Thursday, December 11, 2008


I am learning to knit. Well, I am beyond the first stages of learning and into the fact that I am actually knitting things. Simple things. I have knitted three scarves, one shawl, and two pairs of baby bootees. The first pair was my very first knitting project. I am proud to say that it actually looked like baby bootees. A bit less proud of the fact that they would be rather big for any baby of the human variety, but maybe Sasquatch has a newborn that is in need of a pair. Especially if he has two different shoe sizes.
My second project was a lacy shawl. I could of course not start with a scarf or a hat like a normal human being. But the shawl worked out and after that came the scarves. And then I found courage enough for the second pair of baby bootees, which actually look very nice.

I turned to knitting after my son was born. Since I was about ten, I have done embroidery: napkins, handkerchiefs, display projects, pincushions I have love it. It takes a bit of time though to set up nicely, to have all the threads at the ready, the scisors need to be close by, to find the next stitch you want to add. It's a lovely passtime for long, leisurely hours of silence and contemplation, with beauty growing beneath your hands. But long, leisurely hours were a thing of the past with a newborn, and still are with a todler.

Embroidery didn't fit in this season. I tried, I wrestled, I promised myself to find time, but as you read in my previous post on this, I just could not do it. After a lot of frustration, and inspired by the book: "no idle hands, a social history of American Knitting" I decided to learn how to knit. After all, if pioneer women on their wagons, between cooking, child care, and birthing found time to knit,
I should be able to find the oportunity too, right?
To my surprise I actually did. While knitting always has been a problem, this time, learning from a cheap booklet, it actually 'took'. The rhythm sooths me and allows me to focus on other things. For a few weeks I managed to get up at 6.30 am and put half an hour of knitting and contemplative prayer in.

During the day I find that simple knitting is easy to carry along. I can even carry it with me while I walk behind my little boy playing in the garden. So many things have been 'knit in' these scarves. Laughter, worries, warm rays of october sun and the occasional autumn leaf that had to be plucked out... I think it makes them more precious.

I have found that knitting has a wonderful calming effect on me, which in turn has a postive effect on everything around me, even my household, though at the moment the house doesn't reflect that as we are still trying to get organised after three weeks of sickness and two weeks of traveling. I have found that it is easily tucked in little pockets of time, while relaxing and sometimes even while busy. I have found that it allows me to be actively engaged with my son and my husband while I am just knitting or purling along. Of course this might also be because I barely have a pattern to follow and am just knitting straight on. I am learning quickly to knit blindly to make it even easier to knit without too much attention.

No wonder that knitting has been a symbol of domesticity for so long, when it combines both convenience, practicality and creativity, in one simple craft.


tiffibug said...

That is exactly how I feel about knitting. It is calming, soothing and incredibly stress relieving. I can't imagine what I did to relax before I learned to knit.

I can't wait for you to knit those socks for your hubby. I'm sure he'll love them just as much as mine does.

Shannon said...

LOL! Rather different than my take on knitting :D I think I will find reading about knitting more relaxing and fulfilling than actually knitting. I am so glad you posted the name of that book, as I forgot it, again, and I really want to read it!!