Thursday, December 13, 2007

On the Permanence of the Self and Knitting

The zen post of the week? I doubt it. But I have been re-infected by the knitting virus, and all I want to do right now is to knit, knit, knit! I want to knit a new world, with better looking presidents! Their noses with be cables, their eyes will be done with intarsia, and their teeth will be long rows of Fair Isle knitting in all tones of yellow!

Did I ever mention that I was forced to knit at school as a very tiny goddess with uncoordinated fingers? Did I mention that the product of my attempts looked like a very large black knot, even though the wool was pink? The teacher used to unravel my work and do it up herself, and in my first report card ever I failed crafts. Failed crafts, at the age of six! Me? This cannot stand, I decided. Well, not really. I decided to hate knitting and crocheting and all those other horrible stuff you do with sharp weapons.

But the school system in Finland forced me to knit socks and mittens, and somehow I learned the techniques without wanting to. This came in handy many years later when I actually decided that crafts can be fun and a way to invert the patriarchal rules for women. (Check out the website listed at the top of this blog for some of my examples.) Since then I have knitted many, many sweaters, vests, cardigans, mittens, scarves and hats, though to this day I will not knit socks, probably because the one pair I was made to knit at school had too narrow ankle openings for an adult foot, yet the length of the foot part was much more than the average shoe size of an adult man. They were snake socks, I guess.

Anyway, to return to the title of this post, when I knit I knit. I hardly sleep, I forget to eat, and I don't care that my fingers ache like hell, because I'm living in this wonderful world where everything is made out of colors and patterns and warmth.

Then, one day, I wake up and wonder what madness overtook me. I put the wools away and sell all my knitting books. And I stay sane for a year or two or even five, and I'm convinced that I shall never knit again. Until the next bout happens.

So the point of this story is that I think the Buddhists have it right. We don't have a permanent self. We have a knitting self and then the sane self which hates knitting.

Do you think this could explain the existence of political parties?

I'm knitting the sweater on the left in that top picture right now. Click on the picture to see it in more detail.