Thursday, 19 February 2015

Craft and Clever Clogs

When I was bound for Varuna in 2013 (I know. Talk about name dropping!) I had no idea what to expect. At some stage I said to my friend Jo, ‘Well, I suppose I’ll just take my laptop, my book and my knitting and....’ at which point she pounced with an urgency usually reserved for falling babies or things on fire and said ‘Gaby! Don’t take your knitting!!’ Then with fire in her eyes and through clenched teeth she repeated ‘I’m telling you – don’t take your knitting!’ This was apparently on the assumption that if the writerly folk at Varuna saw me knitting they would assume I was an idiot.
Well, I took my knitting (a dog coat as I recall) and the first person to spring me was dear Joan, the housekeeper. Soon we were engaged in a lively exchange about wools and patterns and the need to have something to do while doing something else – knitting while watching TV, listening to music, talking around the fire. During one of our corridor conversations we were joined by one of the leading lights of Varuna whose eyes lit up with enthusiasm about knitting and asked for the pattern we were at that stage discussing.

You can’t categorise knitters. They spring up in all manner of places and professions. Knitting lets ideas in, allowing them to grow and branch out in all sorts of directions. It is often while knitting that I see solutions for plot problems in my writing. ‘Ha! I know – I’ll make Sebastian the real father!’
Andrea Goldsmith knits and knitted her way right through the writing of The Memory Trap. She says: Knitting is one of the few constructive occupations that allows you, simultaneously, to do something else equally constructive. Last winter for example, I knitted a poncho-cloak affair (in a beautiful maroon wool that felt like cashmere) while working my way through a few of the several thousand requiems that have been written in the past four hundred years. A vest for a friend took me through much of Schubert’s piano music.’

My good friend Margaret B. is a knitter and also a quilter and a seamstress. She and I knitted up over 30 dog coats between us for the Animal Aid shelters last winter. She also writes poetry, memoir and - oh, did I mention? - has a Ph. D. in Sociolinguistics in which she lectured at university level for years. At the height of the Fifty Shades blitz she knitted me this tea cosy for my birthday – Fifty Shades of Blue.

I’m still a bit intimidated by the prejudices against knitters. Despite training it to and from the city 3 times a week I still don’t have the courage to knit on the train. A few do and I’m full of secret admiration. ‘Put your money where your mouth is,’ do I hear you say?  When it happens I’ll let you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

To comment, first write your comment in the box below.

Second, select an option in the Comment As dropdown box. You can either use your Google+ account, or post as Anonymous if you don't have or don't want a Google account. (You can write your name in the Comment box if you like!)

Third, click Publish. Your comment will be sent to me first, then be published on the site later.

Thanks for your contribution!