Thursday, December 14, 2006

Knit with Love

It is a knitter's cliche that hand-knit items are made with love. The exhaustive sweater for for my father, the delicate lace for my mom, the obnoxious hat with ears for my best friend, those are truly knit with love. Things like cost and time become immaterial in comparison with the need to pour your heart out in stitches. You consider every option: color, laundering options, style, fit, until finally, you know you've created something that says "Yep, I get you."
Other things are just knit with honest goodwill, like a simple cotton hat for a new baby. Sure, I wish everyone the best, but it's not exactly love. The child will wear it for a maybe a few months, maybe, and grow out of it. Hopefully, the parents will save it away, but I don't know. It filled up the time one evening when I was watching TV, and it made them happy for a little while.
Still others, upon thorough self-examination, are knit simply to try a beautiful new yarn or to make more room in the stash. The only love knit into them is the love of knitting itself. This could be anything, the angora sweater I made selfishly, the acrylic I desperately wanted out of my stash. Kept or given away, it didn't really matter. I just needed to knit and enable more knitting.
No, if I'm really honest, very few things are knit with true love, the kind of unswaying devotion that a move across the country or a bitter fight or even death cannot affect. What then, does this mean for the items knit with the piercing, aching memories of a former love? And how can so many thoughts and emotions be caught up in 150 meters of yarn?

I bought it here, I was with someone there. I could probably only afford one skein, was it enough? It didn't matter, it was on sale, and it had to be mine. Now every detail of the little lump of fiber haunts me. The soft grey conjures up memories of half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets. The fiber content, 100% cashmere, evokes different moments, different touches. It sat in my stash for so long, first because it was too precious, and then because it was too dear. It looked wrong, even next to the other cashmere I was hoarding, and I began to realize I could truly never do anything with it for myself, but I couldn't give it to just anyone.
There are many kinds of love. One may flare up quickly, and then burn out. Another, though created by the first, may be more subtle but much more enduring. This little grey cashmere scarf may be my last chance to express it. It is knit with love.
In summary:
Yarn: Il Cashmere (100% cashmere, worsted weight) in light grey, one skein, 18 euros
Needles: Size US 10
Pattern: Lattice lace (adapted from a Blackberry Ridge pattern), one repeat, garter stitch border. Both ends made separately and grafted together.
Time: Maybe a week as a travelling project
Cost: 18 euros, portions of my soul


Janet said...

I stumbled upon your blog, and was nearly dumbfounded by the profoundness of your post. I am currently knitting with unrequited love... I think that secretly, I am hoping that if I put all the love into the scarf, it will stop being inside of me...

Veronica Van said...

Hey Sarah,

I have been a busy dye pot attendee and I have not looked in on you lately. I had a great time tonight catching up. Loved your corset (good idea!). I took the quiz (I am midland by the way--no real accent). i read your questions. I, of course, have answers for all of them but I wont bore you. I saw your dad's sweater and read your profound cashmere scarf entry. What better way to send a Saturday night! Thanks.