Knitting is good for writing

LikeWriting

Writing is like scrapbooking. This is what I thought as I began my latest knitting project this morning, a frilly little cardigan garnished with loops that form a fringe on the collar, sleeves, and hem. In between muttering imprecations as I manipulated the yarn around my finger which formed a third needle on which the loop was held, my third eye got going, too, and the mind began to juice up with ideas. That’s the beauty of knitting when your mojo is working.

I’m on a tight schedule for completing the cardigan. I signed up for it and paid good money for it – it being a “Finish a sweater in six weeks” class at my local knitting store. We were given a chart with deadlines for each week to ensure it becomes an FO – finished object, for those of you not in the know. I felt this was necessary because I had lost my knitting groove about a year ago, around the same time as I injured my knee AND decided to become a WRITER. Yes, I see you shaking your head thinking if you’re laid up with a gimpy knee knitting is the ideal activity. Yes it is, but so is writing, and I went with writing. I wrote a lot. Started this blog. Submitted some stories for publication, and had one published in a knitting magazine.

My yarn stash hangs out in my half of the bedroom closet where I see it every day, and every day I am reminded of all my good knitting intentions. Oh, I see those thoughts of yours again – “Susanne, just move the stash where you can’t see it.” I don’t because I’m lazy and I have a tendency to forget where I squirrel things. When we recently had new floors put in our bedroom, living and dining rooms, everything had to be shifted out of the closet and put somewhere else in the house. For weeks afterwards I couldn’t find my bathrobe. I discovered it a few days ago folded neatly in a box in the garage. Thankfully I didn’t lose the yarn stash so I put it back where it has always been.

As I often do with knitting patterns, heating contracts, and agreements with flooring installers, I did not read the fine print on the class I’d signed up for. The week leading up to the class I perused knitting websites and my collection of knitting books and patterns hunting for a project that would use some of the stash. I settled on working with a chunk of the chunky wool collection. I love chunky wool because it knits up fast and my aging eyes can see the stitches easily. This is what I brought to class along with a moderately exciting pattern done mostly in easy stockinette stitch.

Two minutes into the class I realized that I was not with the program. This was to be a knit-along with a prescribed set of choices. The teacher, who knows me, said, “Susanne, if you have your heart set on making something of your own choice, that’s okay.” I shoulda. I coulda. But I didn’t. I started looking at the pattern book and from there I slid into the giant happy knitting hole where new wool lives in pretty colours that are newer and brighter than what I’d brought from my weary, old stash.

We began. The contented chit chat of other knitters wove all around me. I felt folded into the fold again. I participated in conversations with strangers. I heard things that made me think “I should write that down. That’s a great line to start a story.” Knitting is good for writing.

But back to the LikeWriting1beginning. Why is writing like scrapbooking? As a writer, I eavesdrop on conversations, saving snippets for later just like when I used to be a scrapbooker. Sometimes I took pictures of my family with the scrapbook page in mind, considering the final product, gathering bits and pieces to make a story. See? It all makes sense in the mind of a knitter.

 

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33 thoughts on “Knitting is good for writing

  1. derrickjknight February 21, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Let’s hope nothing wound up under the new flooring 🙂

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    • Susanne February 21, 2016 / 11:08 am

      Remainders/reminders of good intentions best forgotten.

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    • Susanne February 21, 2016 / 11:47 am

      Well, that’s one way of looking at it! I’m not one of those efficient, high functioning folks that can take on a gazillion tasks and succeed. I’m more of a one-thing-at-a-time kind of worker.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cynthia Jobin February 21, 2016 / 12:21 pm

    I know nothing of social scrapbooking, but I certainly agree that knitting can be good for writing–at least in the meditative, musing, incubating stages. Knitting, in its repetitiveness is meditative to me…..a kind of quiet idiocy that allows the mind to wander and/or be quiet; it never commits you to anything more than a sock or a sweater, allowing you to rest from the need to make sense of your thoughts and feelings—whereas mental formality is something that writing ultimately requires.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne February 21, 2016 / 6:36 pm

      Yes, it is the meditating and musing stages that knitting is most beneficial for writing. All manner of things come to mind as I knit. Getting those thoughts into writing is sometimes a challenge but I find that repetitive activity does something to allow the thoughts to occur.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce Goodman February 21, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    I couldn’t think of anything worsted than knitting! It warps ones mind and is enough to make one weft. (Sorry that’s pinched from weaving). I think knitting for you serves the same function as gardening for me; I hate it when people come along and “clear the garden” in a hurry just to be helpful. A weed here, a weed there… then sit and look into space!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne February 21, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      As long as the knitting project is relatively straightforward it is relaxing. There is a fair amount of staring into space along with frogging and tinking. I like the sound of your style of gardening, Bruce although I think this current project is going to be speedier than I’m comfortable with.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. thecontentedcrafter February 21, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Oh, I so understand ……… big stash, lure of shiny new stuff, this pattern, that pattern………. Settle down and let the meditative space inspire – unless you decide to take on a lace pattern. [Don’t take on a lace pattern!] Lovely, new flooring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne February 21, 2016 / 6:30 pm

      I have mixed feelings about lace projects. I have had moderate success when the lace is a border but abject failure if the whole project is lace. I once attempted a feather and fan shawl that did nothing except further develop my already broad swearing vocabulary. As for the new flooring, it is so shiny and pretty – just like my new yarn!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wolfberryknits February 21, 2016 / 11:07 pm

    Love it. 🙂 except for the knitalong, which would make me too rebellious. 🙂
    I too often write with my lap top in front of me and my knitting in my lap for ‘pauses’ in my writing 🙂 (recently I have been trying the ‘standing desk’ thing with varying degrees of success, and knitting isn’t so compatible. Perhaps tap dancing.)

