For reasons I don’t quite understand, I’ve run into any number of people who think it is funny and a little odd that I’m excited about learning to knit. One dear friend even suggested that life wasn’t really that bad and that my dating slump was sure to turn around soon. Honestly, if I thought that knitting could abate my sexual frustration, I would have started much sooner, but, sad for me, it ain’t quite doing the trick.
However, what it does is give me another outlet for making something tangible.
As a writer, who is always dealing with intangible words, I love doing things that let me create something tangible. To that end I like cooking, baking, and crocheting. If I didn’t mind getting dirty and wasn’t afraid of bugs I would probably get into gardening. Like those other ventures, learning to knit satisfies that need to create something with a tangible end product.
My loving mother reminds me that part of the surprise for people who find out I’m learning to knit is that they don’t expect me to be domestic or to like to do domestic things. Perhaps it is my history of loving to go to concerts and museums, or the fact that I love my black t-shirt with the sparkly skull and cross bones on it, but I don’t necessarily exude an aura of domesticity. But looks can be deceiving. I like black eyeliner, baking, rock ‘n’ roll, Jane Austen (I like to think we’d be home girls), and now knitting. To borrow a line from Walt Whitman, I contain multitudes.
However, when people knock knitting as an older person’s pursuit, it is a tad hard for me to retort because in my knitting class of five people I’m the only one under 50. That said, I think there is something kind of fun and funky about people who aren’t afraid to learn something new regardless of their age. For example, there’s a little old lady in my knitting class named Clare. Clare’s cute as a button with snowy white hair and a voice that sounds for all the world like Betty White. Apparently, she attempted to learn to knit 50 years ago from her mother-in-law, but never quite got the hang of it and didn’t stick with it, favoring crochet instead. Yet she always thought it would be fun to know how to knit and so now, 50 years later, she’s trying again. No matter how many flowered housecoats and curlers you dress that up in, it’s spunky.
This week in class we learned how to knit and purl in the same row. I learned what I was doing wrong back when I tried to teach myself to knit and purl in the same row—you have to move your yarn to the front before your purl and then move it back when you return to the knit stitch. The results are so much better than what I had created on my own. Seriously, it was like night and day.
And knitting and purling in the same row means that I’ve started on the actual pattern for the back panel of my sweater! Yes, I’m excited. When I was knitting the bottom hem it felt like it was just a much bigger practice swatch, but now that I can see the ribbing pattern emerging it finally feels like a project. I better get cracking and make some more progress before my next class—I’d really like to finish this project close to when the class ends.