When I started to knit seriously again in the '90s, I had just purchased the special edition of Gone With The Wind (on VHS!) and watched it nearly everyday while knitting BH my first ever stranded knitting hat (which, incidentally, was so tight that the poor dear could barely keep it on his head...but he wore it nonetheless) during a two-day snowstorm that left Ann Arbor buried under nearly 20" of snow. I can still see that nasty little hat, with yarn I bought at a craft store as Ann Arbor had no yarn shops at the time, watching our German Shepherd, Mingus try to jump through the snow in the yard, smelling the yeasty aroma from the kitchen as bread was baking in my brand new bread machine.
My first Starmore sweater was undertaken after we moved to Milwaukee, living in our "little cabin by the river" and when I was particularly enamored of Impromptu and Immortal Beloved. Meadow (sorry, just have a link to my Ravelry project page) a sweater I knit last spring, will forever be associated with Pan's Labyrinth. I still laugh at myself for some very silly mistakes I made while so engrossed in this amazing movie, trying to read subtitles and decrease properly in the midst of a lace pattern all at the same time. That's something I certainly wouldn't advise...unless, of course, you really enjoy ripping back.
My Selbuvotter mittens are Christmas 2007 and listening to The Golden Compass audiobook. Even Sweet William has its associations which aren't altogether good - when I started the sweater during this late winter, I was watching Away From Her and dealing with a very nasty bout of some sort of stomach virus that laid me flat for a few days. Unfortunately, even now that Sweet William is almost done, each time I pick it up I remember how tremendously queasy I was, too! While knitting Jack, I was listening to the audiobook of World Without End which I didn't exactly enjoy. Even after I finished the book, I still couldn't work on Jack without thinking of the characters and the plot of the book.
So, I find it rather poetic that my last completed sweater, Jack - a sweater of "firsts" was immediately followed by the super brilliant Cookie A's Pomatomus socks...a project which - in direct contrast to Jack and for reasons I shall not discuss - will be one of "lasts".
It got me thinking, though, that I and probably very many knitters out there, knit with more than just yarn, needles, notions and patterns. I knit a piece of my life into each article. I guess that's why it is so hard for me to give away what I knit. Each sweater, each amazing pair of socks, even a really bad attempt at a hat takes a snapshot of my life at that time. For better and, in this instance, for worse. Impressions, memories, life events become as an indelible part of the knitting as the yarn itself.
I began the Pomatomus socks on a very bad day - a day that I finally made a very hard realization about myself before 6 a.m. followed a few hours later by something equally as difficult to bear.
As I've worked on the socks this week, I'm pouring into this beautifully envisioned lace pattern all the complex emotions I've had to contend with both events. A simple stockinette pattern at this time wouldn't do the trick at all. Like figuring out the logic underlying the pattern, I'm figuring out the logic - or lack thereof - of my life at present.
To be sure, each time I work on the socks, or wear the completed pair in the future, I will be reminded of these very difficult times. I hope, though, that the association will become more bittersweet and that I will be a better and happier person because of my self-realization and the other event...just as one enjoys wearing a pair of beautiful lace socks that are well knit even though mistakes were made and re-dos were necessary in the process. It is my hope.