Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for


 I am a certified Master Knitter.  I have passed all three stages of the Knitter's Guild of America's certification program.  I know more about knitting than you want to listen to.  This is my masterpiece sweater, designed and knit by me all by myself.

 I'm particularly proud of the neckline as it emerges out of the cables in a wonderfully knitterly fashion, and is integrated ingeniously into the body of the sweater, relying on the properties of the stitches and the material.

I am also quite proud of the way I used my side seams to create a horseshoe cable.

See those littlte lumps that look like popcorn?  Those are bobbles.  A master knitter must demonstrate proficiency in bobbles as well as in creating and arranging cables.  I hate bobbles, because they make me think of the tags of poop-sodden wool on the back of a sheep.  So I carefully placed my bobbbles where they are not likely to snag on anythin, and I minimized the number down to 6 on either sleeve.  There's yer frickin' bobbles!

Of course, while I was photographing the sweater, the supervisor had to make her suggestions: to wit, "Everything is better with a kitty.

Knitting is pleasure and therapy, exercise and meditation for me.  The process of creating fabric by interlacing loops of a single string of yarn using nothing more than pointy sticks and human ingenuity is an awesome act of magic every time it happens.  As I knit, sometimes I think of women just like me down through history who have made the socks and sweaters for their family, washed and spun the wool, created and innovated and discovered new ways to make the task lighter and more entertaining.  Ways to show off their expertise to other knitters.  Ways to improve the necessary garments to make them fit better, wear longer, look nicer.  Whoever figured out the strap heel was a freaking genius!!  When I knit, I know myself to be in the company of domestic goddesses. My knitting friends are included in that coterie.

There is a knitters' joke that one of us will be knitting in the Doctor's waiting room (or other place of waiting), and someone will say, "Oh I would never have the patience to knit."   Knitters then laugh because they know that without the knitting, they would be chewing on the furniture and harassing the fish in the tank. Knitting imbues patience.  The only time it requires patience is if you expect yourself to be perfect right off the bat with a completely new kinesthetic skill.  Knitting is like riding a bicycle,  You have to teach your muscles what to do.  Muscles learn slowly, but never forget.  Often, people who have had strokes can begin knitting again even before they can write.

When I knit in public, I also encounter people who think knitting is an archaic lost art, right up there with tanning hides and building buggy whips.  I educate the hell out of those folks, let me tell you!

Sometimes though, older gentlemen will ask to speak with me, and tell me how they remember their mothers or aunts knitting, or how they learned to knit themselves .  One fellow said that he was recovering from pneumonia during WW I, and his mom taught him how to knit bandages for the Red Cross to keep him occupied.  Another fellow told me how, as a sailor in the British Navy during WWII, he learned to knit his own socks to pass the time while they waited for action.  He told me about a clever heel that can be taken out and re-knit when it wears thin, rather than having to darn in lumps.

Oh, I told you I knew more about knitting than you wanted to hear.  And I'm scarcely started.


  1. I always watch people who knit. I keep promising myself that I'll learn. I admire that you knit through our writer's group and still are able to make good comments on the readings!

  2. Wow, that's some fascinating stuff. Your sweater is very impressive. I love the neckline.