Saturday, May 14, 2011

Musings on Knitting inspired by For the Love of Knitting

I have just finished reading my first book about knitting.  Not a pattern book or an instructional book, but a book about the love and joy of knitting.  Kari Cornell appropriately titles it For the Love of Knitting.  It is a compilation of essays on knitting:  learning to knit, projects lovingly made for others, knitting as an art and Elizabeth Zimmerman.  (I have seen Elizabeth’s name in numerous places related to knitting, but this book explained more clearly who she was, and gave my a new book to hunt down and read…Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman.)  Throughout the book I jotted down ideas for my blog and thought about why I knit and why I love knitting.  It reminded me that we knit for many reasons.  I started to knit as an adult as a way to be productive while waiting for my children at various practices and activities.  I love the feeling of being productive while I wait.  I also started knitting as a way to release stress.  I kept knitting because it was a true passion.  I love the creative expression it offers, the practical garments and items it produces, the opportunity it provides to work with my hands, and the chance it gives me to express love and appreciation to family and friends through a handmade gift. 

I enjoyed reading the section of the book discussing knitting as art.  While I have enjoyed various crafting endeavors throughout my life, I have never thought about the finished project from knitting as art.  I think of weaving as art, but I believe I relegated knitting to a craft because of its practical applications.  I have never seen a knit piece on the wall of an art gallery; or thought to knit a piece as art.  I have always considered the skill of knitting an art, but the finished project I thought of practically.  Extending this thought process beyond knitting you really can find art in many practical things we do daily.  Cooking can be an art; surgery is an art; drafting a winning legal brief is art.  It reminded me that art is all around us in the world in our everyday experiences.  Furthermore, it challenged me to expand my notion of knitting and see the “art” not just in the process but also in the finished project.  My yellow-cabled sweater truly is a piece of art.

I share with many knitters a stash of yarn to rival a small yarn store.  I particularly enjoyed Lily Chin’s Top 10 Ways to Hide the Stash in For the Love of Knitting.  I haven’t gotten to the point where I need to replace my sofa cushions with yarn to hold my stash, but I will let you all know when I do.  Each skein and ball of yarn in my stash of course has a project attached to it.  One that most likely will never come to fruition, but a plan for the skein nonetheless.  I often have so many plans for things I want to create via knitting, I find myself making lists of projects to start.  (I am a list person.)  My stash is helpful when I come up with a new project, decide to start it immediately and need yarn.  I may not ever get to that cute little gray skirt, but the skein takes new life in my current project.  Worst-case scenario, I can open up a yarn shop someday.  At least knitters won’t find it odd to be purchasing yarn out of soup tureens.  (Again, see Lily Chin’s list to understand the reference.) 

Knitting as art has been handed down through the ages.  I was fortunate enough to first learn from my mother, a way of learning that is quickly becoming extinct.  I hope my children find joy in knitting, to whatever extent suits them.  For me, knitting has been the discovery of a passion.  What further roads it offers me for exploration will be a pleasure to roam. 

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