Thursday, January 26, 2006

coming to terms

Since I've become a bit obsessed with the Yarn Harlot and the Knitting Olympics, I decided to pull her book off my shelf and read it again. I came to realize something very important about knitting in general.

Let me explain.

Here is one of the quotes from the book, and the insight the Harlot provides (I hope she doesn't mind, you can buy her book here, and I highly suggest you do. It's brought me joy and a great many laughs):
There is no right way to knit; there is no wrong way to knit. So if anybody kindly tells you that what you are doing is "wrong," don't take umbrage; they mean well. Smile submissively, and listen, keeping your disagreement on an entirely mental level.
- Elizabeth Zimmerman

If you knit long enough, you will discover that no matter what your style or expertise is, there is another "expert" who is convinced you are doing it wrong. She will believe this despite the fact that you are both producing beautiful knitting.

I will remember that individuality is a good thing, in life and knitting.
I thought of my mom when reading that page from the book. In fact, I've been thinking about my mom and her knitting ever since she learned how to knit. Honestly, the way she knits annoys the crap out of me. She holds her needles funny. She buys obscenely priced yarn because she is retired and she can afford it. She pays no mind to the fiber content - acrylic,'s all the same to her. She'll never have a stash because she has a project (namely - a garter stitch scarf) in mind for every ball or skein she buys. She never ever has more than one project going at once. She knits slowly and can't really talk and knit at the same time.

Here's the kicker. She knits because she likes to knit! How can I judge her? She's doing it for the same reason I do it! Even so, we're completely different. I can't help but buy wool or other natural fibers because they're just so yummy. I hold my needles properly. I have a large and growing stash because I can't help myself. I buy yarn without an intended project in mind. I hate making scarves. I have unfinished projects all over the damn place.

I will remember that individuality is a good thing, in life and knitting. I will never again give my mom knitting advice or try to tell her to do something differently. I will embrace that we have a common hobby that we can chat about. I will hope the next time we go to the Wooly Lamb together, she'll buy me some yarn.


Sarah said...

mothers and daughters, man.

Knit Wit said...

If you like that quote, you should read the book from which it comes, Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears.

I simply adore her, a brilliant, witty woman, and her patterns are as useful today as ever, because they are infinitely adjustable.

How funny, I just read that quote this very morning. It must be good karma :)