02 June 2007

Today, I am a knitter

Actually, the transformation happened yesterday, before a meeting of librarians who decided that making the library's catalog look like Amazon.com is a good thing.

I got to the meeting early, prepared a cup of tepid tea, and began to knit the foot of my sock. A businesslike woman sat down to my left and began to write large, black notes in her quadrille-ruled Moleskine.

My knitting friend came in and sat to my right. Her last project was a pattern-less cabled pullover sweater in lanolin-rich wool, its cables proceeding across the fabric in a balanced, yet quirky labyrinth. Her next project will be a blue cashmere sweater. She spins, too.

And yet, she never has knitted socks. She's gotten as far as a heel flap, but hasn't turned a heel. I showed her my imperfect sock-heel, and we talked about the loveliness of hand-knitted socks.

The woman to my left had stopped writing. "Do you knit?" I asked. She said she knew how to crochet. But then she said the magic words, the transformative words, the curt, yet incantatory words:

I don't crochet any more. I have things to do.

In fairy tales, transformations are vouchsafed when the heroine takes a risk, endures the rigors of a quest, or wanders lonely until her material goal is transmuted into a larger, deeper wisdom. I'm so lucky! All I had to do was sit next to a businesswoman and knit.

Three years ago, I was afraid of YO and K2tog. Then I was afraid of cables. Then socks. Intarsia still lies ahead, and Fair Isle, my own personal Avalon. I know I won't be lonely on the road.

16 comments:

Amanda A. said...

People say that to me about reading. Oh I wish I had time to read...... like I'm living a life of leisure. I'm usually thinking to myself if you'd get away from the T.V. you'd have time to read.

Bells said...

that's so powerful!!

What a marvellous thing to happen.

Yesterday my chiropractor asked me what I've been up to. I did a quick mental scroll through the hours of knitting (and working) and said, 'not much.' Figured I must sound boring but how do you explain this stuff?

Jennifer said...

Yay for transformations! Actually I think you were in a knitter in your subconscious for some time. I'm glad you've become a knitter!

Rose Red said...

I always think it is interesting why people see handcrafting as "less important" than other "things". What things?! I'm starting to be much more "out and proud" about my knitting.

But I think fair isle might be my Waterloo!

Dorothy said...

A woman like that makes one think. I learned to knit when I was twelve. I've always loved it and from time to time work on simple kitting project. Paula out-knits me these days, when she started doing socks... I've just got back into crocheting again after the masectomy. You've heard of "I can't do a thing with my hair?" Well, I can't do a thing without boobs... I'm working my way back, however.

Bridget said...

I knew you could do it! I have done teensy amounts of both fair isle and intarsia, and those small projects have turned out OK. I am still working up the nerve to try something larger, though.

And, ahem, you're also considering a Clapotis? (Actually, I'm just glad that I am not the only person alive who hasn't knit one!)

chittavrtti said...

Isn't it funny what people will say wihtout hearing what they have said? Interesting that while she had things to do these things had no name***CV

teabird said...

Thanks for all of your comments - the more I think about this, the more I wonder about why some women have been so eager to distance themselves from crafts. Have men needed to distance themselves from woodworking? Why do women feel so threatened (as obviously, this woman did) by the question?

Odd - and sad.

KnitNana said...

Yes, you are a Knitter!
And I'm soooooo glad YOU have the time! LOLOLOL!
(yes, it is sad...what on earth could she be doing that is more important than taking care of her soul, which is what craft is, after all, caring for our Selves...)
(((hugs)))

Khadijha Caitlin said...

I'm walking the road with ya!
(Does there happen to be a coffee shop along the way?)

nonizamboni said...

You go, brave knitter!
The whole process of learning to knit in stages is exhilerating and you have spoken of this so elegantly. My journey is parallel to yours as I finish up a pair of socks with just the toe left. Thanks for the cyber-inspiration!

Anna said...

I haven't knit Clapotis either. Maybe we need a summer KAL......

As a hand crafter and homemaker, I often think about the status of homemaking pursuits (which many handcrafts are) in the US. I don't think I'll go on about it your comments though, Melanie. Maybe a blog entry at some point here.

pixie girl said...

It's like the song from Carousel - "You'll never knit alone!" Or is it sing? Whatever;). The lady with 'things to do' needs to do just one thing - get a life.

Are you really going to do a Clapotis? Because I haven't either, but the time may be close...
-adrienne:)

Carrie K said...

Why do people feel the need to say something along those lines anyway? For one thing, it's rude. It implies that you are doing nothing, while she is accomplishing something. And yet, that's exactly why some people are affronted by KIP'ing, it implies that the knitter is multi tasking while they do nothing. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Kathie said...

I hopped over here from your reference to this post on Ravelry. I CANNOT BELIEVE that woman had the nerve to make such a demeaning and trivializing remark.

I have a 9 to 5 job but fiber art--knitting, quilting, etc.--is what makes me ME. And to me at least, that's not trivial. That's the sort of remark that would have me lying awake at 3 a.m., trying to think of what I should have said in response.

It's very cool that you took her remark and turned it into a positive thing for yourself.

Jamie said...

I followed your Ravelry post too!

People like this boggle the mind, don't they?

I have a new coworker who should hang with the business woman. Her comments were:

"You knit? Really? Oh, well I guess that was popular a few years ago, wasn't it. Now everyone is crocheting instead. You know, my grandmother used to knit us the ugliest things..."

Needless to say, I'm very fond of my new coworker. ;)