I am a knitter. Lots of people love to knit, but it is essential to me, like bread and water (or chocolate?) I’ve been reflecting lately on why I love to knit, and ‘why’ I started to knit. I knew of it, of course, but wasn’t ever really attracted to the craft until I observed my Grandmother in the actual act of knitting– and thinking back I NOW recognize exactly what the attraction was. Knitting has Rhythm.
I love Rhythm. Rhythm is the opposite of chaos, Rhythm is organized, and centering. I find Rhythm in lots of things, from daily routines, to family habits, I find it in music and dancing. Knitting is a rhythmic act unto itself, and my Grandmother was a very rapid knitter. I was mesmerized by how smooth such a levering movement could be in her old, wrinkled fingers. So, of course, I immediately asked her to teach me.
Suprisingly, she couldn’t. She learned to knit as a young school-girl in early 20th century London. It was a required skill for girls in those days along with many other needle skills. She had been doing it all her life, and though she tried to explain it to me and show me how – she had to stop and say, “ I think I’ve just been doing this too long.” The rhythm and motion of knitting were so much a part of her it was inside of her.
I am one of those people who taps fingers and fidgets constantly. Is it as though I am wired to require a constant rhythm in my life. Knitting is one thing that can be done while doing many other things: chatting with my kids, watching TV, nursing the baby, talking on the phone, etc. It fits into my life really well, and truth be told I am a pretty fast knitter.
So many things in life happen that are beyond my control – but I can ‘create something’ on my needles that wasn’t there before. I try to teach and to raise good kids, but that is a very SLOW progression of many little things – sometimes painfully SLOW – and the results and rewards of that hard work may not show up for many, many, years to come. A few hours of knitting produces very noticeable results – and can give me a feeling of finishing, of completing a task that is very rewarding.
I have knitted through a lot of disasters in my life. My favorite time to knit is in anticipation of a coming baby – nothing gives me more pleasure than making baby things – and I wish I could make something for every single baby in the world that I see. I guess, in a nutshell, knitting organizes my life into a steady rhythm, when really it is not organized at all. No matter how crazy my day is, no matter how far behind I get in the constant work that needs to be done, at the end of the day, that heap of yarn and those small wood sticks are sitting there unchanged and ready to click along – bringing a kind of order to my chaos.