Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Remembering How to Write, or how I learned to relax and love the linen stitch

I’m currently working on a little yellow mug mat as a way to use up the rest of the yarn that I used for the blue bird*, and the Serpentine mitts. The linen stitch pattern is a pain, so is using US size 1s (2.25mm). But the fabric I’m making is great, stiff, with a little bit of give, dense but light weight.

I wonder if these properties are scalable. If I used a thicker yarn with bigger needles would the fabric be similar? If so, I might consider using this stitch pattern for a yoga mat. Even if it isn’t scalable, I could see using the same fabric for little boxes or baskets of some sort.

The linen stitch is actually kind of meditative, like seed stitch only more so. It is neither stockingette stitch boring – where I must distract myself with TV or conversation – nor does it require as much attention as lace.** Paying a bit of attention to the pattern is required, because the rhythm changes only slightly from one side to another, but my mind can wonder without fear of messing up.

I am reminded of the point of concentration exercises from middle school theater class: drawing a square with one hand and a triangle with the other at the same time. It’s not hard, but you do have to focus to do it. By engaging one part of my brain with the knitting, the rest of my thoughts have to slow down and I have to pay attention to each one. Knitting this stitch while writing has, I believe, permitted me to craft this post more thoughtfully than I generally would. I have not intentionally sought this mental state in quite a while – not since writing papers for college. It might be the knitting, or it might be I've remembered the state I need to write my best.

*I’m still working on the pattern, but I need a bit more time to have passed before I’m excited about test crocheting another.
**Hush, I’m counting.

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