I am becoming a knitting addict. I can tell, because when the person with whom I share knitting experience is around, I am unable to resist the urge to knit. When we’re not knitting, we’re talking about knitting. We shop for knitting paraphernalia together — and if you’re not already a knitting addict, then you are probably not ready to hear about going to the knitting store and petting all the yarns. Oooo, baby.
Further evidence: when I am knitting, I feel calm. In fact just being near my knitting basket, knowing that I could knit if I really wanted to, is calming. I spend too much time knitting, and sometimes neglect other things I should be doing.
But here is why knitting is good: knitting is like writing. When you knit, you learn writing lessons — and writing makes you a better knitter. Possibly my favorite thing about knitting is that, as with writing, you can make mistakes without completely hosing things. When you sew, if you make a mistake, you may be able to rip out the seam and try again — but the place where you ripped it out may be visible. And heaven help you if you’ve made a cutting error! But the worst-case scenario in knitting is ripping out what you’ve done…which just leaves you with all the yarn you started with and a bit more experience at the craft.
This is a miraculous secret, in my view. I knit with abandon; if I hose it, I rip it out and start over. This is just like a good day in the study: if I hose a scene, I try again. I can excise it from the file that holds my current draft, possibly storing it nearby if I think parts of it may prove useful later. Or I can simply dig back in and knit new sentences around the first attempt. A knitted item is really just one long complex knot you tie with needles. It is subject to change without notice, and you don’t have to beat yourself up for trying again. It will be better next time, because you learned from the last attempt.
Writing is like that, too, of course. I have tossed out literally hundreds of thousands of words in the course of my writing practice. But none of them are ruined. I can use them all again, as often as I like.
And I would like to tell you I could stop anytime I wanted to, but…well. Maybe I am a writing addict, too.