Monday, November 4, 2013

Precedent-setting knits

Here's an important thing for knitters to remember, especially as the holidays (with all their gift-making opportunities) approach: don't set a precedent your needles can't match.

And here is a story to illustrate that point.

Mary's Story of Precedent-Setting Doom

I spent last week immersed in a very intense writing workshop, so naturally that means knitting.

One factor was that in getting ready for the workshop - it was to be all day every day for five days, during which time I was also supposed to be doing my regular stuff, so I was tied up for an extra two weeks getting everything done in advance - I really didn't knit much.  And oh how I missed knitting.

The real trouble though was twofold:

1/ I talk a lot

2/ I place value on the symbolism of handmade objects.

The talking problem came up while I was putting in some sock time on a break.  The conversation got around to misshapen early knits, which led to a boyfriend scarf that got lost, and then I offered my story of knitting a thank-you scarf for the leader of the last workshop I took, which promptly got lost, but was found again in a sleeve the next winter: WHEW.

Hmmm, my current workshop leader said, deadpan.  You know you've kind of set a precedent there.

So then the symbolism machine got working.  For a long time now I've been sliding down a slope to vulnerability to the idea that you can extend the impact of a kindness or insight you received by responding with a gift that has layers of meaning in it.  Tying yourself up with 'ideas' leads to timing that's almost never convenient, have you noticed?

Luckily, for the purposes of my workshop it was easy to think of something useful and attractive that I could knit in virtually no time (Drop Stitch Cowl, 4 hours) with special yarn (my handspun, from this time last fall) and good colours (blue and green and orange go with practically anything.)

I put in a little knitting time during breaks the next day, so the project would absorb the creative energy of the group (which was immense, by the way - we got really lucky on that front) and I was done by early afternoon.

Then I blocked it, after which I took no pictures, so this is it, folks.

It was much prettier after its bath, honest.

I think Miriam really liked it when I handed it over on Friday - anyway she told me so when she stopped to talk to me later - but the trouble was, she was with Richard.  To whom I also owe all sorts of creative writing gratitude.  And Richard said something like Hey, how come you didn't knit me anything?

Bet you can guess what I did this weekend.

What about you?  Making headway on winter-holiday knits now that Halloween is done?


Leslie said...

I seem to be consumed with knitting dishcloths. My hair dresser requested some (I tip him in hand-knits every few times I go). I think dish cloths will be everyone's gift this year!

Mary Keenan said...

I think dishcloth gift knitting is an EXCELLENT idea for you this year Leslie :^)