Monday, August 22, 2016

Knitting: A History

Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved to knit. She was pretty good at it, having been knitting since she was four years old, but she still wouldn't have described herself as a great knitter. Enthusiastic, yes. She was a member of a knitting group, read every knitting book and magazine within her reach (and she lived near the Chapel St Borders, so that was a lot of reading) and was slowly but surely building up her stash.

One afternoon she had a great time finishing up a few projects. Pride in jobs well done swelled within her, and she longed to tell someone how happy she was with her work. There was her boyfriend, he was supportive, even if he did lose that Doctor Who scarf she had knitted him; but no, he probably wouldn't quite get it.

Then the woman remembered: the internet! Surely out there, someone might be interested in her knitting too! So she started a blog about her knitting. As she had a lot of spare time on her hands she got a lot of knitting done, and it all went into her blog. Over time her knitting improved, her ideas grew, her skills increased: all fodder for her blog.

The boyfriend was removed, a husband appeared. Jobs changed, knitting continued. A move to another country, new knitting stores to explore. The return home (knitting on the plane), an unexpected (but very welcome) pregnancy meant the knitting turned to baby clothes. A sharp twist of fate and a knitting competition won meant a major change in the woman's perception of her hobby. It was a craft, and one she was obviously good at.

The woman started up a business, finishing other knitter's work, and knitting pink baby clothes for a second baby. Two under two doesn't leave a lot of free knitting time, but they have to sleep sometime. Over the next few years, as her children got older and her business got more and more clients the woman felt her own knitting slipping away from her. Her blogging became less frequent, more desperate plans when it did happen, until eventually it stopped. She stopped knitting for herself entirely. No time.

Clients work took up all of her knitting time, what little of it there was. The woman didn't mind, she loved her business. The customers were all lovely and there's a lot of satisfaction in a job well done. The rest of her time was her family, who had their own little set of troubles that took up more time than anyone had. Bad sleep, constant stress made the woman doubt her own sanity sometimes, but without the calming influence of her own knitting.

Life went on in this fashion for a while. Then one day the woman was at a market and bought some yarn. It was cria alpaca, handspun, soft and springy, and in a mottled green that sings to the soul. The woman decided to knit a cowl. There was only 50g, not enough for anything much, but a small cowl might be nice.

So, for the first time in a long time, knitting just for her happened. The woman didn't push herself to finish the cowl in two days (which she could have done, it was a really easy pattern) but took her time, pacing herself, getting the rhythm back, slowly getting her speed back. Muscle memory is a very useful trait. After a week, the woman had a finished cowl. She was pleased, bordering on excited. She wanted to tell someone how happy she was with her work. There was her husband, he was very supportive, always wearing anything she knitted him and encouraging her; but no, he didn't seem quite right for this (plus, he had a new video game).

Then the woman remembered: the internet! Surely out there, someone might be interested in her knitting too! So she returned to her blog about her knitting and realised something.

It was ten years since her first post. So long ago, but the feeling hadn't changed. The need to scream "Look at this! I can create with my hands and I'm rather happy about it!" was back and the woman fervently hoped that it would never go away. She wasn't going to force it, or make lists, or declarations, but she might try to carve out a bit of time to herself. Just for knitting for herself. The way it had started.

Here's to another ten years.

* A big thank you to Melindy for my new knitting mascot. He's perfect!

1 comment:

Sonia said...

A lovely post Andrea :)