Knitting is a major part of my life. Like the walking stick for a recovering stroke patient, the trained dog for a blind citizen, the prayer wheel for a monk, the mobile phone for a cab driver, I cannot visualize my life without the daily few hours of knitting or ( if my fingers are protesting) crochet.
And so, you will ask, dear reader, what is so terrific about knitting? (don’t ask a similar question to that recovering stroke patient—you will get a whack with that walking stick). And, I will answer, like a happily besotted lover who can see no faults in the beloved one, “Where do I begin?”
It begins with the amazing physics and logic of knitting.. the method of pulling loops, through a line of loops—again and again, to create swathes of fabric to cover the chair, your body parts, the dog, the floor.. or engineer tubes , to decorate your head, hands, torso, electricity poles.
The starting point remains the same—a ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needle ends. Minimal equipment, maximum pleasure and phenomenal output—what more could a lazy human being need, to feel like The Creator?!
The process of knitting looks tantalizing and tortuous to onlookers.. On the Metro, while waiting at traffic-signals, on the train/bus/car, at waiting rooms, eyes follow the dance of my fingers. To add spice to the spectacle, I will be reading, or talking or looking around, while the fingers continue with their work. Of course, crafty me ensures that I carry simple knitting projects on public expeditions! Like any new skill (riding a cycle, driving a car, making round rotis), knitting needs a bit of focus and work till the “Eureka!” moment.
While knitting, the mind settles down to make to-do lists, resolve long-standing issues with human behavior (always behavior of others.. we knitters are perfect), plan a menu/holiday/conversation/reunion/other pleasant pursuits, figure out the future of Indian politics, or just marvel at the witchcraft of loops and stitches. Knitting has helped me plan and execute major changes in life—shifting locations, changing professions, sending the girls to distant schools, distancing marriage, and accepting people instead of trying to change them.
Knitting circles and groups add many more dimensions to living. I knit better when I am surrounded with the music of clicking needles, bursts of laughter , sighs of satisfaction after completing a tough pattern, and the sympathizing clucks and “oh-no” when a mistake has been sighted. Ideas bounce back and forth, stories of the earth, hearth and family are exchanged, and insights about life, casting-on-stitches, and pulling-small-sweaters- over- big- heads are divulged. Besides knitting secrets, I have learnt the hill-philosophy, heard hair-raising stories about bears and big-cats, and smiled quietly over village gossip.
The physics, the logic, the mechanics, the beauty.. it all comes together and there is no turning back. And finally, when the knitted stuff comes off the needles.. it’s time to bravely tackle that big monster of my life-the monster of assembling and finishing the piece. This is all about sewing up edges and buttons, making yarn ends vanish, adding tassels and fringes and everything else which gilds the masterpiece.
In subsequent posts, there will be pointers to good learning sites, books, videos and all the other information which has been showered from Internet Heaven. Right now, its time to admire two lovely creations.. a hat knitted with some lovely hand-dyed wool from the Brown-Sheep company, and an adorable black, soft nosed dog with some knittable fur.