Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For The Love Of Knitting

It took a long time for me to learn, this thing that is now as natural to me as breathing.  And I've lost count, how many times its been, soft yarn looped around my finger, bamboo flashing.  Thousands.  Maybe hundreds of thousands.  Stitches, quickly executed and moved on from.

Who knew that something so repetitive, so manual, so simple could be something I crave so much, something that anchors me, soothes me.  I certainly didn't.

I'm a process knitter, evidenced by the fact I have yet to complete a sweater or scarf just for me.  Its not the end product I yearn for, but the process.  I have to knit, and I do - the final product can be gifted or sold and I don't mind one bit.  I just love to hold those warmed up needles in my hands, wool looped around a finger.  It is almost compulsive, this knitting thing.

In the car.  On the couch.  At the park.  Visiting friends.  All day long, it doesn't matter.  I love to knit because something I enjoy so much, my own personal guilty pleasure, can be easily injected into the rest of my crazy life without interrupting much.

My own mother didn't knit, at least not much.  She would pick it up from time to time (sometimes it had been years), play around with it for a bit and then it would disappear and she would move on.  I wonder at how my kids perceive me, always armed with two pointy sticks and a ball of yarn balanced on my lap.  Maybe one day they will talk about me and mention how I was never without something to do.

Once I picked up knitting, I found it difficult to not knit in certain situations.  Watching a movie without something for my hands to do became tedious and uncomfortable, almost as if my hands had "restless hand syndrome."  A long car trip had to be carefully planned, knitting bag stuffed with an assortment of needles, yarns and patterns to go along, the alternative too horrible to think.  I'll never say for sure, but I may have a few yarn store plotted along our usual route to visit family, just in case an emergency should occur.

Knitting can be a bit thankless.  I knit sweaters for my children and while they like them and wear them for a bit, they are children and as fickle as they come.  Instead of lovingly folding up a sweater when through with it, my beautiful handknits find themselves more often than not tossed unceremoniously in the laundry pile, and frequently are forsaken for sweatshirts with licensed characters on them (ugh!).  I've long decided that socks are reserved as gifts for only the most appreciative of reciepients as a pair can take as long as a sweater.  At 9 stitches per inch, far too much labor to be wasted on someone who can not be trusted to launder them properly. So far, only myself and my own mother have been deemed worthy of such toil. 

Mostly I knit for babies...mine, usually, and those of people I love.  Babies have to wear what their mothers make them, after all.  While some love babies in frills and fluff, nothing says "baby" to me like a wee pilot cap, snug kimono sweater, longies and a pair of booties.  All this leaves me a bit frustrated, with this baby arriving on the cusp of summer, the few weeks of moist heat that we swelter through here in Michigan.  Even the knitting enthusiast in me understands it could be considered child abuse to dress a newborn thus during July. 

What to do?  The answer is buy more yarn.  Knit larger sizes.  Come October first, this child will be so wrapped in wool, he will be mistaken for a wee little lamb.  And there will be nothing he can do about it.

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  1. I LOVE it too, but I am selfish, most of what I make is for me and my little babies! You can knit some cute little cotton sweaters for little one!

  2. Dear Lydia, like yourself I have taught myself to knit, but I am not as experienced as you. So far, I have been able to finish scarves and shawls...haven't graduated to sweaters or hats or gloves yet!

    But I do find myself enjoying the needles in my hand...I fall into a trance like state and my entire being relaxes.

    Thank you for sharing...

    Mrs. M.


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