Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Chaos, Beauty

This weekend, at the tail end of my wallowing, I did something I have wanted to do for a very very long time: I cast on to begin my first ever sock.

Doesn't sound like much, but it was a big event for me. The entire reason I wanted to learn to knit was to make socks. Because....well, because I thought it would be cool to have handknitted socks, okay? And the yarn for socks is just groovy. Sometimes more fun and enticing than all the other kinds of yarn.

So, I cast on. 56 stitches. Spread them out over three double pointed needles (DPNs). Began to knit and purl as directed.

Right now, three days in, I have just over an inch of the ribbing done. It's slow going because I'm still kind of awkward with the DPNs. And I've had one incident where I started going around in the opposite direction and had to rip that out...not good. Heh.

I watch this little sock taking shape from the simple motions of pulling some yarn through a loop of itself and it makes me happy. It makes me happy to see all the shades of blue in the yarn that looked rather random while it was in the skein turn into neatly ordered stripes. It makes me happy to see that, despite my struggles with learning to wrangle the DPNs, the rows of knit and purl are pretty even, and they look ordered and "right". I'm even happy that when this sock is done, I get to do another one just like it and watch the process all over again.

I'm not entirely sure why this process is making me so filled with bliss. Maybe because I can see how my learning to knit has progressed and now, at long last, I am able to do the thing I have so long wanted to do.

I think on a deeper level though, it gives me comfort to see that despite struggle and some fuss, despite having to go back, start over and try again, despite the seeming dis-order and chaos that by doing things that are simple, straightforward and easy, one can create something really really beautiful.

"Women like to sit down with trouble - as if it were knitting." ~Ellen Glasgow

"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either." ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

"Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage." ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

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