I have been knitting lately. A lot. I am putting aside cares that my craft is amateurish, that I can’t do lace or cable-work, that I drop a stitch every other row or so. Because I like to knit so much, I am focusing on the now, with a tiny inkling in the back of my head that the more I knit, the better I will get, and that someday a sweater is in my future. Nothing is stronger than habit, said Ovid. In this case, the habit of knitting and purling several hours a day.
It helps that I like to make things that are lumpy and bumpy, they hide a multitude of sins. Let’s hope the holiday recipients of my works think so.
The ingenuity and skill of some knitters inspire me. Like the chair upholstery by Elise, the woman who owns the local knit shop, Flying Fingers.
Or, more insane but great, the bikini with which an artist named Jessie Hemmons draped the statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia, wanting to “facilitate a conversation about whether this cultural view of a man being emasculated and ‘disrespected’ by simply dressing him in feminine clothing is representative of and in accordance to current beliefs that women are viewed as equal to men.” She calls herself the Yarnbomber of Philadelphia.
Wool doesn’t have to be practical in a grannyish sort of way. Peruse this story from the 1892 New York Times, about a young woman whose life was saved when a ball of yarn she was carrying blocked a bullet. All kinds of exciting knitting stories exist if you’re only willing to entertain them. But since the days when people only knew the knit stitch, in the Middle East in the 11th century, working in the round to make stockings — hear what I’m saying? nobody knew how to purl! my nemesis — creating fibrous fabric in this way became crucial to society. There were lots of cold feet in the centuries before, and warm ones after, even if their coverings were lumpy and bumpy.