I was going to write a super serious post about knitting. There was going to be a deep metaphor running all the way through; it would culminate with my thoughts on important things and parallels to every day life. But let’s face it, someone’s written that post – or book, honestly – and probably done it better. Unless you’re looking at this book (which is actually probably worse than what I would write), but I digress.
I picked up knitting in the midst of a long car trip to a college friend’s wedding in mid-March, teaching myself to cast on in the backseat of a small Honda Civic packed with 4 people (including my 6’7” husband). Once I returned home to the safety of My Chair, I expanded my skills to knit stitches and purl stitches. Before I knew it I had an almost-finished 3-foot long green-and-white-striped scarf in my possession, which I used to practice weaving in ends and casting off.
The dropped stitches and twisted yarn in the final project were, in my opinion, pretty noticable – aren’t they always to the artist’s eye? – but regardless of the mistakes, I had completed my first knitting project. Now who wants a sweater?
Okay, so I’m not quite ready for anything more advanced than scarves yet. A few more of these bad boys and I’ll be ready to move on to socks, fingerless mittens, maybe the leg-warmers I’ll be adding to my hipster Portland wardrobe. But it feels pretty darn good (ha! knitting pun) to be able to take a super long string that isn’t anything and turn it in to something useful and wearable and, dare I say, pretty.
I mostly picked up knitting in the midst of that trip as a means of escape. It’s hard to spend 6 hours in a small space with 4 people and stay engaged the entire time. Similarly, it’s hard to live in a city when you know your departure is imminent – staying engaged with the people you love (and are leaving) makes your heart hurt after each and every interaction. It’s easier to lose yourself in the rows and rows of stitches needed to complete such a huge project than it is to continue bonding with people that’ll be in a different state from you in just 8 weeks’ time.
Knitting has become a soothing (and lengthy) escape from the loneliness I feel each and every day, knowing that I’m leaving behind the only place and people I’ve known in my adult life for good. I can’t take them with me, and making more memories and sharing more experiences is making it that much tougher to leave. Finishing that first scarf was kind of the same, though on a much smaller scale – that feeling of, Well that’s done, what do I do now? only lasted about a day. Then I invested in some more skeins and moved on to my second project (pictured above). I know when I move I’ll think about what I left behind constantly for a while, and then I’ll settle into a new routine in a new place with new people, keeping in touch with those that are still here over visits, holiday cards, and babies. But it’s still hard knowing that I’m leaving the comfortable little life I’ve built here behind.
At least when you’ve finished a scarf, you can take it with you.