Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pleasures of the Hand

I have taken up knitting again -- something I delayed for fifty years because I was afraid I would not remember how. Yes, I knitted when I was an exchange student in a small Norwegian town, but I did not actually learn to knit. Every girl and a few of the boys knitted all the time, everywhere, and so it was a no-brainer for me to hand any problem I created for myself over to the kid sitting next to me. To really knit again, to really create a textile, I would have to do some learning, and, because I prefer to do everything perfectly the first time, I put the project off.

Luckily for me on a visit to Cleveland, the seduction of the yarns at Liz Tekus' Fine Points, proved to be no match for the habits of my ego, and I began to teach myself from books and on-line videos. The allure of holding and manipulating yarn is so compelling and delicious that I have been trying to figure out why I do it.

I know some knitters are in it for the creation of objects, and some perhaps for the challenge of patterns and structures. For me, it is the feel of silk or wool or cashmere or alpaca or merino between my fingers, in that sweet V between digits that is so sensitive and always available. As I child, I slipped my hair through that intersection for comfort and pleasure, and I have seen my mother and my grandchildren do it.

The act of knitting has many attractions --- gorgeous materials, visual construction, the emergence of pattern, the sound & action of needles, and the capacity to make something while talking and listening to others. Who knew it was also so sexy?

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