Every so often, I look at my knitting and think “Well now. I understand all of this. This is proceeding in a really straightforward way. What a relief to know all I need to know about this.” and that usually means that it’s time to knit something that Cat Bordhi designed and give my boring brain a shake.
Cat’s the opposite of straightforward. Cat thinks around corners and in crazy spirals and Cat doesn’t give a crap about how it’s always been done. Cat’s like….my opposite.
I think “There has got to be a simpler way” and Cat thinks “Screw simpler – get curious. There has got to be ANOTHER way.” and then all of these door swing wide open and it turns out that there really are whole new ways to knit stuff that you I thought were pretty firmly established. What I think is most interesting about it, is that it turns out that some of them really are simpler…though I think that Cat would be the first to admit that true beauty and organic knitterly authenticity aren’t always about simple. Doing something in a beguiling or particularly graceful way matters too.
I heard someone say something about Cat that made me laugh….and Cat’s my friend, so I know that she’ll laugh too. They said “It’s like Cat Bordhi looks at knitting and says There has just got to be a harder way to to this.” It made me lie on the floor convulsed with laughter, because they are sort of right. Learning new things is hard for humans. A lot of us hate it. We like knowing what’s going on and having things predictable and although in the end most of us love learning, cracking that door open to a new way of doing something, even if it’s a better or more beautiful way of doing something is sometimes hard for us. We confuse “that’s new” with “that’s harder” because our wee human brains like it better that way. It’s a shame, because what our brains want (same thing all the time no changing anything ever) is actually not what our brains need to stay young, healthy and forming new synapses. Our brains need new ways of thinking about things….and dudes, that’s what this book is for…
and it’s harshing on my mellow in the biggest and most wonderful way. The whole time I’m reading New Pathways for Sock Knitters I have to keep picking myself up of the virtual knitting room floor because Cat’s thought of some other way to screw with the way I thought everybody knit socks. Cat’s done some squirrel-assed crazy stuff in this book. Crazy. These socks? The Milkmaids Stockings?
You won’t believe where the gusset increases are. You won’t believe it. (Or maybe you’re a lot more openminded than me and you won’t sit there waiting for plagues and locusts and a lighting strike.) Cat totally thinks outside of the sock, and I am so interested in this that I picked one of the patterns “Ocean Toes” (Sorry Cat. I’m totally ripping another picture out of the book here.)
and went hunting through the stash for appropriate yarn. This pattern calls for Socks That Rock Mediumweight , and I thought to myself “HA! I have like..a million skeins of STR (Well, not a million, but a lot.) and for once I can use the yarn the pattern calls for and won’t that be good?” Whereupon I proceeded to begin tossing the stash in order to locate my choices. A transcript of what followed is below. (Amanda, Megan and Sam are my daughters. 18, 16 and 13)
Amanda: What’s your trouble?
Me: I can’t find the yarn that I need.
Amanda: Did you check the Back Room stash?
Me: First place I looked. (I’m ripping up the living room stash as we are talking, making a big mess.)
Megan: Did you check the Upstairs Stash?
Me: Of course. Why can’t I find it?
Sam: Did you look in the Bin Stash? Maybe it’s there?
Me: I totally looked in the Bin Stash.
Amanda: What are you looking for? When was the last time you saw it?
Megan: Is it old stash? Maybe it’s at the bottom?
Sam: Is it blue? I saw some blue yarn in Megan’s stash that I think she stole from you.
Me: Megan – are you stealing my yarn again? What have we said about Mummy’s stash, I’m happy to share with you to a point, but you just can’t go off and……
Megan: You’re loosing focus.
Amanda: You were looking for some yarn?
Me: Right. I’m not looking for any specific yarn….I’m looking for my supply of STR medium weight. I found one skein, but I was going to round it all up and see what my choices were.
Samantha: That’s how you should organize it.
Me: Thanks Sam. I’ll keep that in mind. WHY (ripping up kitchen stash) CAN I ONLY FIND ONE SKEIN OF THIS?
Then I stopped. I’d gone through all the stash in the house. The house was trashed, yarn everywhere, I’d made a huge mess and the truth was before me.
Me: Wow. Do you know what this means?
Me: I’ve only got one skein of this kind of yarn.
Then we all just sat there, staring around at all that yarn and thinking about ripping it all up again, because, really?
That was totally unbelievable.