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A little bit about why January 22, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Knitting, Look what I did.
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I came across this blog post this morning, about the reasons that some people knit, and I thought yes, that’s quite right.

It’s amazing, as someone who has no fear whatsoever about knitting in public, and never has (I can’t understand why you wouldn’t knit in public, after all, you’re in public most of the time…) the number of times I’ve been told that you can get five pairs of socks at Asda for a pound, or asked why don’t I just buy a hat?

(Actually, there’s another answer to why I wouldn’t buy a hat, and that is, have you seen the lacy beret-type hats they sell in, say Accessorise for £15, or New Look for £5?  So have I.  I could make them with £10 worth of decent 100% wool, with my eyes closed, in about three hours.  And then I would know that they were warm, because I’d recced the yarn, and they’re not made of acrylic that is good for some things, and might be soft but you can just feel the slight sweatiness on, and I’d have got the satisfaction of three hours of something I love into the bargain.  Also it gives me some idea as to what the wholesale price of those hats are, and if you’re asking me to pay £15 for them, I WILL just laugh at you.  My sister says I’m not allowed to go into Accessorise with her any more.)

The fact is that every single item that I knit, socks, shawls, hats, whatever, is associated with something for me.  This very moment as I type, I am wearing a blue beaded shawl as a scarf.

(That’s me.  Hi.)

I know for a fact I’ve blogged about this shawl a number of times, it’s one of my favourites.  It’s made with a lovely slightly haloey yarn that I can remember buying (Easyknits skinny semi-solid in Midnight, if anyone’s interested), and I remember meeting the guy who dyed the yarn at the iKnit Weekender last year and being utterly shell-shocked (partly because the iKnit Weekender was pretty overwhelming for me, I’d never seen so many knitters, who knew what they were talking about and all knew each other, in one place before.  And meeting someone who’s dyed the yarn for a scarf that you’ve made?  That you’ve read about and probably Ravelry stalked?  It’s a bit like meeting Harry Potter, y’know?).  I remember buying the beads for it, two days before my resit up in Durham over the summer, and I remember winding the ball of wool over the back of my chair on the morning of the exam, to calm my nerves before I left the house, and I remember casting it on, on a train in wonderful sunshine on the way home and knitting at Birmingham New Street when the next train was delayed, and finishing the whole thing in about ten days, at work, in the evenings, taking it with me everywhere I went because I couldn’t put it down.  This shawl was my life for ten days.  It was the most exciting thing in the world to block.  And then I took it out into the back garden with my sister and we took photos of it in the twilight and pulled faces.  That’s why I knit, you know.  I knit because otherwise that time would have been entirely unremarkable, and now I’m carrying round ten days of my life – longer than that, if you include buying the wool and finishing time and everything – and it’s like I’ve done something important with that time, and good.

I finished a shawl the other week, that says to me New Year, and lying in bed last term really ill, watching Merlin and knitting, and the day the yarn arrived over the summer when a friend came over and we watched Coupling and I convinced him to help me wind it.  It’s yet to be photographed properly, because the weather’s been crap and I simply haven’t had time, but here is a sneak preview, because I couldn’t resist:

Isn’t it beautiful?  That’s the border, by the way.  The border took forever.  I got so irritated with it at the time, but now it’s done and it’s wonderful, and I can remember spending ages on the border and, well, girl done good.

So I suppose knitting for me is about the process, and enjoying things as they go along, and ergonomics and choices and personalisation, but it’s also abut having something to take with me.

The same goes for gift knitting – which I’ve done a lot of, recently.  The blog post puts it like this:

‘See your kid standing near the door in hand-made socks, ready to pull on shoes and head out? Those socks are loving that child–the kid is wearing a hug on each foot, and the knitter and the kid both know it. This is process and product combined: knitted object as connection between people.’

I think that’s a beautiful way of putting it.  Over the last few months, I’ve knitted quite a lot for other people, and while a few of those things have come from patterns, I’ve found it a lot easier to just improvise a pattern of my own when it’s with someone else in mind – and I’ve done that a few times now.  I now automatically connect esteem for some people with images of making things for them: finishing a sock for my dad on late Christmas Eve, watching Victoria Wood with him sat directly in front of me, and stuffing the sock down the arm of the chair every time he looked around.  Sitting on a train at about nine o’clock at night with low blood sugar levels ripping back the beginning of a beret for THE FOURTH DAMNED TIME because the ribbing was irregular and I couldn’t get it right because my fingers couldn’t stay still.  Those occasions are worth something because of what came out of the end of them, and what came out of the end of them is worth something because of the situations.

I kind of like that.

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Comments»

1. Flix - January 22, 2010

🙂

There’s more to be said, but I can’t find the words. This is lovely.

2. Lucy - January 23, 2010

🙂

Likewise.

3. Cheryl - January 23, 2010

I knit because otherwise that time would have been entirely unremarkable, and now I’m carrying round ten days of my life…

I never thought of in terms of wearing defined pieces of my life, but I guess it’s true! It’s such a lovely way of putting it 🙂


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