Sunday, 3 May 2009

There's a time and a place

Yesterday, I met up with several lovely people I hadn't seen for a while, first over a sunny lunch in Cambridge, and then at a belated birthday party in London. Throughout both events, and on the train in between them, I worked on this:

Actually, I took this photo a while ago, and unfortunately it's likely to be the last one for a little while, as I foolishly left my camera at home last time I was there. Anyway, this unpromising-looking purple lump is a whole lot further along towards becoming this - I'm doing the smocking at the yoke now. And yes, it's another Ysolda pattern. I just can't seem to get enough of her designs at the moment.

I was thinking about how much my knitting time has increased of late, perhaps since those couple of months  I spent researching in Italy when it was my sole companion. Gradually it appears to have infiltrated more and more parts of my life. This time last year, I don't think it would have even occurred to me to take my knitting on a plane, to a party, to lunch. Occasionally, I'd hear tell of people knitting at the table but I had no idea that I myself was on a slippery slope to becoming that obsessed. In fact, I chose this pattern in part because the body and the sleeves are fairly mindless stocking stitch, and so easy to do while talking to people, or travelling. I plan always to have a simple project like this on my needles, so I can do all of these things without having to hunch over my work, worrying about committing heinous errors - 'I can't talk! I'm counting!'. I find I can get an awful lot done in these little pockets of time over a cup of tea, waiting for someone to turn up, on public transport... Now I hate being caught out without my knitting during these periods; my fingers itch to be busy. I've been listening to No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald, a book filled with interesting snippets about knitters from the past, and there's a description of one lady who only stopped knitting once a week, to go to church, and who said it was all she could do to sit and not do anything for that long. It makes me a bit sad to think of all the time I wasted before I learned - just think of all the things I could have made by now...

My occupation drew a mixture of responses. It elicited the remark that forms the title of this post. I think some people were bemused, while some seemed rather impressed. One party-goer kept trying to ply me with drink, and I kept telling him that I was sorry, but I was doing smocking, a delicate operation not compatible with alcohol. Lots of people asked me to knit something for them;  I stuck to my current selfish principles. I was asked quite a lot how long it had taken me to knit this much, which I found a little tricky to answer. I know when I started it (about a month ago), but I've been working with it very infrequently, and have nearly completed something else in the meantime. Whereas normally I am eager to finish things, with this I was worried about running out of travel knitting. Now that the end is so close, however, I am quite keen for it to be done. I love seamless constructions, and the fact that when I cast off the final stitch I will be holding a recognisable cardigan as opposed to a cluster of dismembered pieces waiting to be sewn together.

1 comment:

  1. I used to knit on the way to college in London, sitting on the floor of the tube train. .... oh so long ago ..... And such brown yarn .....

    Have fun in Canterbury x


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