Last week I was reading an amazing Knitty article about the history of knitting. I really suggest you go take a look. One of the parts that really blew my mind was about the direction that we knit. The English language, as well as many other languages, read from left to right. We know that, we’re doing it right now. Knitting on the other hand, is done from right to left, and the difference is most noticeable when we’re reading a chart. Trying to force your brain to read from right to left on a chart is always a little difficult. And of course I knew all of this already. What I didn’t know is that knitting was a Middle-Eastern invention. And knowing that Arabic is read from right to left, it all makes sense. Now I might not know as much history as some people (cough Ty cough), but this is why I wish I did. It’s fascinating and shockingly pertinent to current life.
At the beginning of the article, the author mentions how knitting is a relatively new invention. There are no myths involving knitting, but there are plenty about spinning and weaving. This started me thinking about why I love knitting. And although there are numerous obvious reasons (soft yarn, pretty yarn, soft pretty yarn…) the one that contrast so much with spinning and weaving is it’s portability. There are very few materials required, and they are all small. I always have at least two different projects in my bag at all times, often three. It’s so easy for me to take out a sock on the metro, or while waiting for a friend, or at the airport or doctor’s office. It’s nearly impossible for me not to take out my knitting any moment my hands are still. This habit has either encouraged, or completely created my fidgety-ness when I’m not knitting or using my hands in some other way.
Knitting helps me focus. In lectures or seminars it’s always been easier for me to follow the speaker when I’m knitting. By occupying my hands, my brain isn’t allowed to wander, or else my knitting is messed up. Obviously there are limits to this, and doing a complicated pattern involves more attention than would allow me to multitask. But stockinette stitch or ribbing? Perfect for keeping my mind on the speaker in front of me. I don’t find that I’ve spaced out and missed three slides.
Knitting is something different for each person. And portability is just a small part of why knitting is so important to me.