1969 yards of garter stitch
When I first started knitting, I was really eager to try all the techniques I could. I couldn’t fathom knitting the same pattern twice, because once you’ve done it once, I thought, you’ve learned what it was trying to teach you, you’ve produced the finished product, and you’re ready to move on. If you had told me back then that I’d get really devoted to knitting, get pretty good at it, too, and then find myself knitting garter-stitch blankets, I’m not sure what I’d have made of that information. And yet, here we have my latest finished project:
The project is the Curve of Pursuit Afghan from Woolly Thoughts, and I was drawn to it because of the great Op-Art styling. Then the designers hooked me in by explaining that the pattern was based on a mathematical principle (that fact alone may have convinced me to pay for the pattern instead of trying to hack it myself). So I bought the PDF, and read through, and then realized exactly how much garter stitch lay ahead of me.
Okay, maybe I didn’t quite realize, because I bought 4 skeins of yarn and set off, thinking that would be enough. I also didn’t quite have the scope in mind; how big did I want it to be? But in any case, the basic construction of this afghan is short-rows in garter stitch. Most of you might say, a blanket in garter stitch? How dreadful! And indeed, there were moments toward the end when I might be tempted to agree, with the tedium bearing heavily upon me. But in general, this was a delight to knit, sitting on the couch through the fall and winter, through the last months of pregnancy and into the first months of motherhood, knitting along mindlessly while my husband and I watched episodes of Star Trek: the Original Series, or Fred Astaire films.
Knitting can be quite meditative, but it’s hard to feel the peace of it when you’re fighting with stubborn cables or ripping back rows of a lace pattern that you miscounted due to a momentary lapse of attention. And while one of my favorite pastimes is reading while knitting, it’s quite a challenge to do so when you have to give so much brain power to counting stitches or looking at what you’re doing.
And honestly, the knit stitch, that plain simple stitch, is beautiful. A twist of fiber into a strand of yarn, a loop emerging from another loop, each stitch stacking evenly upon its predecessor (as Cat Bordhi terms it, mother stitches giving way to daughters…perhaps a bit “woo,” but a nice image nonetheless). Garter stitch has a lovely stretch, a vertical bounce, and an even, reversible face, which makes it really lovely in a blanket. No curling, no “wrong side.”
I’ll admit it, being the mother of an infant has appreciably shortened my attention span, and has taken away much of my knitting time. A pair of socks that I cast on almost a month ago sit barely started on my needles, while my Ravelry queue grows longer. My other “active” project, that will take over the role of “mindless couch knitting” is, amazingly, a pattern I’ve even knit before, Clapotis, this time in a slinky bamboo that I bought specially for the project. The knitting goes slowly as the days go quickly by. Knitting styles change, and at least for now, simplicity is to be cherished.