Saturday, February 2, 2019

Knitting is some dark magic

The swatch knitted from VHS tape (yes, he still has it)

Years ago, when I was a beginning knitter, I looked down at my little square of knitting, and felt … wonder and awe that I’d created this fabric out of interlocking loops. Chris and I were sitting together watching TV, and I said, “This is … magical.” He looked at my little square and said, “…. Ok.” (obviously not getting it).

Early on, Chris kept asking me to knit him little samples of really weird fibers. I’ve knitted jute, sisal, VHS tape (never, never again. It squeaks something awful), even some flexible wire (never, never again. It’s murder on your hands). I finally just said, “why don’t I just teach you how to knit?” and he shrugged and said, “Ok.”

So, I taught him. I had to learn to back off though - he refused to let me teach him when I thought he was ready, and made me wait and only teach him new techniques when he wanted them. I think he made a LOT of garter stitch items before he finally let me teach him to purl. And then he was off and running. He continued experimenting with unusual materials, even going so far as creating over-sized knitting needles so he could knit rugs from strips of old jeans.  At some point, he saw a TED talk about making hyperbolic sea creatures in crochet, and he decided it could be done with knitting, dammit. He even had me make him a special 6 foot interchangeable cord so he could make bigger ones (and binding off took him foreeeeeever). Then he was fascinated with entrelac - that was the first technique he picked up on his own as I didn’t know how to do it (and still don’t). He wanted me to learn it so I could teach it to him.  I bought him an entrelac book instead.

Anyway, years and years after I’d said it, he sat gazing at his knitting for awhile, then looked up, and said, “you’re right. This is magical.”

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