By GERARDO MEDINA
This post was written as an assignment for Professor Brynn Saito's multi-genre MFA-level writing workshop, WRC 7093. In this class, students produce new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, while reflecting on their lives, influences, and processes as artists and writers.
Since my first blog on knitting, published on September 20, I have continued my meditations. In fact, after the initial post, I had the opportunity to listen to some classmates, many of whom were experiencing difficult times in their personal lives. I was amazed at how well they were coping with their adversities. One student said something to the effect that sometimes relationships change beyond our control.
Because the image of the mixed fiber scarf was so fresh in my mind, my thoughts came back to it... in the case of knitting, whether using mixed fibers or not, sometimes we need to let the yarn dictate itself; but even then, we have patterns to give us structure and no matter what happens in the end, it’s still part of the tapestry of our lives.
The images below are all in simple garter stitch but with different yarns:
I have a lot of gratitude in my knitting practice, much like I do with my yoga practice. In fact one instructor shared with me that one interpretation of tantra is “to loom." With as broad a definition as that, I understand how knitting is often compared to yoga, as it offers opportunities to meditate and slow down an often busy lifestyle. Yet another instructor, Sean Haleen, once posted, “Yoga is nothing you’re meant to believe in or subscribe to. Rather the teachings are meant to help you remember what you already know or have forgotten.” That explains in many ways how I feel about my knitting practice.
With this in mind, I would like to present you with 10 rules that were part of my manifesto assignment from MFA Professor Cindy Shearer’s Writing as Art class. The assignment was to create a visual representation of our own manifesto.
1. There is no right or wrong way to knit.
2. Every yarn has its purpose: organic, acrylics, novelty, muted colors.
3. Conscious TINK*-ing can help you move forward as you go back.
4. Frogging ** can be fun but not everyday.
5. Anchors aweigh! Anchor your work with scrap yarn if you don’t feel comfortable in your abilities. It can save you time from starting all over if you anchor frequently.
6. Laugh, breathe, sing: a little distraction can help you move forward if you get stressed about the “perfection” of your knitted piece.
7. Make room for yarn everyday. This one's not actually mine but from Knitting Daily; the point is, practice a little often and even the biggest project seems small.
8. Do what you can do, leave the rest for someone else: I stole this from yoga. In short, don’t compare your work to that of others, focus on your abilities. If you can go further, challenge yourself, don’t be challenged by others.
9. Contrary to #7: It’s OK to leave unfinished projects. Knitting should be a joy not a chore, if you don’t feel inspired, it’s OK not to be consciously knitting.
10. Keep your knitting within sight. This goes hand-in-hand with number #7 and complements #9. Even if you are not knitting, have it within sight so it’s still on your mind.
Here are some images of the actual manifesto box:
In an after thought to this project, I really did feel that knitting is not a “manifesto” in my life but rather a manifestation of myself and how I feel about many things around me. As I move forward and continue weaving my tapestry in the Writing and Consciousness MFA program, I am really excited to see what happens in the end when it’s time to bind off my project.
*TINK is knit backwards. It’s a good way to go back to your mistake (a dropped stitch, e.g.) without having to start all over. You can practice your dexterity as you go back.
**Frogging has its place, like testing out a new pattern, for example, but your yarn can get damaged if you “rip it” (ribbit) too often.