25 April 2007

Knitting as ...

Wendy is getting somewhat contemplative about knitting, which brought my thoughts about knitting to the fore.

As you know, life has been a challenge for the Purly girl lately. And that has led to a LOT of knitting: Since January I have knit two sweaters for myself, two shrugs, a pair of men's socks, a pair of gloves, a hat, a purse, a shawl, a shawlette, along with starting another sweater for me, another shawl, a sweater for Isobel, and a vest for Dad. And most of those items are not in bulky yarn. We're talking many, many stitches.

Now, I can't say each one is a prayer or anything, but I have found knitting to be a life-saver. With knitting I've found something to concentrate on other than my situation. Creating stitch after stitch is meditative, though I don't think of knitting as meditation in the strict sense of the word. And working out a new stitch pattern or reworking a size stretches the mental muscles - mine have been getting stuck in some yucky grooves lately, so adding a picot edge to Isobel's cardigan helps to break me out of that groove.

People have been saying for a few years that "knitting is the new yoga". I know what they mean, but isn't that a facile comment? Knitting is knitting, and yoga is yoga. The two share some elements, requiring us to focus on something both inside and outside of ourselves. Modern folks have a tendency to navel gaze (see "yucky grooves"), don't we? Knitting is very personal, but it can also be communal and generous.

Yoga is, of course, navel gazing in the name of health. Breathing is central. And shouldn't we all breathe while knitting? Repetition is important in both practices and leads to increased flexibility and more even stitches. Remember your first knitted item? I still have the "scarf" in my stash, though some day I might frog it and do something else with the yarn (turquoise Manos del Uruguay - I believe in using the good stuff all the way). Remember your first yoga class? Luckily, I've always been flexible, as I started practicing ballet at age three, but I had no idea what I was doing! Now I can do Downward Dog properly and sometimes achieve a Headstand (what a rush!).

Next time: "Crochet is the new Knitting," "Grey is the new Black," and other brilliant observations. Just kidding!


  1. Dear Purly Girl, you are beautiful. I love this thoughtful post. We all need our knitting. I enjoy EATING too. Miss you soooo much. xxoo

    Just read EAT, PRAY, LOVE by E. Gilbert. Your post made me think you might like this.

  2. Fearless knitting, dangerous knitting, knitting in the tornado, ravel, unravel, I wonder how many countless women have kept their lives together with knits and purls. Has kept me tipped toward sanity these last two years, you know. I so want you to open a shop. Do you have a calling?


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