Saturday, December 31, 2011

One-by-One Rib

Last week, somewhere in the sky above the midwest, I fell a little bit in love with one-by-one rib.  I had been furiously "making" things for weeks and weeks--peppermint bark, gift-buying lists, books, blog posts, HeyAllday Bags, trips to the post office, trips to the dog park--and I realized I had not spent a lot of time doing what I truly wanted to be doing. Relaxing. Enjoying the sensation of coming inside from the cold. Icy beers with friends. And I have been lacking a fraction of the dimension required to do what I have really been wanting to be doing these days: write. It was in the air, in a janky Spirit Airlines jet, that I began to make a new winter hat for Robb, and I found a fraction of an eighth of this space.

You see, I'm a knit girl, not a purl girl. I like to work round after round of mindless Stockinette without even looking down, then suddenly look at my hands to see that I've knit an inch or two. So I was a bit chagrined to discover that the hat I wanted to make was worked in 1x1 rib--one knit, one purl, over and over again, for what feels like the rest of your life. It's that bring the yarn forward, bring the yarn back thing that really slows you down and ruins the flow of the movement. There I was, on an airplane, in what was probably the first two hour stretch of non-rushed time I had experienced in a month, and I was concerned about speed. (Note: This irony did not occur to me until much later. I think we hardly ever realize, in the moment, when we are being ridiculous.) I slogged through the first few rounds of this hat, begrudgingly noting how smooth the merino was (it's Berroco Pure Merino). By round five, the fabric had started to double in on itself in that way that ribbing does, where the purl columns get hidden beneath the dense squish of knits. The fabric takes on a quality that I can only describe as "sproingy," and it just gets better and better with ever round. Denser, sproingier, squishier, cozier. Soon enough I realized that I could not put it down, and it wasn't because I wanted to be finished, but because I was fascinated by what I was making. I did not listen to music, I didn't talk to a soul, I didn't think about the people in the neighboring seats. I may not have even had a sip of water.

Enough has been said on the topic of knitting being a meditative activity, so I won't bore you with further description of my trancelike state. (Nor will I pretend that knitting this hat solved any of my problems or removed any of the knots in my shoulders--in fact, it probably introduced a few.) But having two hours to focus exclusively on something so delectably simple and repetitive was a necessary transition for my brain.
I'm sure at this point you're becoming scared that this blog post will get too serious, and so to assuage your fears I felt I should probably include this photo of Robb trying on his hat. Almost there!

And now, it's New Year's Eve. I'm decreasing the crown. I'm writing this blog post. We've taken the dog to the dog park every day since we've been home (sometimes twice!). We've seen our friends. We've watched really bad movies (including Mannequin and Christine). We've napped, we've slept in, we've eaten pizza three times this week. In essence, we've slowed down and enjoyed some peace, preparing ourselves for this new year. For its challenges, transitions, discomforts, and excellent successes. I've been asking myself today, what have I done this year? And aside from some obvious things that were pretty exciting (A promotion at work! A puppy at home! The creation of the Modern Carpet Bag!), I can't help but feel that this has been one of those years that sets you up for other years. Let's call it a stepping stone year.

I will tell you a secret: I write this blog so that I will keep writing. One of my authors asked me recently, in all seriousness, what book are you going to write? And I was a little surprised to find that she asked. And I was even more surprised to find that I didn't know. I do love crafting. Would it be a craft book? Probably not exactly, though I'm not ruling it out. What I do know is this: I like to write about life--both the awful and the hilarious--and that is what this eventual book will be. This blog, in its own peculiar way, is me practicing. I hope you like my drafts.

And to that author who asked me what book I will write, thank you for taking me seriously.


  1. Darling I can't wait to see what bookS you write!

    Yep that's a big capital S for the plural.

    I know they're in there because I hear them when you talk.

  2. I didn't understand any of the knitting stuff, but oh man, do I want to read your book. It's funny, I always assumed it would be a novel, but now I wonder.

    I do think 2011 was a set-up year. For both of us. Heh.