Art Every Day 107: Knitting

knitting This is part of an old knitting project, started sometime between 1993 and 1999 and worked on some, then left in a basket. Since then I have taken it out once in a while to remind myself of knitting, or whenever I have found the hand drawn pattern (since lost), just to compare the idea with the reality. Because the project is incomplete, the idea is winning.

This time I took it out as a thing that I could work on while attending the Eastside Artists Art and Craft market in Woodward’s Atrium on Saturdays. 7 hours is a long time to be away from the studio not really doing anything, so I wanted something to do that was easy to transport, didn’t require absolute concentration, was not messy, did not require sharp tools or equipment, and had an option for re-do easily available. Knitting fit all the conditions.

Having restarted working on this project after at least a decade of knitting very little if at all (I reckon ten hours total of the ten years), I have to say that this sort of knitting, using multiple colours and textures, is not the wisest choice for relearning how to knit. This is a complicated pattern, I know this because I made it so, using 5 sources of yarn and cabling – even modifying the ribbing so that the transition between ribbing and body of sweater are smooth, that is knit parts of the rib become knit parts of the pattern- and I spend about half of my knitting time looking at where I am and what I’ve done, trying to figure out what to do next, all while trying to keep the 5 lines of yarn untangled. It would have been easier going if I had started a new project or had not misplaced the pattern, but I didn’t and I did. Consequently I make lots of mistakes, then I spend lots of time ripping out stitches and reknitting, lots of reknitting. Sometimes it seems that reknitting is everything; I have to say that picking up this project wasn’t the best choice for someone searching for a mindless task, or for a knitter in a hurry.

When I was in university and afterwards, I knit a lot, making sweater after beautiful sweater. I liked knitting so much that I used it as a studying incentive: “Okay, if you study for another half hour you can knit 5 rows”, I used to tell myself, and I was able to get myself to do enough work to do well in the hard courses – first year Chinese, second year Calculus and Medieval English (a third year course) – with it.

I used a sweater that I’d knit as part of my portfolio to get into Art School, and I was knitting the tenth or so row of a new sweater while standing in line waiting for my interview. Knitting has had a major presence in particular parts of my life, and it is a presence again. I like it a lot.

~ by thiscassandra on Saturday 21 December 2013.

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