Friday, May 05, 2006

Every single cloud has a silver lining

My life is mostly a continuous and steady row of alternating knit and purl stitches.

I love to knit knit2,purl2 rib. What does it tell of me?

Maybe that I love the crisp and clean and simple life. Or that I like just a little bit of variety in strict order. You know --- after every two and easy knit stitches come two complicated purls. And this goes on and on. And on. Always two complicated after two easy.

I love cables too. In cables the purl and knit stitches change places but still there is order. After a while you can predict and see clearly how it is supposed to be.

Knit1purl1 ribbing is also to my liking. But then I have to twist the knit stitch. There is pleasure but you have to fight a bit for it, it does not come as easy as simple knit stitch. And again there is the complicated purl that totally interrupts you. You have to keep the yarn a bit more tight and concentrate on the purl so that it comes out even and beautiful and settles nicely in its own place.

Stockinette is ok, just ok. It is easy to lose interest and turn your knit stitches into uneven and wonky looking loops. Easy and boring and way too simple. No big emotions or even tiny stirs involved, no interruptions, nothing. I hate - prefer not - to knit stockinette when alone...

But there is a place for this knit. Plain knitting is lovely in socks but then again the socks have so much more happening in them and the b-o-r-I-n-g stockinette is never - hardly never - going to take an eternity to finish. It is lovely to knit stockinette socks when you want to be present and take notes from your surroundings yet nobody knows you are present because you can more or less hide behind the stockinette sock. (The sock has taken the place of a teddy bear that I would otherwise be clutching.) Most people will think that handling five sticks and turning heels takes all your attention. At least this is what I believe in. When I'm in surroundings where there is turmoil or worry or big emotions involved it is calming to look down at the knit and see simple loops.

Yesterday I received my Emergency Sock Kit from Cassie. This makes sure that now I'm always prepared to face any kind of emergency that life and circumstances cause that requires stockinette socks. Or that when bringing this along I'm going to prevent an emergency that would rise without stockinette socks. This ESK is beautiful. It has perfect mitered corners, it has the tiniest hand stitching and the color is exacty what I need. I bet you know that the color yellow does wonderful things for you. It refreshes you when you are exhausted, it fights the depressive feelings and melancholy, it awakens new thoughts and creativeness and is full of self-confidence. It is the color of sunshine and warmth. (I'm really loading heavy tasks on this ESK but I know it is capable of doing these things for me.)
I used to hate garter stitch. Many years have gone by and I cannot be so definite any more, let's just say calmly that mostly I don't like garter stitch that much. It looks so troubled even though it is plain knitting. It is difficult to produce nice and crisp garter stitch fabric, mine seems to stay limp no matter how hard I try. Seed stitch looks a bit similar but there is a world of difference. There is the knit stitch and the purl stitch, the easy and the difficult.

Here (look at the tree) is my new shawl - not blocked yet. I had to bring it down to the lake this morning and take a picture against the frozen lake. It appears to be just water but there is the ice underneath. This was at six o'clock this morning. But now, it is ten in the morning, and there is a strip of nice and blue water. The ice has broken. The blue strip almost makes me to cry of joy. My lake was there after all.
And as a surprise has come to me also that detestable (too harsh again) unpleasant garter stitch can turn out to be such a lovely shawl. I know it already. Even before I have blocked it. Sometimes you just have to push through unpleasant stitches and use your imagination to find beauty. But there it is. Trust me, I know.

I quote one of my favourite children's books:

I don't have the book here but as far as I can remember, the saying goes like this:

"Let's think about it boys. If you would have fun all the time then you would not know when it is fun. So be happy that you are bored, it is good to have boring things. That way you can tell the difference when the fun begins."

This extract is something Alfons Åberg's Grandmother said to her son and grandson. Alfons Åberg (Mikko Mallikas) is Gunilla Bergstrom's character, the most adorable little boy there can be.


  1. ".....where there is turmoil or worry or big emotions involved it is calming to look down at the knit and see simple loops..."
    I relate to this with all my heart. to me, the order you can instill in knitting has a promise that you will be able to instill this same order in life.
    thank you for a most wonderful knitting poem today!

  2. Ellen in Conn13:26

    Good morning Lene, It is 6:19 am in Connecticut, and my sun is up about three fingers above the horizon. It reflects off a river, and the geese fly in to nibble grass in the park. Killdeer live in the rocks on the shore. I wonder what you do with your lake? Do you fish or swim or boat? I was thinking you could dip your new shawl into it and pin it onto tree twigs for blocking. What birds and fish and mammals live in or on or near your lake?

    Welcome home, and Happy Spring.

  3. Päivi14:01


    Tyynnyttävää löytää sinut täältä.
    Kaunista on: kuvasi, tekstisi, luonto.
    Osaat nauttia siitä, mitä sinulla on ja mitä näet. Hieno taito.
    Siispä aurinkoa, veden välkettä, iloa omista töistä.

  4. Who was it who said "Order is a discipline which sets me free to fly?"

  5. "Most people will think that handling five sticks and turning heels takes all your attention."

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who uses knitting this way..."

  6. I can relate to everything you wrote about today! :) Even your likes and dislikes, k2p2 (thumbs up) and garter (thumbs down usually). I had even thought about posting about my dislike toward garter stich, and how it still has it's place sometimes (in my mind these are rare occassions...)

    The lake looks beautiful in the sunlight!

  7. I love the quote--that's so true!

  8. Once again you've beautifully expressed your thoughts in ways that fly to my heart and it responds, "Oh, yes, so true!".

  9. I am glad you are back. I was forgetting what little Finnish I know!

    It is hard to hear the struggles of the little rodents. One is in my living room right now. Two cats and the dog wants to join in. So sad but that is what they do and what they are for.

    I like garter stitch but I am a much "younger" knitter and still know so little. I have bought some Koigu - I stood so long trying to pick out colors. So, perhaps a sock. Teaching myself to knit the first one was difficult but it has been a while so perhaps it is time to try again and your socks are so beautiful.

    Welcome back. Hello to Spring! May your garden grow high.

  10. Your lake is beautiful, frozen or not... What a treat to have this view at 6AM!

  11. You took the words right out of my mouth. Some days the very simple stitches defines me, and on other days, I need a little more complicated stitches. We humans are complex creatures!

    Glad to see you back.

  12. Scotlynn01:27

    Your words give expression to what my heart feels. Without my knitting I would be lost in the whirlwind of life. The simplicity of stockinette helps me to see beauty in the plainest moments of life. I wonder if all knitters know this magic.

  13. It looks like spring is coming to your part of the world!! I wish you some happy spring knitting.

  14. I love stockinette stitch with four needles because you just keep going around and you don't have to be focused on a pattern book. I just finished a pair of socks for my daughter. They were her birthday socks even though her birthday was in April. I just now had the thrill of seeing her slip them on. They fit, and she likes them. I think that's even more exciting than the process of making them.

  15. Barbie03:25

    Welcome home! I've missed reading your wonderful and insightful words.

    Your quote from the children’s book reminds me that both sides of the contrasts in life… fun and boredom, joy and sadness, harmony and conflict… are necessary.

    To fully be present and experience the depths of fun, joy, and harmony, one must also know in one’s soul what it feels like to be bored, sad, or in conflict.

    Thank you for reminding me of that!

  16. A surprise shawl? Oh, this is exciting! I can't wait to see what it is. :-)

    I've tried to make myself love ribbing, but I just can't. Garter stitch I can appreciate, especially if it's a lace pattern--I love garter lace. Stretchy, flexible, and reversible! :-)