S said, “Finally you’ve got drawn right back to doing what all women in your clan do.” There’s a lot of exaggeration in that — my mother knits, so do my two older sisters. It’s true they make up four-fifths of my family, but they are hardly the clan.
When I was a child, everybody knitted or crocheted — aunts, teachers, my mother’s friends, the woman who manned the newspaper stall, — and then, as the years passed, the knitters and the crocheters slowly, one by one, dropped out. These days, if I pull out my knitting in a public place, inevitably, someone will ask, “What are you knitting?” It is almost like knitting has become an esoteric art, only for the initiated.
I knit to give myself a task to calm my overactive mind. The need to focus shuts out the busyness. L, who is a fantastic knitter, likes to try out different stitches. I look for patterns which experiment with shapes and the assembly of the different pieces. I find that more interesting. Of course, not being a very good knitter, complicated stitches can be a problem for me. If i make a mistake, I often have to go back and unravel the whole thing because I may not have a clue how to go back a row or two to correct it. Although every project that I choose has to have new elements in it — it may be using a different kind of yarn or making bobbles or doing colourwork, I see the acquisition of new skills as a measurement of my progress as a knitter.
Ultimately, I like making garments which are unique, which, at a glance, will say to people, that has to be handcrafted and cannot be purchased in a store. That, to me, is the only point of taking on a craft. I don’t aim to make pieces as good as what one sees in a shop window, I just aim to be different.