Thursday, March 30, 2006


I had great plans for today. Plans involving putting a zipper on the sweater I knit for Julian (which has been sitting in its unzippered and unfinished state for months) and blocking and sewing the miniskirt (and deciding what I wanted to do regarding lining it and making a waistband), and finally finishing the fingerless gloves (which have remained in their almost completed state for so many weeks now.) Alas, it is not to be, for I have a sore throat and will be seeing the doctor instead.

On a somewhat related note, I have been reading up on the history of knitting in Vogue Knitting and the exclusively male knitting guilds which spread throughout Europe during the 17th century:

The training process for a guild knitter was long and elaborate. It took six years to become a master knitter, three as an apprentice and three as a journeyman. After this service the aspiring master knitter was required to produce a felted cap, a pair of stockings or gloves with embroidered decoration, a shirt or waistcoat, and a knitted carpet about six feet by five feet with flowers, foliage, and animals-all in the space of 13 weeks.

13 Weeks?!? At first, I marvel at that. Then I think that if all I did was knit and I didn't have the distractions of a child, a husband, books, the internet, the need to exercise, etc., then I could get more accomplished knittingwise.

Another thing I found fascinating was the fact that all these knitting traditions which we perceive as so very old and longstanding have not been around that long:

The most famous types of traditional knitting, such as Fair Isle, Aran, Shetland lace and Scandinavian "lice" patterns, are not ancient, but date from the 19th century.

So the consitution is older than the tradition of fishermen's sweaters. I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, all these years I have been making fishermen's sweaters, I have had this romantic notion that I am tapping into something far older than myself. And while the tradition predates my birth by at least a century, I guess I am a little disappointed to realize it is only a century or two older than I. I know, I am being so very silly.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Scarf I Didn't Remember

This appeared on my real blog earlier this month, but I liked the picture of Dean with the turban scarf, I felt the need to post it here as well. Look how snazzy Dean looks. Of course, I think the scarf has very little to do with that, but hey, I am not above my knitwear piggybacking off of other people's style.

Thank you Dean for sending in the photos and for reminding me of its existence.

I spent hours, days on this scarf and it was one of the first things I made. How could all those brain cells which stored this information have been offline for so long?

Now that I remember, I remember that there are rows where I knit to the back of the stitch and the stitches face in different directions. I remember that it is all stockinette stitch, so it has a tendency to curl in (in spite of my aggressive blocking.) I remember that it is made out of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and the color is Onyx.

How could I have forgotten?

On a related note, someone I knew once asked me to make her an item. I did so. Years later, I saw the item I had made for her in a pile along with a lot of other things she no longer wanted. It was an odd experience because while I had no emotional connection to the item I had made and really didn't care what she did with it (as it was her possession to do with as she liked), I wasn't sure if I should say something ("Hey, isn't that the item you requested I make for you years ago?") or just pretend I hadn't seen it. Of course I understand that people's tastes change and something we desperately want at one time can seem like a waste of space years later. I was surprised she didn't hide the item from me, but then I realized she probably didn't remember where she had acquired the item in question and thought nothing of leavng it out for me to see. She would have been mortified if I had commented on it, so of course, I said nothing. But I won't be making her anything ever again.

It's a strange thing memory. Most people credit themselves with having a great memory, insisting that their version of events is the correct one and deem all versions which disagree with the one they have in their head to be false. This can be difficult when talking about the past with others. It can get really difficult when one has documents (photographs, journal entries, videotape) which contradicts another's memories because instead of letting go, the person in question will oftentimes grasp at the illusion created by their brain. We all want what we believe to be true to be true and reality has no business proving us wrong.

Post Scrypt: My tact at not mentioning anything was commented upon, as was my plan to never make anything for the friend in question. Perhaps I was wrong to not say anything at the time. However, now that I have chosen silence (and blogged about it) I know that I cannot mention anything because the friend would be mortified to be told that she is the person in question and the whole situation would make me really uncomfortable. So, because she may be reading this and thinking up a scheme in which she may make amends, it would be best if we just never speak of this in real life because I will reveal her identity here (and elsewhere) if she should so confront me. I really hate conflict of any sort and didn't bring this up in order to shame anyone into public displays of contrition.

As for the not making her anything and my reasons for this, this is what I wrote as a response to a comment to the original post:

It makes me sad when I see the hand knit items at the thrift store and know that the Salvation Army was probably not where the creator had intended the creation to go. The problem with handknit items is that they seem to live in this limbo between clothing and something else. One can accept that clothing is expendable. But what of the handknit sweater? It functions as clothing, but when we start to examine the amount of time, effort, and love which went into the creation of it, it takes on a value far greater than one we would ascribe to a mere article of clothing. One has the right to treat one's possessions as one sees fit. But one also has the right to limit how much of one's time will be spent creating something for another person (especially when one has a list of people clamoring for knit items and a limited amount of time.) And in the case I described, I think what bothered me more than the person discarding my item was the fact that the person clearly didn't remember that had made the item in question. It would have been one thing if she had said "hey, you made this for me and I can't use it anymore. Is it okay if I give it away to someone?" That would have given me the opportunity to say "no problem. I can totally see how that no longer suits you." But by it just being there and her not saying anything, it felt like she failed to acknowledge the time I put into the item.

Anyway, enough about that. Here is another picture of Dean wearing the scarf I made over a decade ago.


Because what the world needs now is another knitting blog.

Some friends of mine have blogs that are dedicated to knitting and I have been sucked into this alternate world of knitting web pages. I must admit to being a bit disturbed by the bulk of the online knitting blogs I have encountered. Yes, there are the great ones like yarn harlot, but so many of the blogs out there seem to strike this cooler than thou, look what I can do and aren't I fabulous tone. It makes me feel strange, frankly. A friend of mine who, like me, has been knitting since she was a child, commented that while she likes all the cool knitting patterns and yarns that are available everywhere, she feels the need to make it clear that she is not a trendy knitter. I know how she feels. This goes beyond the tendency we all have to assert that we did something before it was cool. It gets to something else, some need we have to state that we are above the competition, but if those who are interested in competing even try to take us on, they are in for a beating. And this is totally nuts because this is knitting we are talking about. However, I do want to talk about knitting and I have a lot to say about knitting, but I don't want my other blog to turn into a knitting blog. And I have a ton of patterns I have created over the years and while I can't believe anyone might want to replicate them, I can at least show them off.

I have already written about Knitting and Breastfeeding and I have written a knitting related eulogy to Penny Spokes wherein I ask for people to send me photos of them wearing stuff I made them.