knitting in the heat of summer

I am presently casting on in the humidity of mid-July. This is how inspired I was by Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, a book that my mom let me borrow.

I was already laughing out loud by the introduction. To quote the review on the back of the book, “Really? A laugh-out-loud book about hand knitting?” Well yes, really. Apparently the author, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is a big deal in the blogging world. Being so ridiculously brand new to this “blogging world,” knitting, and many many other things that I’ve been trying out lately, I had no idea. You can find her blog here. The particular passage that got me so inspired wasn’t all that funny, it just struck a chord with me:

“It really does seem so simple. Knitting is only two stitches, knit and purl, yet with those two ordinary acts we knitters can take a ball of yarn and a couple of pointy sticks and create something useful and beautiful. An average sweater takes god-only-knows-how-many stitches to make, each one of them a simple act… I know it looks like a hat, but really, it’s four hours at the hospital, six hours on the bus, two hours alone at four in the morning when I couldn’t sleep because I tend to worry. It is all those hours when I chose to spend time warming another person. It’s giving them my time – time that I could have spent on anything, or anyone, else. Knitting is love, looped and warm.”

Stephanie also goes on to describe an event that I personally experienced as a newbie knitter last holiday season, which is apparently referred to by knitting veterans as It. Remember when I was all excited about my first knitting project? Well, after that positive accomplishment, I went to my favorite knitting store in SF and stocked up on all the yarn, needles, and patterns to knit the entirety of my holiday gift list. I should have known when I heard someone casually joking about their fledgling ambition across the store, “I remember when I thought I was going to knit all of my holiday gifts that first year, HA” that there might be a little problem in my planning. Let’s just say that my mom found me bleary-eyed in the basement on Christmas morning… still knitting. The official term for this delirious dedication to hand-knit gifts coupled with poor planning is It.

Did I learn? I suppose I developed some speed and a better understanding of how long certain projects take to complete, but here I am, planning to make most of my gifts for this holiday season. And I’m glad that I will have hilarious company in that effort, now that I’ve read this book, and know that I am far from the only one out there.

I’m casting on now, mid-July, in an effort to avoid doing It again. Wish me luck.

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