Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Knitting Art

It occurred to me the other day that I'm an artist. Somehow knitting has not meant art to me. Growing up, I took art classes in high school and college, but nothing really grabbed my interest the way knitting has. Watercolors, ceramics and drawing never felt like something I was good at. My brother and sisters were always more artistic than I was, as far as I could see. Something about pulling yarn through loops with sticks just makes sense in my head. I love to watch the patterns emerge or the shape of a sock heel appear where before was nothing but sticks and string. Simple. To me anyway. Now that I'm older, I realize that I'm pretty good at knitting and anyway I really like to do it.

Some of my friends say they wish they could knit like me. I always think and say, "You can, it's easy." Maybe it's not as easy to them as I think, but really I can't think of a single reason anyone couldn't learn to knit anything they want with enough practice. Those who say they can't learn to knit, maybe haven't had good teachers or as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee says, "They're doing it wrong." :)

Almost any other art requires some kind of natural skill, an eye for what is pleasing to others. The only skill knitting requires may be an ability to put colors together and I know of one person who is an excellent knitter despite being a bit "color challenged". She still knits beautiful things and I always love the colors she picks. So anyone can be an artist if they knit. And anyone can learn to knit. Kids can learn as early as 4 or 5 years old. I'm sure someone out there has taught their child at an earlier age than that. My only regret is that I did not learn earlier in life. I started around age 23 and some days lament all the lost knitting time I missed out on, not learning when I was young. I had grandma's who knit but they didn't think to show me how. Had I known how much I would love it I would have made them teach me everything they know.

All I know is, knitting fulfills a need in me to create something beautiful. Nothing else in my life fills that need so I knit. I knit when I'm sad, I knit when I'm worried and I knit to show my loved ones how much I love them. What other hobby has that ability? Each of my creations has a story behind them. I can pick up something I made and think about what was going on at that point in my life. They weave my life experiences into their rows as they grow. The purple shawl was knit many night shifts while I was waiting for a patient to come in and finished on my trip to Isabella to cross country ski with our good friends. I made socks for my dad for Christmas, all the while I thought about how much he would like them on his walks around the lake by his house and how much I love him. Maybe that is what makes it art for me.

Here's my three best creations and inspiration, enjoying a treat.

1 comment:

Your crazy old lady said...

Don't feel too bad about not having your grandmothers show you how to knit. They both knitted, as I was also taught, the English style. Continental is so much more efficient! For some unfathonable reason the Continental style was looked down upon as not as sophisticated. Go figure! So I should have you show Hannah how to knit, as I'm teaching her the slow way.