Saturday, March 8, 2008

Purls of Wisdom

Hobby #2 - Knitting

i always get sick around thanksgiving. my family would typically go to Mammoth for skiing and turkey on Thanksgiving and i would typically be on the couch in the cabin sick with some sort of tonsil affliction. my grandparents came along one thanksgiving and i asked my grandma june to teach me how to crochet. she entertained me (i was 17 at the time) and showed me the slip knot, loop stitch, single, double and triple stitches. i took a fancy to the double stitch and quickly fell into the love of the repetitive stitches, feeling my mind let go and focus on a simple task and quite quickly my hands fell into the groove of working the stitches into something tangible. i surprised her that christmas by making her an afghan throw. i went on to teach myself how to make beanies and scarves and another afghan...all in double stitch.

since 17 i have picked it up and put it down several times...generally picking it up in the winter months, as one does not like to touch wool in warmer weather. a couple years ago our junior league announced a knitting class would be meeting and i eagerly signed up - i had always wanted to learn and never could decipher the strange pattern jargon in the knitting and crochet books.

crocheting helped me to pick up knitting quite easily...though it is not an easy craft lets be honest. i think the more appropriate term is that i had a slight edge to picking it up due to my crocheting background. i took a class and learned how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off. i knitted my son bryson a beanie and purchased several knitting needles.

recently on a trip to colorado my niece hope finally got her wish for me to teach her how to crochet. i bought her a needle and some yarn and showed her what my grandma showed me 11 years ago (gasp). my grandma is by far a better more patient teacher. i had never tried to explain what my hands knew to do and found it difficult to pass on that learned knowledge, but somehow i was able to show her and she ended up making a potholder for my aunt.

i picked up the book "stich n bitch" a knitting guide for the hipster, which is myself of course. it has very easy to understand instructions and projects that help learn skills and i have found myself hooked yet again.

i like to take my yarn and needles to dr appointments and road trips. i do often get stares when knitting in public (also termed KIP in knit-language i have learned). they seem to wonder why i would rather partake in an old lady hobby rather than read some outdated magazine. well...this is why: knitting is probably one of the most therapeutic things that i can do. therapeutic in the sense that it calms my mind - helps me to focus on a single objective. helps me to calm my overproductive hands, helps to calm my overproductive mind, a way to channel energy into creating something beautiful.

knitting is extremely challenging and i have the utmost respect for the women i see in the yarn stores wearing their beautiful hand made sweaters...someday carlee...someday...i love the history of knitting, the community of knitting and the challenge. i love the creativity that it provokes and the creations that come of it and the possibilities once you become more advanced.

i am still very much at beginner level, but thanks to my stitch n bitch manual, i believe i too can knit a sweater someday. i think one of my favorite stitches is the stockinette stitch (which is knitting one row and purling the next repeatedly). on one face it looks very neat and clean and flat and on the back you see all the bumps and *imperfections*. i feel like it conveys my style the best - we all want to show the ironed out got it together side (knit) to the world, but keep the imperfections (purls) close to our skin to remind us of what we have done and where we come from. you didn't know knitting was so existential did you?

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