Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knitting on the Moon

Below is an article I stumbled onto while I was looking for a knitting pattern. It was written almost 2 decades ago, and voices much of what I experience regarding this craft. I, too, have taken my knitting (leash braiding, quilting) on all my outings, and truly would love to be able to take it with me to church and other more formal gatherings.....SOMEhow, it makes me listen more efficiently when my hands are busy. And the time spent knitting is never wasted.

One more note---this goes along with knitting, honestly. I have an extensive case of Groomer's Addiction....And having 3 big male Collies certainly helps feed my habit. These dogs are so precious to me, and Everything involving them is very important, even the very hair that blows all over the house and yard. I have put the groomed-out fur in the trees for the birds to use in their nests in the spring, I've twisted it and used it for hair for the angels I craft every Christmas, and I've sent boxes of it to a woman in NJ who spins it into delicious Collie Wool.

Yes, Collie Wool. Two-ply yarn, light beige in color. I have one skein of grey now that Prosper is getting his big boy coat. Once knitted, it continues to "bloom," creating a halo-effect in the lacework holes.

And it smells Delicious! JUST like my boyz smell....More than any other feature, folks are amazed at how beautiful it smells.

Lots of folks look at me like I am really weird (go figger That!) regarding the saving and spinning of the Collie fur, but I adore the softness and warmth and the nearness of the boyz, even when I am away from them. My spinner-friend sees a certain spirituality in making this wool, and has a picture of my Collies attached to her spinning wheel. What a connection she has made with me just regarding that very small act!

And so I knit. I knit with the nubby yarns of merino and acrylic, and tiny cotton threads, and pink fuzzy mohair and stringy eyelash....But my favorite, heartofheart yarn is the soft downy fur of my three best boys.....Here's the article.....


by Paula Rice Biever

No matter what project I am knitting, as long as it remains on my needles it is a security blanket. In unfamiliar places, amongst unknown people and the possibility of chaos, there is always my knitting.

I bring my knitting with me on vacations, trips, and whenever I anticipate long periods of waiting around for something to happen. I bring my knitting to social occasions, but not because I anticipate being bored. Knitting helps me relax and feel comfortable and able to observe and interact. I don't knit in order to isolate myself from people - I can carry on conversations while knitting, without any problems. Sometimes I even talk to my knitting.
I have also developed the ability to knit and read at the same time. It isn't all that hard to do, since knitting becomes fairly automatic once the pattern is established. Propping the book open is the most difficult part. I have bought a couple of gizmos to do this for me, but they make turning the pages a complicated task.
I have no qualms about unraveling my work, and a good thing too, since I knit while talking and reading. I have a gadget called a woolwinder that winds yarn up into nice tidy balls. I find it fascinating to turn the handle on my woolwinder and watch rows and rows of stitches disappear much faster than they were created. For me the greatest pleasure of knitting is the act of knitting and not quickly producing a finished product. I am just as happy to be able to use the same wonderful yarn again until I get the project knit up to my specifications.
I like to knit vests. I have considered adding sleeves to some designs, but vests still present endless possibilities for me. I can change the shoulder width, the neckline, make long or short vests, and can knit them in lace designs or in multiple colors. I always use circular needles. A circular needle resembles two shortened regular needles connected at the ends by a length of thin plastic tubing. Stitches are cast on as usual, but knitting the first stitch creates a joined circle. Subsequent rows of circular knitting are referred to as rounds, and the knitted fabric grows to become a tube. If you are not careful and accidently twist the stitches around the needle on your first time around, you can end up knitting a Mobius strip.
I knit my vests in a circular fashion up to the point where I want the armholes to start, and at that point I start knitting back and forth instead of around and around; finishing the front and back of the vest separately. I bind off the front and back shoulders together in order to form the shoulder seams. The neckband and the armhole bands are made by picking up stitches and knitting with smaller circular needles. I do not need to use a sewing needle for anything, except for weaving in the loose ends. When I finish binding off, I am finished with the project, unless I decide to unravel it and start over.
Knitting never fails to intrigue me. Fabric is created just by wiggling knitting needles to pull loops of yarn through other loops of yarn. I like the feel of wool, cotton, and mohair, and the changes in texture that occur as a result of knitting in various patterns. I have skeins of yarn stocked up in baskets and it makes me feel secure to know that yarn is waiting for me. I feel the same way about all the books we have in our library!
I am sure that someday I will read a human interest story about the first piece of knitting done while in space. Once a space station is established, someone will bring their knitting up there; not because they are bored, but to bring a bit of comfort and home along with them into a strange territory.
"Knitting on the Moon" was first published 1990 in Remnants.


Emily P said...

Oh How pretty! I can't wait to dig mine out and wear it once it is cold enough here! And, yes, we think you're weird but not because of that!

Astrid said...

Toni! How could I not know who you are?????

Actually, we met many years ago in Tahlequah when Mark & Jean were living there and my Mark was finishing up school at OU. That was a lifetime ago.

Nice to hear from you! You crack me up with your comments!

Margaret said...

Toni, I love this about knitting. This past summer when I was ponderously pregnant and we were facing heart surgery for Jon, I'm sure that knitting is one of the huge things that kept me ... okay. I brought my knitting to every single doctor's appointment. I knitted through echocardiograms. I asked all my carefully researched questions over the click of bamboo needles. And as soon as he was off bypass (I had to have a Really Hard Project for that, so I took apart and repaired my laptop during the actual surgery) I knitted for pretty much nine days solid while he was in the hospital. Two sweaters and most of a huge scarf later, Jon is beautifully recovered, and the world is a warmer place for it. Knitting is truly a calming, soothing, and centering activity that I am GLAD for.

GoldenTracks said...

Diane referred me to this post so I could see your beautiful collie shawl. I am considering having her spin my golden retriever fur.
So nice to read that someone else has the same feelings about her knitting and her dogs. I do obedience too. :=)