pay attention to the careful way the same two basic stitches are alternated, and suddenly after a few rows, something surprising and beautiful starts to appear.

I recently finished an afghan for a friend's wedding (you know--the wedding I called on your help for with the reading?), and I'm finally putting the finishing touches on a very belated baby gift I started ages ago as well.

This leaves me without a project--something I need to remedy rather soon. Since I started knitting, I've come to view works in progress much like I view books. Even if I'm not charging through a book quickly--even if it sits on my nightstand untouched for a full week at a time (cough--Calamity Physics-cough), I don't like to be in between books. The same goes for knitting: if I don't have something on the needles, I feel a little antsy somehow. Luckily, just like books, there are a hundred projects I have bookmarked to attempt. And as with books, I can't say which one will strike me next.


Anonymous said...

You've got mad skillz girl- I am jealous! Sadly, I am not kidding. I love to knit, but hate following a pattern and counting. I WISH I could do what you do

Julia said...

Your projects are beautiful. I would love to know what pattern you used for that gray afghan. It is exquisite!

As a fellow knitter I know exactly how you feel. My idea of a perfect Sunday is a Gilmore Girls marathon and endless knitting. My problem is there are so many projects I want to do and so little time to do them all. Right now on the needles I have a pair of socks, a sweater and a scarf. I totally have knitting ADD.

-R- said...

Wow! Those are really impressive! I tried to start knitting again this weekend, but I hate all the yarn I have right now.

confiance said...

I found your blog via a google search about getting really thirsty when I brush my teeth. (Yes, really.)

And now I find out that you're a knitter, so in my attempt to add a non-knitter blog to my blog list of some 30+, I accidently found a knitter.

Maybe knitters are also good writers? (And I found another good blog to read, so yay!)

nabbalicious said...

You are SO good! I'm really impressed. All I can knit are square things (scarves, potholders). And since I haven't actually done so in a couple years, I've completely forgotten how.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Your stuff is amazing! Maybe someday you teach me how to purl so that all my stuff doesn't come out like garbage. Oh, and maybe how to cast on and off, too.

Noelle said...

Wow. That's one impressive afghan. I was supposed to go to a knitting class last night, but I couldn't make it. Hopefully, I'll get another chance sometime. You make it look easy!

One Smart Cookie said...

Wow - those are beautiful! I am very impressed by (and jealous of) your knitting prowess.

kerrianne said...

That song? Is going to be in my head for the rest of the day.

Your knitting? Gorgeous.

lizgwiz said...

Those are beautiful! If you need a recipient for any future projects, you have my address. ;)

Stefanie said...

Monkey--A lot of people say that about following a pattern. I much prefer patterns that I can get the hang of within a few rows, so I don't have to be counting constantly. Trust me, lots of patterns work that way!

Julia--Both the gray and the red afghans came from a book called Big Needle Knit Afghans. It's a great book. Pretty much every pattern in it uses two or more strands of yarn and nothing smaller than a size 9 needle. It makes daunting projects like afghans go at least a little bit quicker.

R--Off to the yarn store for you! :-)

Confiance--That is hilarious. I actually saw a search for that in my stats last week. Was that you, or was someone else looking for that, too?? Regardless, I am glad to know it's not just me. And don't worry; I don't write about knitting all that often. ;-)

Nabb--I'm sure you could pick it up again if you wanted to. Though I imagine knitting in California isn't quite as rewarding...

NPW--Sure. You come to Minnesota; WhiskeyMarie can cook for us, and I'll teach you to knit. :-)

Noelle--Too bad! Knitting would be a great way for you to pass the time while you're laid up in the cast!


Kerrianne--Sorry! Do you know the Rilo Kiley song "Breakin' Up"? Because thanks to the subject line I put on this morning's post, I'm now going to have THAT in MY head all day!

Liz--Maybe I could knit us both some tie-on kitchen towels... ;-)

L Sass said...

Wow. I'm a pretty basic knitter--I do okay, but always manage to twist my stitches. Your work is beautiful! My birthday is July 24th. :)