Work, eh?


I suppose that if I had to knit or weave for a living, I might really be looking forward to a spot of graphic design of an evening. After all, I used to draw and paint for fun, but after 15 years of doing it to deadlines I’m less inclined to think of these as pleasurable. But as things stand, InDesign and Pshop are work and playing with string is fun. I am eternally indebted to the re-enactor friends[1] who introduced me to tablet weaving, which led me to the Handweaver’s Studio in London, which offered the course that introduced me to Melanie Venes, who teaches loom weaving, which inspired me to look for yarns for a scarf. Thanks to the internet I found… a new world.

I stopped knitting about 20 years ago, smothering everyone I loved in aran sweaters so structurally cabled they’ll stand up by themselves before finishing in a brief flurry of knitted lace doilies. I’ve still got two half-finished sweaters in bags stuffed behind the couch (I am so glad that knitting blogs tell me I’m not the only person in the Universe with unfinished projects), one an attempt to inspire me to patience or something, a sweater in some extremely soft Rowan cotton mix so fine and complex that each row of the back took an entire evening. And there’s an indigo cotton cabled sweater in there as well. It might be lovely if it’s finished when it’s finished, but it smells of indigo and leaves blue everywhere. And that’s how things stood until about a month ago, when I lost an entire day stunned by the beauty of the yarns flashing onto the monitor, not to mention the fabulous things people are making with them. And Addi Turbo needles. So… I bought some Colinette ‘Giotto’ cotton/rayon in Jay to see if it was as beautiful as it looked onscreen ( it’s even better in real life, because it’s real) and started again, taking the opportunity to force myself to learn to knit *properly* like, holding the yarn in a way that makes it easier to keep a reasonable tension. And as soon as I started to cast on I realised I’d missed it, this convenient, portable way of transforming string into things. Freezing its potential into one of a myriad possible forms.

Currently reading: Cosmonaut Keep, Ken Macleod

[1] The Society for Creative Anachronism is one place to find an explanation, although the people I know aren’t members. If you’re in the UK, the Templar’s Fayre at Cressing Temple Barns, Essex, 6-7 May 2006 will give you the chance to see and feel more. Come and be lured into Living History, just as I was 🙂

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