Monday, January 15, 2007

Why and how.

This is actually a spin off of a post on a knitting message board, asking about "knitting philosophy". It got me thinking about why I knit, how I knit. Not how in the sense of how I form individual stitches, but how I go about the process and my projects.

Honestly, I think I knit to combat some very real mental issues. I self-identify as having adult onset ADD. I wasn't like this as a child, but as an adult, relaxation and focus just isn't my thing. I can't just sit and watch a movie, or ride in a car, or listen to the radio. Knitting gives my hands something to do, which in turns takes just enough pressure off my brain to allow me to focus on what I'm really doing. Much to my husband's disbelief, I am paying attention when he is talking to me while simultaneously counting the decreases in a soaker.

I obviously don't for the satisfaction of finishing a project. Any observant human being would take one look at my house and realize that finishing is not. my. thing. I can see 3 unfinished projects right from where I sit, not counting the ufo's tucked into a few bags beneath the blankets under the end table. My dresser is a resting place for three unfinished sweaters that may or may not fit by the time I finish. I strive to be a more goal oriented knitter, and I fail miserably at times. I can fly through a pair of longies for a customer, because someone paid me to do so, and guilt is a motivator. But put a pair of socks for me on my needles, and it's a crap shoot. Of course, this is the theme of my entire life, evidenced by the stack of unfinished books on my nightstands (but the books are generally covered with ufo's, so no one knows I'm also a voracious reader).

I also knit because it's a socially acceptable shopping outlet. I used to buy shoes I didn't need or didn't really like, matching outfits for the girls when their closets were overflowing, and lotion and shower gel in every scent under the sun. Then came wool. My stash takes up the area of an entire table, overflowing into bags and totes beneath. Every once in a while a skein or two comes upstairs to be wound, but it's mostly yarn that I may never use. I'm strongly considering a six month "knit from stash" process, but I need to think on that some more to create my own set of rules.

Finally, I knit because it's cool. Although it's a trendy hobby, for me it's not about other's perception of my activities. It's much more about the fact that it allows a non-artist to be artistic. Knitting allows me to practice the techniques I teach pregnant women-patience, focus, and trust in the process. Knitting allows me to be gentle on the earth by using minimally processed yarns, and it allows me to support small businesses and avoid the 'marts of the world. It allows me to help families keep their kids in cloth diapers, which really does all of the above things as well. It has taught me to slow down and focus on the details, to forgive myself for mistakes, and that sometimes it is worth going back and starting over.

I've be a very different person without my knitting, and I can't really remember what I did before.

1 comment:

Sabbath D. said...

Very deep. I have so many ufo's that I could easily rip it all back and create a new wardrobe. I hear ya on the ufo's.

I happen to agree with everything that you said about why you knit.