Thursday, February 16, 2006

How Olympic Knitting is Like Magic Realism


Kiri is now almost big enough to conceal the panda: I'm part-way through Repeat 7 of 12 of the main chart, and the rows oh my they are getting long. I can no longer say "I'll just finish this row and then I'll [insert urgent matter here]" because the house would burn down or I'd wet my pants before I made it through the 200+ stitches.

Last night I made a mistake and didn't catch it for two rows...and I jerry-rigged a solution, which I've been trying to avoid doing. Part of my Olympic challenge is to give a damn about going back and fixing screw-ups. In general I subscribe to the if-you-can't-see-it- from-the-back-of-a-cantering-
horse-to-hell-with-fixing-it school of error repair, but a little more perfectionism wouldn't hurt my craft. Last night: too, too tired. For me, nothing good comes of trying to knit past 11PM. Brushing my teeth is about as dexterous as I can get when it's that appallingly late.

Yesterday, the Chief Olympitrix reflected on what she's learned from this one-project madness. I've learned a few things, too, and not just that I can't watch skating and knit lace at the same time. Back in the day at UBC, some guy I had a crush on encouraged me to read A Hundred Years of Solitude, so I got a copy and read it in small bites on buses and before bed, and I thought it was fine and had some clever scenes but I couldn't keep straight all the Aurelio and Arcadio Buendias and I lost the plot a lot.

Maybe a year later I had to write a paper in a hurry on magic realism in Marquez and Faulkner and so I re-read A Hundred Years over a couple of days and the Aurelios and Arcadios distinguished
themselves from one another and the magic realism grabbed me and held on. I Couldn't Put It Down, and not just because a deadline was coming at a gallop.

Kiri is affecting me the same way: ordinarily, I'd knit this pup over six months and never get particularly attached to it. Forced to focus on it for two weeks, I don't want to put it down -- and it's not just the race to finish. I've fallen in love with the logic of the pattern, and this Lorna's Laces has me mesmerized. Pay attention to the process, wise knitters say, and don't get hung up on reaching the goal. But what I'm finding is that the more time I spend on it, the more I get lost in the process. Magic, indeed.


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