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    • Susanne February 22, 2016 / 6:36 am

      I have a standing desk at work and love it and I do knit standing up from time to time to give my back a rest. Knitting and tap dancing – now there’s a coordination challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa @ cheergerm February 22, 2016 / 12:49 am

    Whilst knitting is not for me, I totally get how meditative it can be having watched Mum knit for years. I find walking has a similar effect and lying there…not sleeping…as I often do.

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    • Susanne February 22, 2016 / 6:38 am

      Yes, Lisa, walking has that meditative aspect to it, too. It’s too bloody cold and snowy right now for much walking, too treacherous underfoot.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Andrea Stephenson February 22, 2016 / 6:58 am

    I don’t knit, but I can see how it has that flow that would give rise to writing ideas – and I’m with you on the scrapbooking idea – I have lots of scraps and snippets in my head and on paper, waiting to be made into stories.

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  8. exiledprospero February 22, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    You are onto something, Susanne. Knit one, purl two…and by the way, group, what are your thoughts on postclassical narratology? By dint of cleverly combining fancy stitching with loose talk on narratological subjects, a cardigan of semiotic, linguistic, and superwash wool can easily be made (and in just six weeks). Think of the efficiency. Think of the warmth on those cold winter nights, when that book you are reading just doesn’t want to adhere to your narrative expectations–your cozy, Gérard Genette cardigan will be there for you.

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      • exiledprospero February 23, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        That’s the trouble with knitting–not as relaxing as it seems.

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  9. dawnkinster February 23, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    I have two unfinished sweaters, started years and years ago. I hesitate to start anything else, and I really don’t want to finish those…so I am no longer a knitter. Maybe I should try something easy with chunky yarn (I don’t know that there was such a thing as chunky yarn when I started those sweaters)..so I could feel accomplished and finish something.

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    • Susanne February 23, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Chunky is the greatest wool ever invented and lace yarn makes me want to jump off a bridge. I had an unfinished object that I wanted to get done so I signed up for a knitting class to get me motivated. I still do knitting classes for the same reason and never regret them. Love the company and love the craft!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Luanne February 27, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    And your piece in the knitting mag is fabulous!!! Hmm, not persuaded though that knitting is like scrapbooking, but then wouldn’t you know better than I do since I haven’t knitted in 35 years? I did find that when I really went back to writing with a vengeance I stopped scrapbooking or even thinking of taking up stained glass again.

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    • Susanne February 28, 2016 / 12:39 pm

      Writing is a demanding mistress that’s for sure. I’m an intermittent knitter and I do find it is a great hobby for ruminating as Cynthia said. I avoid complicated patterns so I can easily get into the zone of thinking and knitting. But those are my two “things”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne February 28, 2016 / 7:50 pm

        She is, and she’s very unsympathetic, too.

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    • Susanne March 21, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you, Ade. I’m glad you liked this well enough to share – most kind!

      Like

  11. Manja Mexi Movie April 14, 2016 / 11:31 am

    > Submitted some stories for publication, and had one published in a knitting magazine.

    This made me chuckle. I feel that I wish to read everything you ever write.

    And I consider my blog my scrapbook too – here is stored everything that I wish to commit to memory and rejoice upon as I view back. Back in high school I always had a scrapbook, full of quotes, passages from books, poems, song lyrics, newspaper titles, what teachers said. One time I forgot it under my desk. The next day there was a new inscription in it: a boy who sat behind my desk in the afternoon shift, found it, read it and wrote: “Sorry for reading your scrapbook. Great thoughts.” He added three of his own favourite quotes. We wrote to each other for a while after that. I didn’t know him, there were not many occasions when the shifts came together. I only saw him once, years later, he turned out to be a good friend of my new college friend. Who sat in the same class back then, just a few desks away, oblivious that we would study together and become good friends.

    Well… so much about knitting. You know that it’s only the best ones who bring forth memories like that. 🙂

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    • Susanne April 14, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      See?! Knitting is good for everyone’s writing! Even blog comments! What a gorgeous memory. Do you still have your high school scrapbook? And thank goodness for bloggy scrapbooks that we share with the world. People’s lives are so interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Manja Mexi Movie April 15, 2016 / 3:22 am

        🙂 Indeed I have it right here. One day I will take photos of some pages and post them. Thank goodness indeed!

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      • Susanne April 15, 2016 / 5:34 pm

        That would be very cool! Do a story – do it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Manja Mexi Movie April 15, 2016 / 5:55 pm

        Thank you for your enthusiasm. I will put the idea in my drafts right now. 🙂

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