The big question.

September 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Random babble | 1 Comment

Why? Why do I knit? What’s the purpose of what I do? Is there a purpose at all? Does there need to be?

I’ve given it a lot of thought over the past week or so, wondering why it is I do what I do, and what knitting is for me. I can’t say I’ve reached the definitive answer, but I have reached a few conclusions about what it isn’t.

For starters, knitting, for me, isn’t “the new yoga.” It’d be hard for it to feel that way to me, since I never did the old yoga to start with. Knitting isn’t something I do when I need to calm down or meditate or get in touch with my inner spirituality or whatever else some people claim it’s good for. I have no doubt that for some people, it works that way, but not for me.

Knitting isn’t my womanly art. Again, it’d be hard for me to see it that way since I’m not a very womanly person. Knitting isn’t an expression of my desire to keep my loved ones safe and warm. That’s the effect, not the cause. Knitting isn’t my escape from the world, since I enjoy meeting and talking with other knitters, and learning from them.At the same time, knitting is not a social activity for me, since I’m shy and nervous, and tend to keep to a fairly small circle of friends.

Knitting is, at it’s most basic, a fun thing to do that ends up making something. I’ve always enjoyed making things, be they practical or just for the heck of it. Most people feel like this, but some grow out of it once they leave childhood behind, and others express it through having families or careers or what have you. Knitting is a way I can make something cool with minimal materials, and enjoy what I’m doing. I can be amused for hours on end by manipulating yarn with a couple of pointy sticks.

It wasn’t that long ago that I learned the truth of the words, “Nothing gold can stay.” After our first rats, Reiji and Naoya died, I came to the realisation that there aren’t enough beautiful things in the world, and the things that are there don’t last forever. I was overcome by the desire to rectify those problems, and decided that to counter it, I would make as many beautiful things as I could. Knitting relates to that urge, for me. It might explain my love of lace, since I find very few knitted objects more beautiful than well-done lace items.

I see plenty of people debating whether knitting is art of craft. To me, it’s something of both. Craft, in the way I think of it, requires skill, practice, and results in something that can be either beautiful or functional. Art tends me to focus more on beauty than function, but sometimes the lines are crossed. A well-done knitted object is no less art than the painting hanging on the living room wall, and no less craft the study chair put together by a skilled woodworker.

Knitting is an extension of my desire to learn. Learning the basics was hard at first, but soon, I’d mastered the foundation of a useful skill. Knit came first, then purl, then decreasing, increasing, working with multiple colours and textures and sizes, and with wach thing I knit, I learned. It also has become the branch-off point for the desire to learn other skills. I leanred how to take apart sweaters in the desire for more good yarns that were affordable. I want to learn how to spin to make my own yarns. I’ve practiced dyeing, and learned about how certain fibres react to certain dyes. I have a want to learn to crochet, but I doubt that I’ll ever crochet as much as I knit.

Knitting keeps my mind happy and working while my body relaxes. At it’s best it’s an entertaining challenge, and at it’s worst it’s mindless, allowing me to feel productive because I’m making something, but at the same time allowing me to be a slacker in front of the TV.

Even at the lowest points of knitting, where what I’m doing is mindless garter-stitch in front of the aforementioned TV, it’s productive, and there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that even though I don’t really need another scarf, someone out there might, and I made it while doing practically nothing. It lets my hands do what my soul has wished for a long time; that I can help people, even in a small way and even though they may never really think about it.

The fact that people I know and love, or even people I don’t know, will be kept warm from a scarf or sweater, or be tickled pink by a new lace shawl, is secondary to the knitting of the object. I don’t knit for the finished product, however satisfying it may be to finally cast off. I knit for the sheer joy of knitting, the love of making something. It’s the act of making that thrills me the most, not seeing the thing finally made. After all, there are tons of things that have already been made, but there aren’t as many things that are being made. The reason that some people knit is only a side-effect for me. I think I’d knit things even if I knew nobody would ever get any use out of them!

I do knit like that, in fact. I don’t expect anybody to actually wear the acrylic socks I’m knitting. But I’m knitting them because I like the process, and because I want the practice.

Which brings me to my next point. Knitting is inspirational. I’ve been knitting for only a few years now, and in my head already float a few designs and ideas for designs. Good yarn inspires me to practice with lesser yarns in order to be good enough for the good stuff. It’s a driving force, inspiring me to push past the level I’m currently on, to get better so that I can live up to the materials I use.

So bearing all these things in mind, I think I might have just learned, to me, what knitting is.

Knitting is.

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1 Comment »

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  1. At the end, what knitting really means differs to each person. Knitting or craft to me is a way for me to escape the stress, and kind of admire my work.


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