Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Book Review: The Knitting Goddess

The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Bergman Posted by Hello

This is in many ways, an excellent book. I wouldn’t recommend it as “the only knitting book you’ll ever need” or even as a good primer for new knitters. However, for knitters who already are familiar with the craft and who find in their creativity a spiritual outlet, this book is lovely.

Bergman has chosen several female figures from mythology and dubbed them “Knitting Goddesses.” Most of them were neither goddesses – like Ariadne and Arachne, nor knitting, but they do all have a strong connection to fiber-craft. Many of the women are spinners or weavers. Each chapter is devoted to one of these mythological figures, and as her story is told, lessons about knitting are taught. Each chapter also includes a project to make that goes along with the story. The lack of photographs is frustrating. Bergman’s website does include pictures of the projects, but it would have done better to include them in the book itself.

All in all the framework is quite lovely. Some of her retellings are a little too altered from the original to entirely suit me (blame my Classical Studies minor), but the overall affect is quite enjoyable.

There is one particular passage that held quite a bit of meaning for me. In her chapter on “Isis, Red Magic, and a Warm Stole With Wings” she talks about the need for a woman to knit with red yarn.

It became apparent that as I knitted yarn, I was also naturally knitting myself together and also nurturing myself with one of the most appropriate metaphors, and also physical realities, that I could have chosen for myself. I was not only knitting together a garment, but also the seen and the unseen, the solid and the evanescent, the conscious and the unconscious and the light and the dark in myself.

And by then I was knitting red. (Bergman 31)

Red thread or yarn—physical, literal, red yarn, and it has to be red—helps to retrieve souls, and memories and energy. (38)

Red thread or yarn is a tremendous ally for those women who are in transition, finding lost pieces, giving any kind of birth, or needing protection of any kind. Working with or wearing something made of red yarn, preferably hand spun or dyed, and, if at all possible, worked by one’s own hands, is a tremendous ally when moving from one level to the next. (39)

The concept and process of knitting as a spiritual exercise to help you grow, become more and other than you are, is extremely appealing to me. Whenever you participate in the act of creating something it is a kind of magic. Using that magic to create yourself, while simultaneously creating a knitted object as solid evidence of that change or creation strikes me as being an extremely powerful way to work magic. It appeals to me as a woman, a crafter and as a priestess.
Bergman, Deborah. The Knitting Goddess: Finding the Heart and Soul of Knitting Through Instruction. New York: Hyperion, 2000.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Another promised picture

I didn't take the picture in black and white...honest.

The shawl is a dark foresty green. I still haven't blocked it. The bluey one I made Rhiannon definately turned out better. Alas.

Faroese Style Homespun Shawl Posted by Hello

Apologies for not posting the pictures together, I am still learning Blogger, and seem to be challenged today.

Promised Pictures

Here's the picture I promised of Morgan's new hat. It started life as a sweater, but it found new purpose on Morgan's head.

There's a lesson in that.


The Hat That Was Once A Sweater Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I did it! I did it! Uh hunh, uh hunh, uh hunh

Since my last update I've actually finished three things.

Rhiannon's shawl was finished last Friday evening at Hermione's coming of age ritual. It is exactly like mine, except that it is a) blue-ish and b) attractive. I don't know why mine didn't turn out as well, but I'm registering a formal protest. Pics will be forthcoming, I promise.

Yesterday, I finished the sweater that my beautiful and talented daughter is modeling below. I actually began it around two years ago (during the first phase of my knitting obsession.) I finished it entirely, up to the neck, and then I put it away and wandered off. I am not entirely sure why, lest it be that the neck is stupid. Two years ago, I didn't have the knitting chutzpah to change a pattern if I didn't like it. Yesterday, I got it out and encountered my first issue. I had the sweater, I had the yarn, I had the needles. I had the pattern. What I did not have was a clear memory of what size I was knitting it in. Happily, there were stitches on a stitch holder at the back of the neck that I could count, and determine the size. Then did issue number two arise. The neck is stupid.

Not one to be conquered by the same inanimate object twice, I put it down and went and whined to my good friend Jess. My knitting confidence thus restored, I went back to the sweater mines with the newly formed motto: Directions are for Sissies!

That's right folks, I just picked up stitches, made a command design decision and vwa-olee, its a sweater.

Morgan sporting her new Color Block Sweater Posted by Hello

And then (you thought I was through, didn't you?) and then, I picked up another sweater that I had abandoned and started to work on it while watching geek TV. I quickly came to two conclusions. The first: intarsia was invented by satan, because he hates us and wants us to suffer. The second: I picked the wrong damn yarn for that sweater. Happily, Koren, who is brilliant, said "Its the right width for a hat. Just decrease it and stitch it up the side." We quickly confered over the numbers and lo! It was a hat. And it was good. And pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself. And I do.

I'll get pictures of the hat up as well.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Being Sick Sucks

I got nothin' much to say, 'cept bein' sick sucks.


I've nearly finished Nan's shawl (that's Rhiannon to the uninitiated), and I've four entire stripes, out of nineteen, done on my Slytherin scarf. I've approximately six inches worth of a cabled band for the halter top I'm designing knitted, and I haven't touched the DNA cable scarf in two weeks.

That's all the news that's fit to print.