Monday, May 21, 2007


Prayer shawl knitted with Lion Brand Homespun Mediterranean.

I used to knit, a lot. Got away from it for awhile. Dug out my needles last year and have been purling away off and on through the winter. Anyway, like so many things it’s grown beyond just the knitting. It’s becoming as much about the why and the who as what is created. And if I'm not coming up with as many pictures or poems it's because I haven't figured out how to knit and type at the same time. Maybe this summer, a lap full of shawl or knitted throw is literally not cool in August.

Anyway, out of curiosity I looked up knitting on Wikipedia. The entry is interesting, but feels thin somehow. Kind of like the heel or toe of a well worn sock. The craft of hand knitting goes back at least two thousand years. A pair of ornamented socks have been found in Egypt of all places and they date from the time BCE became ACE. Apparently knitting machines, probably for stockings, were invented around the 1570’s and the entry dismisses hand knitting as useful but non essential. I guess you can’t expect much more from a bunch of urban techno geeks. And I might not follow it any further if I didn’t have a nice little collection of patterns and books from the British Isles and Scandinavia.

The women of Ireland, the channel islands, the islands northwest of Scotland, northern England, Scotland proper, Iceland and the coasts of Scandinavia kept the hand knitting traditions alive well into the twentieth century. Not as a hobby but to keep their fishing and herding men folk warm and protected. And later, to earn hard cash to keep their families fed and warm as the fishing and herding became a memory.

My dad was a logger and told stories about a man he worked with. I wish I’d had to good sense to ask where the family came from at the time. The guy’s wife would knit him two or three sweaters every year. Andthat’s what he wore to work when the weather got cold. The work was so fine that he stayed warm and dry most of the time without using rain gear.

So while I love to knit and can’t remember when I couldn’t my interest isn’t just in the doing, it’s the who, the why, and what they use. So please by patient with me while I work my way through this in public.

Between my mom and my grandmother I learned the basics. And while I may write in awe of those who make shawls using patterns that go over twenty or thirty rows, I usually don’t have the patience for that kind of knitting. Ok, you found me out. For me, yarn and needles are fuzzy valium and it’s remarkable what you can do with knit, purl, cables, and yarn over and knit two together. Even the multi colored work is still knit and pearl. LOL


1 comment:

tenyearnap said...

"Fuzzy Valium"...I like that. Makes me want to try my hand at knitting. I think I still remember sort of how to crochet. Maybe next winter.
I love the nature-colors you've used in that shawl. Very peaceful. --Cin