Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Knitting for Dyslexics (revised 2010)
Forget the Prozac or your prescribed 20 minutes of 'sun time' outside each day or the damned "happy lite" - the answer is Knitting, folks! You see, as I learn the ancient art of knitting, this skill has kinda taken over my life and my home. Wherever there's a nice sitting area on the couch you'll probably find some yummy yarns strewn around attached to a pair of 'needles'. Don't worry, they won't bite - they are pretty dull. Wonder why they call them 'needles' - they are more like 'chopsticks'.
For one to begin a knitting project, one must find a pattern for their skill level in order to purchase the correct yarns, the correct 'chopsticks', and any other accessories one may need for their desired item. I noticed the 'advanced' designs, the 'moderate' designs and the 'easy' designs, but what about the 'dyslexic' designs? You see, I'm the person in your Sunday morning Yoga class who goes left when you are to turn your body into a pretzel going 'right'. I'm also that person in your Zumba dance/fitness class who will sashay right into you when not recalling in a split second where my 'other left' is and land on top of your manicured toes.
Even my normally very supportive husband looked at me with my new project and all it entailed and sighed, deeply. No matter, I was determined to learn this skill of women of the frontier, women of the Victorian age, women of the craft! Heck, men used to knit their own socks, so why couldn't I learn this?
Knitting my first project with my sister in law started out well, until I noticed that her knitting was perfect and even and mine looked like a screen shot from a bad Tetris game I had just lost. My edges were ragged, uneven and not at all like the perfect little photo in the knitting book I had just purchased.
"Frog it," she would say without looking up from her knitting project, meaning: unravel that horrible mess before someone sees me helping you. And frog it I did, and fast. I became really good at frogging and rolling up the balls of yarn for their next project while watching everyone else knit.
At the local library I found a book called 'Freeform Knitting' and my heart leaped for joy. Just reading this book confirmed what I thought was a dyslexic defect in my learning of the skill of knitting - not everyone goes by a pattern...or maybe they start off that way, but then find their own style and let it flow into something beautiful. There was no math in this book, no measurements, no real instructions actually - just visualise what you want to create and knit it! I'm a creative person with a need to do something with my hands every ten seconds, so why not? I could do this!
My first few creations were horrible and amazing creations - but I did get the hang of this Freeform Knitting thing and rather enjoy it and came up with tons of interesting ideas, some better than others. It was the joy of the actual knitting that kept me going, and of course, the occasional item that someone would ask me for once they saw me wearing it.
Now, as I knit, I think about the ladies who write down the patterns as to what they are creating for contests, calendars and published books about how to knit. My goodness, that sounds like torture - like an Algebra pop exam - the annual visit to the doctors - just not something that's fun to do or even remotely appealing. But, even now, as I knit myself to sleep tonight, I think of these ladies who must count all of their stitches. Mark their stitches, drop every fourth stitch on the alternating rows. Picking up a stray stitch after frogging away most of their creations, using a computer to compute the most accurate pattern for their dog sweater.
I think of them AND their perfect little worlds, the clean bonus rooms, clean and polite children lined up properly at the dinner table waiting for the freshly made nutritrious and wholesome meal and the newly brushed cat sprawled out in the sun on the family welcome mat near the front door (that was knitted with recycled Safeway grocery bags) and wonder if they ever do anything 'not by the book'.
I'm certainly not a 'by the book' kind of gal and neither is my home I keep or my knitting. I rather like it this way, a bit backwards, thrown together with some creativity and the results are one in a million - amazing, fun and most of all, a part of me given to someone I love.
There, that's my 'pattern' for knitting and for my life. Hope you can understand it and maybe enjoy it.