Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Knitting & Memories & Letting Go

Today, I had a lot of time to think about knitting (yes another slow day at the office, don't let anyone every let you think clinical research is always action packed), and I thought I would share two musing I had.

The first one was something that had been rolling around in my head for a while, but Brenda Dayne's latest podcast on Cast On really brought it to light. Brenda talked about memories and knitting and how the objects we make retain a part of the life we were leading when we knit them. In some ways I had to agree with her, if I pick up any of my scarves and hats, I can remember vividly where I bought the yarn, where I was sitting when I was knitting the object, and how I felt about the object when I was making it. At the same time though, I do not remember any other memories when I look at my knitted things. I don't see my hats and think of GRE stress or see my scarves and think about all the self-doubt I had about myself when I applied to graduate school. To be honest though, I am glad that I look at my scarves and hats and only remember knitting them and nothing else.

This leads me to my second musing: When is a knitter ready and willing to give knitted objects away and knit objects for the express purpose of giving them away? Let me address the issue that I just mentioned in the last paragraph. I really like to knit. I associate knitting with being happy and relaxing. I have been knitting for a little over a year now I am somewhat timid of knitting something and knowing that I am going to give it away, or even worse, that the relationship with the person will change while I am knitting the object and I will will always have a reminder of the person or of an event (for example, knitting a shawl for a friend's wedding that doesn't end up taking place).

Also, who really deserves a homemade object? While knitting at the medical clinic and waiting for potential participants to come to their doctors' appointments (people! please come to you appointments!), some of the nurses started telling me that they want me to make them scarves. I really like these women. They are nice and treat me well; however, the more they push for knitted goods, the more disinclined I am to make them something. I keep wondering if they will appreciate the object. Will they look at it and see the time and energy spent on each stitch?There are people who I could knit something for and would appreciate the handmade aspect of it, because they themselves are craft people and understand the effort involved in making an object, but there is still the question will you be happy that you sent your object to a far away place?

I should also mention that everytime I show them a finished object, the first words out of their mouths is, "How long did it take you to make this?" This question is really offensive to me. Part of the reason is that I am a slow knitter and I am self-conscious of my speed. The other reason is that knitting is my creative outlet. This questions completely ignores the artistic expression that is in one's knitting. If I was knitting for the sole purpose of clothing my family, then sure, asking for the length of time it takes to finish something makes sense, but I am not doing that and they know that. I am making a fun fur scarf. :)

So after thinking about all of this, I keep asking myself, am I ready to start knitting for others? Am I willing to associate the knitting objects with potentially negative memories? Am I ready to give my knitted objects' homes that won't necessarily appreciate them even when I screen the recipients as much as possible?

Image hosting by PhotobucketWow, that seemed like a downer. Here is a picture of the dish cloth, I finished yesterday. I am almost done with the second one, so I will post that one tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, my brother is coming to visit me! Well, actually, he has Easter break and he got kicked out of the dorm, BUT he is coming to see ME and not my parents! Yea! Hopefully, I can convince him that we need to go to Boston, so I can take pictures of my knitting with the penguins at the New England Aquarium.

I also want to give a shout out to Theresa. Yes, you were right. "All hail great Theresa!" :)


Knitting Television:
Twin Peaks (Season Two, the crazy episodes, you know what I am talking about)

1 comment:

  1. Cute - thanks!

    Very thoughtful, interesting post. Don't make scarves for random work people. So not worth it.

    As for memories, I have a pair of socks that remind me of slides of thyroid glands. Every time I put them on. Only three years later. Still. Ah, first year of med school.