Monday, February 22, 2010

I made it with sticks!

Unfortunately, my first dish rag spontaneously unraveled.  It had internal errors in it's DNA. I'm glad it didn't make it, honestly.  It was awful and now I never have to look at it again. 

I redid the dish rag.  Overwhelmed with the futility of spending hours and a five spot on cotton yarn to make nothing more interesting than a dishrag I could buy for a buck, my fellow knitters have rechristened it the "Spa clothe."  And I feel much happier about that.  Marketing genius.

I finally picked up the classic knitting primer: Dummies for Knitwits, or something like that.  I apparently used the worse possible yarn, cotton, for my first projects.  It has no give.  Unfortunately, it has no receipt now either.  The book has these little "side bars!"  with tips.  "Tip: it's important to not quit.  Even if you get frustrated, don't give up."   That's a quote, seriously.  Thanks, but I think I'll give up whenever I damn well please.

But I'm not.  Now I'm on to a dainty little baby hat for one of the three thrillion babies coming down the pike.  I'm using tiny bamboo and wool yarn with itty bitty gauge ooky booky needles.  I'm knitting "in the round" with four of those babies.  I realized that knitting with what amounts to fuzzy thread would extend the creation of this project by about twelve years, at which point, if things continue to digress culturally, I'll just gift it to the child's child. The genius of this new hobby, however, is that I simply don't care how long it takes.  Production volume is not my goal here.  My goal was initially just to fit in, but this knitting thing has fit in with me now.  I didn't realize this before, but I've got mindless work to do while standing at the sink, hauling and shoveling shit, cleaning the damn house, laundry delivery up two floors.  I've got brainy sedentary hobbies.  And knitting fits right in with the less brainy (although the set up!  the planning! turns out that is genius-level mind-kicking mathematics) and sedentary.  Babing! I want to sit? I can sit and appear productive simultaneously!

Knitting is like solitaire and sudoko, a time-passer.  Only it's slightly more useful because after passing the time for a few weeks, you have something (hopefully) not too wonky or warped that you might actually use.  Whereas, after several weeks of these other time-killers, you've got nothing.  When I was little, I watched a old Lummi woman at a potlatch playing some kind of clock solitaire. It intrigued me, but when we got home my dad was very clear that solitaire was a waste of life, of our precious time here on earth (see?  it's the freaking Dutch utility thing, bah!!)  And so I started playing as soon as I moved out.  Winning is random but you can some how convince yourself that you're to credit for it, what with your attentive playing skills and lucky deck of cards.  Loosing is way more common and is easily dismissed by reminding yourself that the game is utterly random.  It's a nice metaphor for a life your not working too hard at.


Sudoku was my passion in recent years. I convinced myself it was like studying for the LSATs, which I was really into for a while there.  I went all the way up, baby! To the super hard.  Now the sight of Sudoku literally turns my stomach.  I think I developed an allergy from over-exposure.   

So, here I am with knitting.  It's got an entrancing quality to it.  Knots knots knots and viola! fabric! It's taken me a minute or two to get the hang of the basics.  Physical intelligence has never been my forte.  I required a full day to learn how to down hill ski.  And I didn't ride a wave before four bloody and bruised days of mad surfing determination.  My physical self is a puzzle to me.  An unnatural asset and an annoying detriment.  I've found great joy is my adulthood of physical curiosity.  What can my body do?  Can it run? Can it stretch like that? Can I learn balance?  Can I push it further?

Now that I've got some rhythm, this knitting thing is almost relaxing.  And it seems to make some odd, unexpected sense out of life, joining it together and merging this randomness into some coherency.  It's not an intellectual moment of epiphany, or a sense of solving the puzzle.  It's more that as the yarn flows beneath my hands and moves into itself, I have this sensation of flowing, of tributaries finding their river and coming in together, a joining of the disjointed moments of life into one coherent clothe.  The image of that motion stays in my eyes and as I move through other parts of my life, I feel it all knitting more perfectly together.  I almost sense The Moirae behind the facade.  Knitting, a spiritual practice.  I never would have guessed.  The doors of The First Church of Knitting have opened unto me.  Where once I was blind, now I see.  

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