Monday, March 12, 2007

The Zen of Knitting

If I were to read the title of this post somewhere on the web or in a magazine article, my eyes would probably roll to the back of my skull as I shook my lace chart in the author's face, crying, "Does this look relaxing to you?!"

The trend toward comparing knitting to yoga, or meditation, or touting knitting as a form of self-help or therapy, always seemed to be fairly ridiculous. Perhaps if someone who was familiar with the craft decided to make something simple--a garter stitch scarf in a plain yarn--then that experience would indeed be easy and relaxing and "centering." But I've always failed to understand how painstakingly following a lace chart, discovering a mistake five rows back, and ripping out hours of work helped one achieve inner peace.

At the same time, knitting helps keep me sane. Long car rides without knitting or movies without knitting make me squirm. If my purse doesn't have a knitting project in it, then I'm prone to grumpiness when situations require waiting. And conversely, knitting during those in-between times reminds me of the joys of handicraft. Standing at the airport, knitting socks while waiting for someone to arrive--I'll remember that whenever I wear those socks. If it's in a doctor's office and all the appointments are pushed back, then I can be productive and avoid the decaying issues of Time from 2004.

Even though I will laugh at those who embrace knitting as the new yoga, or because it is trendy, or because some actress took it up, I can appreciate the attractions of something as simple as two needles and yarn. It can be as complicated or as simple as I desire, and that is beautiful.

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