Saturday, April 14, 2007
Don't Be Upset
if you didn't get a call from me on my recent trip to California. It was an impromptu shorty brought on by a bit of a family urgency, but all is well and it was so great to see my family and to embrace a few wonderful spring days out in the Golden State.
My first memory of knitting was when I was in the third grade and I took an afternoon elective knitting class. I really wasn't any good at it and I remember barely being able to crank out a small yellow rectangle that I remember punching my Barbie's arms through so she could wear it as a shawl.
Then there were several years without knitting and then I remember starting up again in high school when I made one of those baby hats that looks like a strawberry except I made mine to fit me and it was purple with a green top. I wore that hat lots but I insisted that it was NOT a grape but instead an eggplant. The edgy irony being that I have never liked eating eggplant.
Not a lot of other knitting went on in high school but then in college it picked up again. Mainly I have memories of this really fun yarn shop in Florence, Italy where I studied abroad my junior year. I remember knitting on trains as my friends and I criss-crossed the Italian countryside while little old Italian ladies ran running commentary about my technique from across the aisle. Occasionally I even had my knitting plucked from my fingers by ladies that just couldn't bare my haphazard technique and they would try to show me how I could do it better.
So, many years of knitting a hat or a scarf and then maybe a year of no knitting at all and then another hat or scarf again. Starting and stopping so irregularly meant that I never graduated to anything other than the hat or scarf. Finally I did start trying some lacy patterns or basket weaves but I never had the courage to jump to a bigger project until a couple of months ago.
It is sort of hard to put my finger on exactly why this has ended up being the time and place that I can now really call myself a knitter. As I sit here finishing a pair of fingerless gloves and prepare to start my first cable knit hat as well as pick out yarn for a baby sweater I am just amazed that I feel like I have just burst through one of those large paper screens at the circus and entered the world of some real serious knitting.
As Gabriel and I travel the world, it is textile that is so often catching my attention these days. The labor of love, passion for tradition and the deep meditation that is held in the repetitive nature of weaving and knitting is very powerful for me. It has also been so lucky for me to have women like my stepmother and my mother in-law to help and encourage me as we swap knitting patterns and wisdom. It is so much fun for me to join the women in my life as a peer and I think they feel the same.
Here are some photos from California, Carolyn and I knitting/crocheting together and a nice walk we all took together while my sister played hookie from school to enjoy the spring wild flowers.