Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Knit Lit

Since I'm at the point where I need to sew Sissy's poncho, and I haven't yet kitted my JCS 2005 projects, I've been reading on the train: Knit Lit: Sweaters and their Stories...and Other Writing About Knitting. I'm about halfway through. I'm a little disappointed: I thought there'd be more lit. The little fragments read like bad magazine columns. I suppose I should stop holding people to high writing standards. It's a lot like reading student writing. There's a lot of ta-da endings. (Here's my little story and then, the ending has CAPITAL letters--in one case, literally.)

One essay was a little evocative for me. In the section on project disasters, Lauren M. Baldwin writes in "Road Kill," about a project that gets caught in the undercarriage of her car:

In grappling with this loss, I found myself reflecting on creativity: how the things we make come to have emotional value. Partly we're attached to what we've made simply because we made it; but also, in the creative process we enter in to a relationship with the thing we're working on. It comes to express something of ourselves. If the object is lost or destroyed, that bit of self is lost rather than captured and contained in the piece of creative work. And that is sad.

This reminded me of a project, not that I had lost, but rather that had been rejected even before it was made.

As I've written elsewhere, making wedding samplers is "my" gift to family and friends. Everyone's come to expect a little--or big--sampler from me for the special occasions. In the early 90s, when I was in graduate school--my time even more precious--one of my friends got engaged. I scoured the big box stores (there weren't that many needlework stores in my area) for something appropriate, something to their tastes. Whenever I would find something even remotely plausible, I would show it to another friend and ask if she thought our affianced friend would like it. She always equivocated and hedged. After months of searching, I just finally asked straight out, "does she not want this for a present?" Yes, I was told, she does not want this.

Oof. It was like a punch in the gut, my heart constricted. Not a rejection of a present--which "wouldn't match her decor" (as if 24 year olds have decor)--but of me. It made me feel so unsophisticated, giving handmade presents, so poor (even though framing costs a fortune), so stupid for assuming a gift of myself would be received with open arms. And I think it was the emotional value that I equated with the present that lead me down this road. To tell the truth, it was a bit of a relief to pick up the phone, call for a present, and have it delivered. The biggest effort I made was in lifting the credit card out of my wallet. I was sad, then a little mad, about this incident, but in the end, I value my friend's (circuitous) honesty. Far worse to have made something that would be put in a closet, ridiculed, hated...

As for my friend, she's taken up needlepoint. Talk about tacky. ;)

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