My daily knitting is usually accompanied by the radio or, more commonly, the TV. I snuggle up on my sofa – my “knitting nest” – and I knit while watching the tube. I find it soothing to have background sound while I’m knitting. Sometimes, whatever is on TV gets indelibly linked to whatever I’m knitting. It’s not unusual for a knitting project to bring back strong memories of watching a certain show or a compelling movie. In that way, I have knitting memories that are as potent and primal as smell memories.
But lately I’ve had bouts of silent knitting. A few months ago I started volunteering at the Almira Township Library. It’s a tiny enterprise, maybe 600 square feet of space; the books are not even catalogued. Two afternoons a week I sit at the desk and check out books for folks. It can be a long time between book check-outs. And it’s quiet.
Naturally I take my knitting with me, and I usually get quite a bit done. It’s been interesting to knit in silence these past months. I find myself getting mesmerized at multiple levels. Sometimes the feel of the yarn dominates. Or the color. Sometimes it’s the finger movements.
I can also get caught up in the relationship of stitches. What single stitch is in front of or behind or below or above the stitch I’m currently creating. Sometimes my mind is blown by the 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional nature of the fabric that is flowing off my needles. I get dizzy and thrilled by all the relationships that evolve.
Often, though, I’m struck by numbers: the numbers of stitches create rhythms for me.
I’m currently working on a vest. The stitch pattern is a combination of chunks of stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, and seed stitch. Chunks of 6 stitches. So, rhythms of 6 come into my head. For whatever reason, I often think of a song from West Side Story: I like to be in
I like to BE in a Me Ri Ca. One-two-three, one-two-three; one-two, one-two, one-two.
Not so silent knitting after all.