Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look Upon My Works Ye Mighty and Despair

It has come to my attention that I seem to, inadvertently, be intimidating other knitters on the Long Island Railroad.

On the way home from work one night last week I was knitting away on my current sock, listening to Game of Thrones on my ipod, and just before we got to Lynbrook station, the woman who had been sitting right next to me for the past 20 minutes or so suddenly started to talk to me. We had a very nice chat about a pattern that she had printed that afternoon (it was cute and I must remember to look for it on Ravelry), the difference between English and Continental styles of knitting (I favor Continental) and how old I was when I learned to knit (eight), all in about 30 seconds. Because 30 seconds after she started talking to me we pulled into her station and she jumped up and got off the train.

That was a little weird, I thought.

My mom figured she waited so long because she figured that way she could talk to me without me feeling like I needed to be polite and pay attention to her for too long. Okay, I can buy that - it's not like I walk around with a T-shirt that says "If I Minded You Talking to Me about Knitting and Spinning I Wouldn't Do It In Public"

It reminded me, though, of something that happened a few months ago. I noticed a woman getting on the train in Jamaica station and sitting in the seat facing me several days in a row. After a day or two, I noticed that she was watching me knit and did my little "Hi, yes I see you watching what I'm doing" smile. One morning, I noticed that she had yarn and needles in her bag and asked her about what she was working on. She sort of brushed it off and said something about not wanting to take out what she was working on because it wasn't as "nice" as what I was doing.

I thought at the time, and still think, that is a terrible reason to not take out your knitting.

Whatever it is that you're knitting - that's YOUR knitting. It only needs to be as "good" as you're happy with. If you're a beginner and you're just knitting a garter stitch scarf, that's great! Keep going, you'll get more experienced and more comfortable and when you feel more confident with your skills, you'll be ready to move on to something more challenging. And if you never have the urge to knit anything other than garter stitch scarves in your entire knitting career - that's great too! If garter stitch scarves are what floats your boat then that is what you should knit and you should never look at somebody else's knitting and think that it's any better than yours.

Hell, if I ever thought that way around my friend Lisa I would never knit another sock as long as I live. Her latest design is called Fronkenshteek and I still keep looking at it and thinking "what the hell?" I would love to get a look inside her brain someday and see what exactly is going on in there.

My point though, is that I didn't spring forth knitting lace and cables and fair isle. I started with the same wonky garter stitch scarf that you're knitting. It's taken a long time to get to the point where I am now, and I've enjoyed every minute. Also, when you see something that makes you think, 'Wow, that's incredible. There's no possible way I could ever do something like that so I might as well just stop knitting right now," you should just stop and fondle your yarn for a minute and then tell yourself, "Wow, that's incredible. I should give it a try one day!'

Maybe you should be careful about trying it on the Long Island Railroad, though. Apparently, my knitting can kick your knitting's ass.


Liz said...

This post needs a "love" button. I completely agree and in addition, find yourself a knit group, knitters. I know I'm a much better knitter than I was four years ago.

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