Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A yarn about hooks and needles

There is a ministry here at work church, called the prayer shawl ministry. It is an area of giving- through ministry, that is very well received and slides right into the swing of the popularity of knitting as the be all- end all today. Knitting for meditation, Knit Fix, The 12 steps and knitting , How I found romance by Knitty Purl. Lots of needle clacking going on these days.

The impact of the prayer shawl is pretty phenomenal. Imagine wearing a wrap that was created with love. There is every chance that it was created by a total stranger, as well. The wraps are blessed and delivered. It's neat. I think it is really really neat. Between the shawl activities and the sound of aluminum and bamboo needles clacking about around me, I succumbed and finally, the hobby sparked my curiosity.

I watched a friend come alive after her mom stayed up half the night working with her (quality mom/daughter time no doubt) teaching her to knit. The experience, for her, was restorative. I saw the positive energy flowing through her yarn. It was pretty amazing-but still, the two handedness of the craft was intimidating for me, so I hesitated casting myself onto the needles. I waited. I watched. I roamed through the yarn aisles at local stores and then I let a little time pass. One day, I woke up and said to myself, "Self, this is the day you will learn the art of crossing sticks ." I marched myself into her office and said, "Show me the way"

My friend showed me how to cast on and knit and I pretended to practice. I wanted to make my needles clack. My initial interest didn't really go much farther than needle noise; then I really did start practicing and still, months and seasons later, I am practicing. My practice project is big. BIG. Bigger than any shawl, and it's a recyclable project so really if you think about it, I'm helping the world. Who's to say my practice project isn't putting a chill on Global Warming in some small way? ( I don't think i would really say that it is but I wouldn't say that it isn't, either)

My recycle knitting works like this: I practice, pull it out, practice, pull it out, Breathe. Practice, pull out, practice, rip, no, pull it out, practice. Breathe. Practice damn it, poke, pull, practice and pull it out. There's meditation in repetition so I hear. The knitting did not awaken my meditative energy,however. That realization made me sad in my heart, so I set my needles aside for a bit .

During my initial knitting fiasco, I discerned that I wasn't too interested in making prayer shawls. Maybe I was concerned about what out- of- the -world- kinds of prayers might be inadvertently woven into a shawl created by me. I also decided I was more into socks or slippers. Better to leave the important warm and comforting work to my pals in the prayer shawl ministry club.

I remembered something. In the old days of yore , in another life, I crocheted. My grandmother taught me and I enjoyed it and I made all the granny squares for an afghan one summer. No, I never connected them. They are probably still in a trunk somewhere motheaten. I liked the mindlessness of the motion.

After recognizing I was knit-phobic, I pulled out an old crochet hook and tested the hook crook again. I have taken to my old friend, crochet, and am at the same time still sneaking in a few minutes of practice with the two needle challenge of knitting. Sighhhhh. I practice and it looks odd, and then I make my own self mad and go at it again as if the Yarn is argh arghing me. Maybe it is a challenge I can conquer. Maybe not. We'll see.

Crochet is so Melanie. The craft is forgiving, thank gosh. The stance of a crochet hook reminds me of someone looking at me and crooking their index finger as if to say, come here, and try it again. Read the directions and try again, it's okay. Crochet seems patient to me, and it's a pretty darn good thing, as I have made probably 8 or 9 slipper-like-objects following the same pattern and they all look different. Go figure. I think it is my signature. Inconsistency in production.

In the middle of this windstorm of interest in yarning, I became curious about felting, ( when you wash wool the fibers shrink, come undone, and intertwine with each other to become solid like a felt hat) so I made a slipper and felted it and it shrunk so much that I decided to call it a pot handle holder. I took it to church and it fit the pots I use just fine, so it is now Officially, a felted pot handle holder. I made a bigger one and the finished product wasn’t much better than my first try, so I decided it could be a ping pong paddle handlecover, and finally, with aggravation fueling my hook, I made a Gulliver size slipper-like-object however, unnoticed by me, I ended up using non-wool yarn, so it didn't shrink at all-and since I don't know anyone with a foot the size of my front door welcome mat I moved onto cat beds. Yes, Cat Beds. I am determined to complete something felted that is useful.

The first one, after felting, turned out just the right size to hold a small, miniature sized quadraplegic kitten; and the second one, well, it is now lining a basket that will hold my yarn. UNCLE, already. I'm giving up felting. It is neat but I can't gauge well with it, so maybe when I am saner, I'll give it another go. Or maybe not. It’s hard to say.

Back to slipper-like-objects............................

My next door office mate has been incredibly kind in my sudden efforts to interact with yarn. I completed my first crocheted slipper (-like -object), and it looked, no question about this- it looked like a fish. Not unlike the kind that could feed 5,000. A pointed nose, and wide open tail. I showed it to her and she is so tactful by nature that she didn’t miss a stitch. She responded with,“Wow”. One of my daughters offered to wear it, but she didn't ask me for another one to go with it so I'm not sure she was serious.

My second try produced something that was more slipper like than a fish, but not quite foot friendly. I showed it to my office sock/slipper supporter and she gave me the best response in the whole world. “ Oh!! You made another one!” I will love her forever for that acceptance. It was as if it was perfectly fine and normal to create one slipper- even though most of us wear two. Her encouragement empowered me to keep at it and I have now made, as I said earlier, 8 or 9. They look like cousins, but none are exactly the same. Most have a little spit of a backside sticking out of the heel. But when stretched over the foot, the poke -out disappears. I’ll admit it looks odd. My oldest daughter says it looks like a, well, like a tiny, gnomelike,well, penis. It hurt her to tell me, I could tell through her gasping laughter she was really torn about blurting out this horrendous observation. She waited for number 7 or 8 before she asked me,"Where is the penis on that one?" I thought iImis-heard her. I neatened up my latest yarn art, thinking maybe she couldn't see it well from where she was sitting, and out it popped. Oh, crud.

I think she was hoping I would give up the hook and move onto glue and scissors or something.

How inappropriate! How could this be?! I was, heck, I AM mortified. Sometimes the truth hurts. Who would wear a sock that has a gnome penis poking out the back of it? My daughter is painfully right. I’m a slipper -like -object-penis crocheter, I guess. How embarrassing. I can’t possibly become famous and have that in my collection. I refuse.

I’ll just have to keep working on the heel directions. It sort of concerns me to think that if I have one hook crochet penis issues, what will happen when I finally get the two needle knitting downpat?

My prayer for the day is this: Oh Dear God, I promise not to make slipper like objects for you if you promise to help me stop crocheting and knitting body parts.

All we can do is hope this prayer is answered, right?

Church Chick


"imagine the darkness in love with the light." said...

lmao...that's great. i am sorry to hear that you make such creations. but it's ok. there is a use for them and there is a place for them also. i am not offended. ^^ i am glad to hear that you are piocking up the old craft. knitting is not that hard. just intimidating. ^^ sorry about the spelling ^^;;

Churchrobin said...

In my old arty life I actually made one of "those" things from gold lame' which was then encased in an all white silk embroidered purse I named "Virginity bag." It sat on a pedestal in a chic gallery. We called it fiber art back then. It actually sold. If you line all your slippers up and call them fiber art, maybe that's the ticket?

I probably should have told you the story about the crocheted carrots I made instead huh?

We have a Prayer Shawl Ministry too. It's been awesome for the makers, the givers, and the pray-ers. It makes me weep to think about the healing that takes place on so many levels.