Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coming Out

Knitting has always been private for me. When I first knitted, when I was younger, I used to work away at .Jean Greenhowe's knitted toys, in 8ply acrylic on 3mm needles. I would sit in my room and I would knit, knit, painstaikingly knit until it was done, and then bring it out for approval and perhaps some suggestions on how to seam it together. Or else, if I got stuck (what the $%&# is a SSK? How, exactly, do you m1?) I could ask my mother, who would help me out (she used to know the answer back then. Now, I find the internet a handier tool for explaining, for example, how to m1 without m. a hole, or how to find the right cast on for your project and learn it. But more on that later)

When I found out last year that I was A Knitter, it was also mostly private. Sure, I would talk about it, and members of my family and friends went with me to choose yarn and drool at knitting books (I was the only one with a saliva problem) but the actual knitting was mostly done in private. In the same place I used to do it as a child - sitting on a beanbag in my teeny, dark room, watching my needles flick back and forth, watching the fabric grow at amazing speeds - it will do that when you use knitting as an avoidance mechanism. Also, this time I had my iPod to listen to, I had Brenda and Jacey and Heather and David and Christina and Wendy, et al. This helped, partly because I learn best when I'm listening, I like to listen. Also, because it let me know that even though my sister mocked me for my knitting (it did get a little crazy there for a while, I'll cop to it) it was a good thing to be doing, a valid thing to enjoy. The things I made were good things and she should stop that mocking if she wanted any more scarves made. My sister is a fiend for scarves. She still mocked. But I got this:

See the start here.

Seriously, can you believe I knit that? This is going to get a post of it's own later, but for now, let's just revel in the glory of the time I had on my hands and the lovely lovely thing I made... sort of lovely.

Anyway, so now I knit at home, where I share a house with two of my cousins. For a bit of background, I don't know if I said any of this before, but they are T and J. (I feel a bit dumb doing the whole initial thing, but I think it's prubent and I can't think of any appropriate blog-safe, cutesy names. Suggestions, anyone?) They are brother and sister, T is the youngest in the family and J the eldest (of four). He is also the only boy of my generation on either side of my family - and his, I believe. Anyway. So, I lived with J before, when I was in uni. And one of his friends became my (now ex) boyfriend. Not so relevant, except that one of their mutual friends, E, bugged me. In fact, I hated him. He was misogynistic and condescending and he would come around NEVER LEAVE.

Ahem. Anyways. So last weekend he was over on the Friday. I don't mind him so much now. Partly he's not as disgusting, partly I don't rise to the bait. Partly I just don't care, especially since he no longer spends whole weeks at my house. I like my space, people.

So, I'm knitting, and they come in to the lounge room and start playing their computer game - it's a soccer one, if you want to know. There I am, knitting on my entrelac scarf, knit knit knit. (anyone else love saying 'entrelac'? It just means 'interlocked', right?) I'd just started, and it was looking unimpressive and prompting swearing. More later on the scarf, this is a metapost. Although, you saw it yesterday.

So, knit knit knit.

E starts asking about it. Mostly for something to do, I think, just for some conversation. His lead-in question was "why knitting?" I think that's a good question. I might have to think about it a little more, maybe it could be another post. I don't think I can even articulate all the reasons 'why knitting', even the ones I am aware of at the moment. I'm sure there will be more reasons that I discover along the way, as I increase my skill or just grow with it. Which is one of the things I love.

I keep getting disctracted, don't I?

The other day there was someone knitting on the bus on the way home. Brown wool, with k2/p1 ribbing alternating with eyelet lace. It was elegant and she knit so fast, so gracefully. The way I knit is English style, but I don't loop the yarn around my index finger and flick it back and forth like you're supposed to. Instead I use my thumb and middle finger to squeeze the needle so it flicks out and in, back and forth. Kind of like the way Stephanie Pearl-McFee says she knits, only not as traditional. I remember my mum trying to teach me the proper way to do it, but I couldn't grasp the forming of the stitch together with the flicky thing. I'm happy with it and it gets the job done, so why quibble.

I watched her knit all the way home, craning my head and peering through people to watch the needles flick and the lace expand.

The other morning it was cold. I can't find my scarf that I knit last year. I wanted a scarf. The only scarf I had was about 5 inches long and counting. So I took it with me. I whipped it out at the bus stop in front of my house. I knit. No one cares. I was surreptitiously scanning the people in the cars going past. They didn't care. Freedom! Now I had not only my iPod but also my knitting to occupy the sometimes-frustrating commute. I knit all the way there and all the way home. On the way home it's great because not only am I not bored, I get a head start on my relaxing-after-work stage of the evening because I am doing exactly what I would be doing anyway once I got home.

Then the other day I got to work and one of the people here says "I saw you knitting at the bus stop" Aparently it didn't occur to him to pick me up, but whatever. His partner was driving, so, you know. And he asked me a bit about it and although he wasn't any more condescending than usual, I bristled. I don't know if this was warranted or not. Today he saw me knitting at the bus stop again and did stop and pick me up. (There's a particular thrill when you are picked up by a sleek car with two gay guys in the front seat. I think it's called the public-transport-sucks-please-drive-me-to-work thrill) The two of them asked me how my scarf was going. Then they chuckled. Not a snicker, not condescending, but - I don't know. Not welcoming, either. Like "aren't you a little weird. That's sweet". Well, my work is full of people that are a little weird, so I guess I fit right in.

Thankfully now I don't get upset. Thanks to Brenda, I just think to myself: Poor dears. The resurgence of craft is a bit of an underground thing. I'm not surprised they didn't get the manifesto.

Thanks Brenda. You rock my socks.

For Jac:

I love it when you're dirty!

*ew, ick*

Aren't my sheets purty?

As you can see, it's a very taught and firm Hills Hoist, which leads me to believe that there has never been any children living in this house - especially since it's an old skool one - no bright yellow and green plastic for us!

Let this be a warning to you, people: this is the kind of incoherent post you get when you write it on and off during a hectic work day. Heed my warning and repent!

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