09 May 2007


A few months ago our Knitting Guild hosted a night of mini-workshops where members selected a short course taught by some of our expert members. Small groups of us worked on everything from learning to cable to making tube socks. I took the opportunity to try one of those things that you see but just don't know quite what to do with... wire knitting.

Um, don't expect me to make any of those pretty wire votives any time soon.

After awhile I suppose I got it but I'm pretty sure I didn't really enjoy it. As with any new skill, it was slow and tedious. I'm sure that it would improve over time but for once, I met with a craft that I just didn't feel the need the pursue. Would I give up time with angora or alpaca to break out the wire? Um, no.

My sentiments were pretty much shared by everyone at the table. It was a resounding, "Well... that was interesting, informative, and now I'm pretty darn sure I don't need to add that to my knitting repertoire."

The cool thing about the whole evening was that we all tried something very different, gave it our all for a short while, met with varying degrees of success, and ultimately felt comfortable giving it up at the "trying" stage. In nearly all the classes and workshops I've taken, crafty and otherwise, we may say that we're okay with just "trying," but that's rarely the case. Some people just get it, they take to the task like ducks in water, whipping out a quilt before the instructor even finishes the pinning process or publishing a paper on the subject while the rest of us are still trying to decipher the introduction to the beginner's book. Others struggle through the designated hour or two, frustrated and almost angry that they wasted their time with something they weren't meant to do. Whether they trip over their step in an aerobics class or throw down their knitting needles in disgust, the effort of "trying" is entirely lost energy, never enough to please the student or the instructor who wants all the pupils to leave the room happy and content. We may tell youngsters to just give it a go, but really, I've never seen a group of 10 women sit around a table and be perfectly content with just "trying."

Perhaps it was the comedy of our trial, the fact that we were the only table who were offered safety goggles at a knitting event. Perhaps it was the general group failure where none of us had to glare jealously across the room at the person who was a natural. Perhaps it was because we were trying something entirely outside the frame of reference for the room. We weren't like the cabling class who had to look out and see three or four gorgeous sweaters made by members who had the gift of the twisted stitch or those struggling with double point needles while frustrated by members ogling the latest socks to hit the scene. No one walked by our table to patronizingly tell us, "Hang in there, you'll get it." No, the group pretty much looked at our wire cutters and pliers and walked slowly away, wondering what on earth we wanted to try that for.

So for an hour or two, we kept trying. We all improved. We all came up with all sorts of things we could make with this new skill. And then we all agreed that we didn't really plan to make those things. The evening's effort was enough and we'd leave the wire creations to our talented instructor. We tried, we knit, and we walked away without a successful project or the need to hit the craft store for new supplies. Sometimes it's nice to just try.

1 comment:

Redheadskydiver said...

I've always wondered about that wire knitting stuff. It does seem like it would be a bit tedious. None the less the workshop sounds like a great idea.