Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bit By Bit

Somewhere in the dim recesses of memory is the day I learned to knit. There are impressions of scratchy wool, some of it deep ruby red and some of it dark emerald green. I can remember sitting in our dark garage because it was cool there, and looking over at my younger brother's scarf. I was shocked at finding it much longer than mine. At first I was annoyed, but as he progressed I began to inwardly cheer him on because I was excited to see how his scarf turned out. I'm not sure what happened to our projects, though I know I never finished mine.

In all the time since that day about twenty-some-odd years ago it hadn't occurred to me until I was stuck at home pregnant and had nothing else to do that knitting could be productive. The idea that it could be fun didn't occur to me until still more recently. As I blog, and try new patterns, and attempt new techniques, I find more and more to be excited about.

Why the navel-gazing?

Yesterday, in order to make Lizard Ridge an easier pattern, I taught myself to knit backwards. I just reasoned it out, and viola, I didn't have to bother with the linked tutorial from the pattern page.

Today, it finally occurred to me that I have 2.25 mm, 2.5 mm, and 2.75 mm needles. Why not have projects on them all at the same time instead of finishing one sock at a time?

In the process of learning to knit (english), then learning to knit another way (continental), and then another (backwards!), I've reinforced my own supposition that knitting is really a skill we aspire to and acquire knowledge about over time. If we organized knitting into a series of classes and called it a Knitting Degree (BA or BS?), it could take lifetimes to attain a mastery of the craft. Some of us do it casually, and some of us do it professionally, but all of us share in a craft with a beautifully rich history and a huge knowledge base.

That first blanket I made for Little J while he was still a tadpole (bless it's little acrylic soul) was all about getting a job done. As my desire to just knit, as opposed to finish something, has grown, so has my stash and my yearning for good fiber. Now I find I stockpile good sock yarn as if I were knitting for the Fourth Infantry Division. Can you imagine some stout soldier wearing turquoise, rose and brown self-striping socks? At the same time, I don't care how many socks are on needles along with shawls, sweaters, hats and blankets in progress, as long as I can knit a few rows on one of them each day.

This is my little ode to my own growth as a knitter. I'm still aspiring, but that has grown too. Who knows, maybe I'll test drive a spinning wheel before the snow flies, or order some undyed Louet and give hand-painting a try. I do know that for as long as I'm having fun and learing something new, you'll be hearing about it.

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