Monday, September 21, 2009

Knit-Along: Entrelac Scarf from A Tangled Skein - Day 2

Settling into Entrelac and A Very Big unsettling question

I’m about six rows into this--perhaps more than half a foot, and really enjoying it. I stumble every once in a while, forgetting which direction I’m going or if I’m supposed to pick up stitches by purling two together or SSK (we wont’ talk about the unfortunate rectangle where I got distracted and did both--ugly business fixing that error), but for the most part I can do this without having to refer to the directions. This makes for one of those valuable projects that looks impressive but is simple enough to be done in public--where, of course, other people can be impressed by it. Call me shallow.

You do a LOT of turning on this--every six stitches, mind you--so you do have to watch your elbow room. I felt a twinge of sympathy for my seat mate on the airplane (elbow room wasteland, as you well know), but certainly not enough to make me stop knitting. The directions tell me it’ll go much faster if I master knitting backwards, but I’ve yet to find someone who knows how to do it and has a moment or two to teach me. I may try to reason it out on my own on the flight home. I’ll keep you posted on that little endeavor.

Since I’m feeling brave this morning, I’m going to venture into a question that has been niggling at me for days now. Probably because a vast portion of the knitting I’ve done this weekend has been at a conference. I knit for pleasure, but I also knit for focus. In short, when I’m asked to sit and listen for long stretches of time (or, if I’m honest, even short ones), I will pay better attention if I am knitting. If I’m in your audience (or your meeting, or your study group, or your church service), I’m not knitting because I’m bored, I’m knitting because I’m interested in what you have to say and want to do my best at absorbing it.

Non-knitters don’t get this. I have gotten “how disrespectful” looks at graduation ceremonies (3 hours long in June with no air conditioning!), in classes, concerts, meetings, etc. At most of the conferences I attend--where my knitting obsession is relatively common knowledge--many people come up and say they’re glad someone else is knitting because now they can. Or how if they’d only have known they would have brought theirs. I’ve steadily become more comfortable knitting in meetings. And learn more because of it.

And then there’s church. I think the world just might be a better, holier, more compassionate, more peaceful place if knitting were welcomed in church. I’m toeing up to the idea of actively promoting this. After all, I run my church’s prayer shawl ministry, church is important to me, so it’d be a natural extension of my love of knitting. And--I kid you not--easily two dozen of the people I’ve talked to this weekend have brought up the subject with almost no instigation from me. So I’m getting the feeling Someone is trying to tell me Something.

What do YOU think?


Kimberly and Rufus said...

I crochet during our yound adult group meetings at church, but I wouldn't be able to focus on church as well if I was crocheting during the service. Since it helps you focus better, I say go for it!

Linda B said...

Well, I'm not sure I could go along with knitting in church. But all those other places, yes. I also knit through graduations and meetings and conversations and so forth. Normally I find that other women are okay with it. But since men typically aren't multi-taskers, they don't understand it. I once knitted through an important meeting, thinking that I was displaying my industrious nature, only to be told later that the men present were deeply offended by my lack of respect for them. They thought my knitting was sending the message that I was just blowing them off. So I try to be understanding of others' perceptions when I think about pulling out my knitting. I don't think I ever even saw you at the conference, by the way, though I read a zillion name tags!

jc said...

I knit in church -- I have for years, for much the same reason you bring up -- it helps me focus. I always bring either a prayer shawl (I lead the shawl ministry group at my church, as well), or one of our new projects, hats for kiddies at the grade school who forget theirs.

I have always asked my pastors if they mind before I do, though, and if ever one of them said it was unacceptable, I wouldn't. I always sit in the back corner, anyway, something I started doing long ago when I sang in the choir and had to bounce between sitting with my children in the pew, and singing in the choir loft.

Since everyone at church knows me as the shawl lady or the yarn lady, no one seems to mind.

Anonymous said...

I am happy for you feeling comfortable to pull out your knitting at all those places. I agree that it does help some of us knitters to focus. I tried knitting at a wedding once. It was my husbands side of the family, so I didn't know anyone. And I was bored because we got there so early. So I knitted up until the wedding started, but then I was too nervous to continue for fear of getting looked at the wrong way. If I ever knit at church my pastor would have a FIT. I have wished that I could sometimes when I am on a deadline with a project, but I know I would have everybody staring at me and probably at least 3 people would come over and tell me to stop. So I won't try that one...but I agree that non-knitters and non-multitaskers will not understand how knitting helps us so much.

Allie Pleiter said...

It's been an interesting discussion, hasn't it? I knit in Sunday School today, and like JC, everyone is so used to my knitting that no one seemed to even notice. I'm still not sure one way or another whether or not to knit during service--I appreciate all the varied comments and I'll keep dialoguing on that.

Camy Tang said...

How funny, my hubby and I were talking about my knitting in church today. I'd like to, but no one else does. I'd have to ask my pastor first. Not many people would notice me knitting, but I want to be respectful.

Diann Hunt said...

So cool to read your blog and the responses. I've been pulling out my knitting everywhere lately. It calms me and I feel like I'm not wasting time.

Okay, this may make everyone cringe, but I actually took my knitting in with me to a theater recently. The lighting wasn't bad so I was able to get quite a lot done while we watched the movie. No one was around me (except hubby), so I didn't distract anyone.