Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's not "just a scarf"

I've been working on a scarf for the past few weeks. But it's not "just a scarf."

It's a scarf that I started a little while back using the Malabrigo Silky Merino I bought last year. Lovely colours - I've been loving these skeins of yarn for such a long time. I thought long and hard about what to make with them. I finally settled on making a scarf.

So, I've been working on it, here and there, at work and at home. And I suppose that, if I'm going to knit in public, I'm going to invite comments. But I have to rant a little here.

It's not "just a scarf."

It's a scarf knit in plaited basketweave. That is not an easy stitch. If I were knitting "just a scarf" i.e. in stockinette stitch or garter stitch, I'd have whipped it off in a week, maybe even two days. Plaited basketweave goes like this:

Row 1 (RS): k2, *insert needle in back loop of second st on left needle, k and leave on needle. Then knit the first st, then slip both sts from needle together; rep from *, end k1.
Row 2: p2, * skip next st and purl the second st, then purl the skipped st, then sl both sts from needle together; rep from *, end p1.

That ain't no stockinette stitch. I had to watch a video to figure that one out.

It's a scarf made with silk AND merino - made from a miracle worm and a a regal sheep. Soft, spun in single ply, beautiful stitch definition, drape and sheen. I chose that stitch to show it all off - a shimmering, cloud-light, yet drapey scarf. It wasn't cheap - it was an investment of money to produce something truly beautiful. And mine. And it's perfect.

It's not "just a scarf."

It's my scarf. Beautiful, made for me, for me to admire on cold, sunny days, for me to revel in its luxuriant softness around my neck, to contrast against my hair, to soothe my wind-chapped skin. Made from evenings of dreaming of the stitches that would work, of the way the colour may or may not pool.

That's what it means to knit or crochet. It's not just following a pattern and cranking out a piece. It's the thought and the hours of patiently moving needles and hooks in and out of loops of yarn to make something new. Something that exists because you exist. If I lived before the Industrial Revolution, I'd feel the same way - I'd choose yarns that I could afford to make things for me and the people I loved, and I'd put my whole bloody heart and soul into it.

It's never "just a scarf/hat/sweater/pair of mittens." That's me you're talking about.

Come on, Muggles. Get with it, already.

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