Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cast On Knitting Scout Blog Challenge: Homecraft

Please note, I am not entirely sure if this is how Madam D wants the Knitting Scout Essay submitted, but here it is all the same.

Knitting to keep warm. Traditionally, this is the reason that people knit, I guess. When most people see knitting or think of it, they think of mothers knitting socks for their children, wives knitting ganseys for their husbands, aunts and grandmothers knitting mittens and hats to keep their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren warm. When most people think of the recipients of knitting, they see children out in the snow, brightly colored hats with those pom-pom tops weaving in and out of snow-ball fights, pastel scarves flying behind ice skaters. Grown men talking at the corner, clad in cabled, cream colored sweaters.

Perhaps this is the cause of the number one question people, especially transplants, ask me. “This is Florida, why the heck do you need to knit?!?!” I’ll admit, it was a little awkward this summer, knitting a bright wool scarf in 98+ degree heat. The humidity does make working with almost any material out of doors unbearable unless it is below 80 (commonly known to us natives as “cold weather”).

Those people, I guess, think that the only definition of warm has to do with the temperature. I knit to keep others warm on the inside. One of my first projects was to knit my mother a beanie baby sheep I found in a children’s book, to keep her pig and duck company. I then designed and knitted an 8 inch snowman out of fluffy white yarn as a present for my sister moving to college. My father, a traveling advertising coordinator, has a pair of socks that I made him. He may not always put them on his feet, but they keep out the chill of lonely hotel room nights.

I knit to warm up spaces. No matter how awkward my early attempts were, my mother takes my “learning lace” squares and puts them under knick-knacks so that they do not blend in completely with the shelves

I knit to warm me. Like many natural born fidgeters, life was full of frustration and destruction. Not only do I have a positive way to channel that energy, but a creative one at that. Long waits at the doctor’s office has yielded socks, scarves, even an afghan. Bank lines are no longer the enemy. I don’t weep when I have to wait in any line, for that matter. I rejoice, because now I can get a few more rows accomplished. Every time I bind off a project, I have pride that I completed a project.

Once in a while, a ball of wool does cross my path. I look up a pattern, knit away, package it off, and send it to a women’s shelter in North Carolina. And I remember, there is more than one way to warm someone up.

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