Monday, March 3, 2014

I READ: Knitting Yarns

I received this wonderful book for Christmas called Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting.

It is a group of essays by well known authors about knitting.  I loved when I came across a sentence or phrase or story that I completely related to.  

~John Dufresne wrote about watching sports while knitting and also referring to videos when he got stuck. (this is how I endure sports with Jason)

~Ann Hood talks about a grievous loop of thought that repeated in her mind that her friends promised would go away if she started knitting. (I picked up my fiber back when I was still medicated and trying to work on managing my severe anxiety)

~Barbara Kingsolver's ENTIRE essay is just amazing. If you only read one, read hers...It begins: "It all starts with the weather...."  and ends: "It's all of a piece, knitting. All one thing." 

~Alison Lurie talks about the history of knitting--it made me feel that I am a part of something rich and amazing.  

~Joyce Manard wrote an awesome essay about her Harvard-graduate mother who could never get a job because she was a  woman. So she became an amazing homemaker.  I am kind of in that place where I want to take my talents and invest them in the most important people---my family--and so I really resonated with this essay.  My favorite quote:  "Knitting provided a way of being productive, of demonstrating--as a woman was meant to do--love for her family, and care, even when seemingly at rest."

~Elissa Schappell  fave quote: "Still, despite my anxiety, my obsession, my fear of circular needles when I went back to the doctor a year later sh said, 'your pressure is much better.'  And it was.  'I started knitting.,' I said.

'Ah, I hear it works,' she said.

'You ought to try it,' I said with the zeal of the convert, the addict, the next words out of my mouth might have been, Here, I've got the needles in my bag, let me give you a little taste.

I bought a bag for my yarn, it says, I Knit So I Don't Kill People. And it's true. I'm grateful I discovered knitting, and you should be too." (I asked the woman who made that bag to make me one with CROCHET instead of knit and I love it)

~Elizabeth Searle mentioned knitting can offer "chemical-level mood-altering calm"

~Suzanne Strempek Shea also noted knitting's role in dealing with loss in her life.

After reading the entire book I decided that I needed to write my essay.  Here it is.

Often I read a pattern, and then re read it, and then read it once more and I exhale and think: I don't quite understand this pattern.  I have been given a photo of what it is to be in the end, I have pages of instructions on how to get it there, and yet, many parts surpass my understanding.  So I go back to the top of the page and I read the same familiar start that each pattern has.  Cast on.  Chain.

All patterns begin the same way.

And so to begin something, to have the courage to begin it, is a lesson I have learned over and over again.  Can I make that sweater? that hedgehog?  those socks?  Where is the courage to begin?

I invited an expert knitwear designer over to my knitting group.  I expected him to model for us tricky stitches that only an expert could share.  Instead he staged an intervention, telling us all these little projects we had sitting in our laps were just "yoga knitting"-- that we were capable of so much more. "Why are you wasting time on that when you could make beautiful garments?"

It energized us and got us excited about what could be.

But wait..."yoga knitting?"  Right. Yoga Knitting.

There is breath in the rhythm of knitting.  It is meditative.  There is a release and a stretch.  There is a purpose in knitting beyond that finished product pictured in the pattern instructions.  There is learning and growing and messing up and ripping out, there is holding that dear one in your heart as you stitch it up for them.  There is tension that is released from your disheartened soul into the perfect tension of your project.  There is color and light and pattern and the touch of the wool.  There is gratitude for that animal who ate that grass all day long so to grow a beautiful wool for this moment.

And it is about the moment. This one and the next one, and the next.  Moments pass and I look down and suddenly there is a cowl of linen stitch forming beneath my fingers.

Often when I am experiencing knitting nirvana I hold a silent prayer in my heart: Thank you for my hands. Please protect them. 
~Kristy Glass

My first knitting projects as an adult:

The night I attempted crochet for the first time:

First complete crochet project:

Both Knitting and Crochet hold a beloved place in my life and I sometimes spend my whole day working up to the moment when I can attend to my project.  I am so happy to have rediscovered it and advanced my skills.  I also really love teaching people.

1 comment:

  1. Two words for this post: Beautiful Truth!