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Knitting - Qualified Perceptions
bluepapercup asked for an entry on knitting, so here are some thoughts, in rambling order.

First, I enjoy it a lot more now that it doesn't take that much concentration. Like any physical skill, it's a lot more effort when just starting up, and becomes more effortless as you get better at it. I'm still not that fast a knitter - I'm sure switching to contintental would help with that, but I'm just not willing to go through the long phase of being a beginner again.

I knit while watching TV, or at role-playing games, or while reading. Especially for things like watching TV, being able to multi-task like that is nice - I feel less like I'm being a complete waste of time if I'm being useful at the same time.

I like making things, especially complicated things or pretty things or interesting things or cool things or things that other people can't make. I do not always like having things in the same way - I would really love to make some of the more interesting crocheted lace doilies, or learn tatting, which makes even more interesting lace. But I do not actually need to have any doilies, and I'm not sure I know anyone who does want doilies, so I don't make them. (Am I mistaken? Do any of you out there want doilies? :) ) So I mostly make practical things, like socks and sweaters, or impractical things that other people want (like squid hats).

This ties into the other thing about things - I like presents. I like getting presents, and I like giving presents. So it's an excuse to give people presents all the time! (Well, not that all the time - as I mentioned, I don't knit that fast). Sweaters are generally too warm for me, so I have almost no sweaters that I've made myself. Happily, mjperson has a job that takes him into roofless buildings during winter, so he will take as many sweaters as I can give him.

Finally, I'm fidgety by nature. If I don't have something to do with my hands, I'll doodle or twiddle my fingers or bite my nails or something. So having something to do with my hand is calming, it fulfils my fidget instinct. Some people say meditative, but I don't think I'd go that far, but it's pleasant, and peaceful (except for discovering that I've made a mistake and having to fix it, which is not at all peaceful.) The tactile aspects and the aesthetic aspects tie in a little here - it's fidgeting in a physically pleasant way, or like I'm doodling artistically. So it's nicer than just making a mess with my pencil, or picking at my nails, or whatever other fidgets I could be doing.

Admittedly, none of this addresses something like "why knitting rather than crochet?" which may have been the particular point of curiosity. I think that's mostly function rather than form - crochet is better at structural, knit is better at clothes. So I've done crochet, like all the octopodes and the Titan afghan and so on, but I'm iffier on crochet socks or sweaters. And I'm not good enough to autopilot crochet yet.

7 comments or Leave a comment
bluepapercup From: bluepapercup Date: April 26th, 2012 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
This is so interesting, thank you! I can absolutely see how it would fulfill the fidget urge. I am a fidgeter too but I usually doodle, or recently an embarrassingly, play solitaire on my phone.

The part about MAKING also resonates with me. There is something so satisfying about creating...especially creating things that are functional!

My question was not knitting vs crochet but more of a "why fiber arts" general query. Thanks for the long answer, I love it!
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: April 26th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doilies can be starched into bowls, or pressed into clay, if you like.

I think crochet doesn't make very good socks, as it doesn't stretch the right ways, but it could make fine slippers.

Must fidget!
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 26th, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, perhaps you will get a doily for use in clay, then! :) After your squid hat (which is the next thing I need to get yarn for).

Edited at 2012-04-26 03:25 pm (UTC)
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: April 26th, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
How is it that you do not yet own a starched doily bowl? It would probably hold yarn nicely!

(I can also crochet doilies, and indeed have one sitting at studio waiting for me to take another try at using it to texture clay, so that's only something to do if you're particularly fond of that mode of decoration.)

I'd nearly forgotten about the squid hat ...
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: April 26th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are they actually sturdy enough to hold real things? I had been thinking of them as suitable for... very light wispy things, I'm not sure, :)

(the "I should get around to doing this" queue tends to move slowly, as things keep getting trumped by new babies or clamory people)
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: April 27th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know, I've never made one, but clearly I should try. :)
jaedian From: jaedian Date: April 29th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
My cousin is an avid crocheter. She made lots of lace - and she found cool uses for them. She does Xmas ornaments as gifts every year, and she used to lace doilies for angel skirts. I know she made lace bells and stiffened those as wedding favors for her sister's wedding. And a framed lace doilie could be neat, especially in a color other than white. Varigated? I have been trying to figure out how to crochet various flowers for hair clips with fine yarn/thread. Also I think lace edging atop socks for little girls is really cute! And I have seen the most amazing lace earrings, small lace patterns in colored thread, stiffened and used for earrings. Lots of ideas if you want to make something. ( I can send you a link to the earrings. - I certainly would wear some of those!)

I too am a fidgeter - I have to something with my hands. Now I knit, and before (and still) I did beading. I too love to feel productive during otherwise "wasted" moments. I am less crabby when forced to wait at the Dr.'s say, if I can work on a project! And I do find it meditative, I think it is the repetitive nature of it - I didn't realize that until I wasn't doing it for awhile and was feeling very stressed!
7 comments or Leave a comment