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 beginning. 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.