While acquiring my 40″ size 1 Addi yesterday (so that I could start Ben’s socks), I chatted with the owners of the LYS and a customer who came in, and first, told them about my favorite way to knit socks — 2 at a time on 1 circ, judy’s magic cast-on, increase either side of the toe, short row heels (wrapped, yo, or sherman), and long cuff– and I told them that the starting of a project is the most fun for me. The item is still just a possibility I’m working toward, and I think that’s what leads a lot of us to having “startitis”, or starting bunches of projects and losing steam on all of them at once.
I hadn’t thought about how much I loved starting a project, even as I started the toes last night (I’m up to 32 sts on each side of the sock, 4 rows left of the toes). I love the possibility that this sock, hat, etc. will be really really cool looking, and I love trying to visualize what a charted or printed pattern will look like in the yarn I’ve chosen. The rows before the heel I spend thinking about which heel I’m going to use, and the rows after the heel and before the end of the sock, I think about what treatment I’m going to give the top of the sock. 10 rows of 1×1 ribbing? 8 rows of 2×1? 20 rows of stockinette to curl delicately over the top? 2 rows stockinette, and a picot bind-off?
Until the last stitch is knit, and the last stitch is cast-off, there’s still a possibility for change, for the pattern to grow, for the sequence of knits and purls to end up as something else.
What we’re doing isn’t just knitting, it’s collapsing all of the possibilities into one reality. No wonder it’s hard work! No wonder each stitch we make toward the end goal is so hard to make!
Starting is the easiest part, the part with the most potential (as you start with JUST yarn and a needle or five), and it locks us into a set of possibilities. Thee most energy is expended in those first few stitches, no wonder it’s so exciting!
I think this is what is called “mindful knitting”, thinking about the process, thinking about how the process of creating affects us as we become part of it. Thinking about knitting is probably my favorite part of knitting, and it all starts with a single cast-on stitch. If you think about it, it’s amazing that what starts with a single stitch can become a sock, a hat, a sweater, a bowl, a mobius, a shawl, a washcloth, or… whatever your mind wants it to be.
This is why I knit. It’s a creative process, generating something from a bit of string and some sticks that wasn’t there before.