Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why I Knit (my dirty little secret)

(staring out my kitchen window, pondering the true nature of knitting)

During my 45-minute walk to the gyno yesterday, I was thinking about the reasons why I knit. Sure, I've read others' reasons for their knitting obsessions (like her, and her, and her, and him), but why do I do it?

I don't knit to be generous; besides the no-brainer beanies I always keep on the needles to donate to my local disc golf club for tournament prizes, I am loathe to knit for others. I prefer to hoard all my pieces for myself (greedy, greedy, my 7th deadly). It's not for the challenge, because I often choose simple projects. Nor solely for the beauty of the yarn, or the finished objects, or the wonderful tactile sensuality of the fiber as it passes through my fingers. It's not even just for the attention wearing one of my handknits garners; give me a compliment on one and I'm as happy as a Nabisco salesman at a bulimics convention (ooh, did I just say that out loud? I am so naughty!). Sure, that helps, but that's not the whole of it. I knit for the drugs.

Yes, you heard me. I. Knit. For. The. Drugs. No, no not those drugs! Well, o.k., I've been known to tie one on now and then while knitting. See Purl 'n Hurl. And I'm not against this to loosen up the knitting flow on occasion. But I'm talking about the wonderful soup of happy juice that runs around in my brain when I knit. The rhythm of knitting, similar to meditation, stimulates the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin (an opiate-like hormone produced by the brain using that ol' sleeper, turkey-day tryptophan that helps maintain a feeling of happiness and calm), and dopamine (which makes people less excitable and more talkative -- me! me! me!), as well as endorphins (the pain-killer of the brain, more potent than morphine). So you see, knitting makes me high! Look, I did learn something in graduate school!!

So, go ahead and keep knitting your charity blankets, and your political potholders, and I'll keep doing drugs, thankyouverymuch. (I do those other things, too. My soul is safe).


And speaking of the knitting front, progress is being made despite my lackadaisical efforts. Although my energies have of late been directed a disproportionate amount of the time toward pimping Velma's World and Purl 'n Hurl Blog, I have managed to squeeze in some quality time with my needles. A foray into town two days ago produced the much-needed 24" Size 11 Addi Turbos (de rigeur in my world); their acquisition allowed me to pick up stitches on the Bobbles, Bobbles Everywhere bag I'm making for the Noni-along. This is my first forray into the wide world of felting, and I'm hooked before the suds hit the sides; I lurv, lurv, LURV knitting on 11s! It goes so fast, it's over before you know it. And the Cascade 220 is such a comfy yarn to knit up; billed as "the perfect felting yarn," it's springy and soft and very forgiving, making my stitches look tidier than they really are. I'm about halfway up the side of the bag, with another 25 rows or so to work on at PnH tonight.

The mohair fez for the Vintage KAL continues to be a joy to knit. The Alchemy Promise yarn is the most scrumptious, softer than any other mohair I've run through my greedy little fingers besides maybe Rowan's Kidsilk Haze, and is much easier to frog than I've heard the Haze is. (Purl says knitting Promise "is like working with cotton candy," which doesn't sound like much fun to me but sure conjures a picture, eh?) And I finally figured out what the petersham ribbon is called for in the pattern: it's a heavier, cotton-blend ribbon similar to grosgrain that can be shaped; it's used in millinery as an internal stabilizer/sweatband. One of my LYSs even carries it (surprise!), but didn't have any in a complimentary color, so I've got to get on about ordering some online.

The Humbert Humbert Pig's Ass potholder for the Knit the Classics Lolita-along is ready to be assembled. I've chosen a second small project for this KAL to represent Lolita: a slice of cherry pie, pattern from PieKnits. (Check out her site; she has other great free patterns, too). Picked up some Cascade 220 in 9404, a nice cherry red; waiting for the crust-colored to arrive this week. I also came home from my Arcata-run with the next 3 books for the knitalong: The Traveller's Wife (not really a classic, I'd argue, but looks interesting), Gulliver's Travels (haven't read since high school; looking forward to the re-read), and Frankenstein (love the backstory, which involves a nightmare, a volcano, and a contest; can't wait to rent Gothic, a Ken Russell film about that summer in Geneva).

Knitting has slowed on the Hoodie, as I await the Sep. 1 start date of the KAL; I'm so far ahead of the other KALers I'm letting that project languish, just picking it up when I get stuck or bored on the other projects.


  1. Anonymous10:44 AM

    That is the funniest fucking thing I have ever read about knitting.

    Stay groovy.

  2. so glad it amuses. you just never know when tongue-in-cheek will read as foot-in-mouth or head-up-ass.

  3. Thanks for putting in the link to "the volcano"...quite interesting! I dinnint know!

    I saw Gothic years ago at the Arcata theater...the bizarre miscarriage scene is still firmly attached to my grey matter and sometimes comes out at inappropriate times...wink...wink....if you get my gist...a real gross out.

    Shortly after seeing the movie I went out and found a beautiful volume containing both Frankenstein and Dracula


  4. I crochet for the same feel good reason, however, I don't hoarde. If it's something for ME, it's for me, but generally speaking, I love making things for others. At the moment, I am working on bag #5 of 10 for my mother in law to take back to India with her when she leaves in November. The nicest touch is when I use yarn which friends have given to me as gifts... it's a gift that keeps on giving, IMHO.

    For me, I sometimes think or compare the "zone" I get into, as similar to the meditative aspect of doing a rosary. Each stitch, each knot, each time the yarn moves through my hands, I am thinking of the recipient of what I am making, and hoping she enjoys it as much as I am enjoying envisioning her enjoying what I'm making...

  5. maven, thanks for your thoughts on the topic. i'm sure you noticed that i was being fairly light in this post, and that i do really knit for others. "drugs" was something of a metaphor here for the meditative state you are describing. but i likes me endorphins, too!


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