Sunday, October 29, 2006

Knitting Evangelism

I have a deep and incurable character flaw. I think that not only is it possible for everyone to knit, but that they would be happier if they did, and I do everything in my power to bring the power of knitting to every man, woman, child and genetically modified animal with opposable thumbs that I encounter. I have considered making up "learn to knit" kits with cheap needles and little balls of yarn so that when people come up to me and say "I wish I could do that," I can whip them out and say "Well now you can!" In fact the only thing that has prevented me from going through with it is that I can't stand the idea of someone learning how to knit on crappy needles and I can't afford better. Maybe I should write to Scacel and tell them that I could supply them with an endless supply of new knitters if they would supply me with several dozen pairs of 16" #8 better not, they might take me up on it.

Anyway, I have a friend...let's call her the terminal non-knitter, who blurted out within 10 minutes of meeting me (in a bar...where I was knitting a baby sweater for the viking nephew) that she was "not a fiber arts kind of person." She then went on to describe all of her fiber arts mishaps, how she's only used a sewing machine twice but has managed to sew through her finger, and break a needle which hit her in the cheek an inch below her eye. And about the repeated attempts that her mother has made to bring her over into the ranks of the knit-enabled, and how she finally gave up saying "maybe you're just not cut out for this..." So I of course thought to myself..."we'll see, we'll see...I give you 2 months before you're begging for it."

She held out though 5 months into our friendship she still hadn't so much as picked up a ball of yarn. It wasn't until I got her really drunk and let her wear the dreadlock hat that she finally broke down and said: "so how hard is it to make one of these things." Before she could sober up/change her mind I whisked her over to the LYS and loaded her up with yarn and needles and started her on her first swatch.

It's been three weeks now, and she has three inches of ribbing on a circular needle that is going to start sprouting little i-cords at any moment. I don't have to tell you how proud I am, I'm sure you can see the sparkle in my eye. There is only one problem.

She's having so much knitting related stress that I'm worried about her health. I think she suffers from the notion that if she doesn't hold on to her needles as hard as possible that the whole thing will unravel into a tangled mess of yarn that looks like something the cat chucked-up, and so she gets hand cramps. She's having dreams about being chased by giant knitting needles that "keep doing the wrong thing." I told her to take her ribbing off the needles and try it on the other day and she nearly had a heart attack...two heart attacks really, one after I made a throw away comment about how I thought the work she'd done so far "looked a little big," and one as she was slipping the needles out seeing all the loose stitches hanging out looking oh-so-frightening and unravelable. I'm torn basically. It makes me all gooey to see someone working on their first project, but at the same time I'm questioning a basically held belief...that being that everyone's life would be improved with the addition of some wool and a pair of needles.

I'm giving her another month and if she doesn't relax, I'm taking the needles away.

Ragnar...knitting cult recruiter


Imbrium said...

Eh...I say give it time. I'm pretty high-strung, and I usually knit crazy-tight, but I've gotten much better. It's only knitting...what's the worst that can happen?

Anonymous said...

you're a good friend
I have to admit that I too am on the same mission and have thought about hosting knitting clinics in my home, just so I would have more knitters around me