When I got Kim Klassen's BEYOND LAYERS challenge to come up with a mood, a word or phrase, the word that came to mind was KNITTING. Knitting can be very descriptive, it’s a noun, it’s a verb, it’s even a type of stitch. The knitting in the photo is a freeform knitted shawl, inspired by the amazing Jane Thornley, that I knitted without a pattern using both knit and pearl stitches with lots of textured yarns, ribbons and beaded threads.
Knitting has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom and maternal grandmother, who lived with us part of the year, were always knitting. I’d come home from school and they’d be sitting in the family room knitting and chatting away, my grandmother in Yiddish when she didn’t want me to know what was going on (no wonder I’m paranoid!!) and my mom understanding but not being able to converse back. The house was always clean and a home cooked dinner was always ready when my dad got home from work but now I wonder if they rushed to get those things done just to be able to sit down and enjoy their knitting. They would knit the most beautiful sweaters, some with gorgeous yarns like mohair which was very fashionable at the time, some with interesting stitches like cables or popcorn or they’d do intarsia knitting with intricate patterns. I always had new and glorious sweaters to wear to school some for style, some for warmth. My Barbie was styling too.
I was 10 when I knitted my first sweater, a soft and pretty textured gray and burgundy yarn. It seemed like it took me forever on those thin needles and I think my mom had to finally finish it for me. As an adult I knitted on and off but really got into it with the onset of the eyelash yarn craze - I was knitting scarf after scarf. Scarves turned to sweaters and accessories. When my husband died suddenly seven years ago, I looked to my knitting to help me get through my grief. Sometimes for a few minutes, I would even forget that I was a widow and that my loving husband was gone. I have read that the rhythmic repetitive movements of knitting are important in that they induce a form of meditation which can be very effective in treating depression and chronic pain. It helps put into perspective any traumatic issues that would normally dominate your waking thoughts…a state of mind where you're not mulling over the past or fretting about the future.
Later I discovered felting which is where you shrink your finished knitted project in the washing machine, any and all mistakes are washed away and completely hidden...too bad we can't live our lives like that! Gifts of felted purses, eyeglass cases and slippers abounded. And knitting is social so you can knit and still converse (unless or course you’re knitting a complex pattern where you need complete silence). I’m a lucky girl in that my new beau has a private plane and I’ve had the opportunity to fly to some awesome places; of course my knitting is always traveling along with me. I can be his co-pilot listening and holding up my end of the conversation while still knitting away and making something from nothing. Making something from nothing, what's better than that?
In this photo I used Kim's textures 'Simplicity' @overlay 45% and 'Confidence' @ hard light 78%.
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