Tuesday, December 15, 2009

She's Crafty, And She's Just My Type

Um, yeah. I'm crafty. You may have heard that I knit. It's not an idle threat. I didn't write a knitting romance because it was the In Thing to do. I did it because I couldn't do anything else.

I've been known to be crafty in many ways over the years, cross-stitch, crochet, quilting, sewing, but it always comes back to the knitting that I learned when I was five. Knitting feels like breathing to me. People who say it feels meditative? Feh. I don't know if I ever felt that. It's autonomic. It's part of my body, and I don't have to think about it (unless I'm REALLY thinking about it, and that's fun).

So, a photo-essay of some of my favorites over the years. (Forgive all the self-portraits -- I'm a selfish knitter.)


Cromarty is a classic Alice Starmore design, and it took months on size US1 needles. But I was so proud of it when it was done, and it's worn like iron. I wear it now to write in the early mornings.

This next one was one of my first original designs, done in alpaca which was way too hot for me to ever wear. I think I wore it twice, but I remember it being the moment I decided that yes, I did kinda know what I was doing:

Then I took up spinning fiber. I never really got into dyeing, but this was my first hand-spun sweater, and I dyed the fiber with Kool-Aid. This was Black Raspberry, I believe, and sometimes, if I get caught in the rain, I still get a whiff of it (and it matches my cheeks!):

This next one is the sweater I'm most proud of:

It's a replica of a Norwegian sweater my mother had commissioned for herself in the 60s when she was there. I reverse engineered it from my mother's sweater and knit a copy of it. As I knit the sleeves (I always knit sleeves first), I could almost see my mother's arms growing from the ends of my needles. So many hundreds of times I had been held within the safety of that sweater growing up, and to see another sweater, growing from my hands, was truly wonderful.

My wedding stole. I designed it from a couple of Babara Walker motifs, in alpaca, so it sheds like crazy, and I never wear it now, but I love it. It was perfect, just like that drizzly, happy day in Vancouver.

The Cade Sweater: This is the sweater that goes along with the plot (pattern included) in my book How to Knit a Love Song. A non-traditional Gansey with raglan shaping, this actual original sweater will be raffled off at some point in the future. (Sign up for my mailing list to keep up to date!)

So really, when it came to writing a novel, when I cleared out all the stuff I thought I "should" write and finally wrote what I wanted to write, it wasn't surprising what came out. And I'm so happy I got what I did.


Juliet Blackwell said...

What a beautiful post! I want to get onto your hand-me-down list...your sweaters are incredible. And I feel like such a schlub. The closest I get to customizing my clothing is when I decide the red wine stain looks sort of interesting and I pretend it's part of the blouse...

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh, I loved the through-the-years retrospective! I wish I'd thought to do that with my quilts - I love seeing your expression (and hair :) and thinking of you growing along with your knitting.

Unknown said...

ummm...I'm in awe :)

L.G.C. Smith said...

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes from reading this. First the gorgeous sweaters, then the story about your mother's sweater and knitting her arms around you as you worked, then the romance of the wedding stole, and finally, the sweater from your first novel...Wow. Lovely. Just lovely.:)

Martha Flynn said...

I need to add knitting to my list of apocalypse skills. Just cuz it's the end of the world doesn't mean I have to look shabby!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous sweaters and a lovely post, thank you!

goosefairy said...

I love all of these. I remember most of all the posts about your Norwegian replica. I really really want to do the Cromarty but I don't know if I'm strong enough for it!

Adrienne Bell said...

I humbly bow before your awesome skills.

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