Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The other morning, I read on a Ravelry board someone’s post bemoaning the conservatism found in NC, contrasting it to the hippy artsy culture that’s there too. I replied something to the effect that that very difference is a source of strength. I recently posted here on how the diversity of our knitting group is its biggest strength too.

This morning, I wanna look at dichotomy. Polar opposites. Fire and Ice. Light and Dark. Binary’s ones and zeroes. Soft art and hard science. Knits and Purls. You know, the shit that runs through my mind sometimes when I knit.

I’ve often explained to the knitting-curious that it’s all really just two stitches and they’re just pulling loops through loops. About that loop; if you’re going to pull another one through it, you can only do it one of two ways. You can pull it through its front, as you’re looking at it, or through its back. That’s it. That’s your only two options. One is a knit, and the other is a purl.

With those two opposite directions, all the knitted things in the world are made. Those stunning lace shawls so fine they can be drawn through a wedding band, those fussy aran sweaters that identified a sailor’s family, and all those argyle socks with the poke-your-eyes-out colorways. Even the 1980s Bill Cosby Sweaters came from just these two stitches. Knits and purls, man, just knits and purls. That’s all it ever was.

When the Christian god decided to make this world, He started with day and night. The Nordic world was made from the interactions of fire and ice. And our atms and cell phones are ultimately ones and zeroes. Everything is matter or antimatter. Waves or particles, which quantum physics is trying to explain to the world are really the same thing and neither . . . at the same time, lol.

Your knits and purls are also each other, really. The backside of every knit stitch is what? A purl. That little stitch you just made doesn’t exist in a flat two-dimensional world, it’s right here in the 3D world with us, and it has a backside just like us. Conversely, the back of every purl is its knit. Every time you made one of them, you’ve made both.

I saw an episode of Knitty Gritty in which Cat Bordhi was the guest, and in it she described her creation and design process. She looks at hard science, latches onto a scientific concept, and then applies it to her soft art of knitting. Is it any wonder it was her that came up with the Moebius cast-on and the Coriolis sock structure? I haven’t tried that sock yet, but it’s in my queue. I have done the Moebius thing a couple of times, and it borders on eerie, the way it behaves! I just try not to think about how the hell is it doing that??? Star Treky science or magic, one or the other, I’m sure of it.

Our poles pull and push, our warm and cold fronts swirl around each other, and the things we feel keep interjecting into the things we know. Surely you didn’t want to live in a boring, nonreactive, controlled, one-color world? Really? You do know that such a place or state doesn’t exist, don’t you? The real world is a very busy, busy place of interaction. New things leap out of those interactions all the time. You can’t duck all of it.

I will forever maintain my right to evolve, which seems to happen the most when challenged.

Speaking of science, that Purple Drops shawl that’s growing in my brain? I’ve got just one word for my current train of thought – fractals. Stick that in your chaos theory pipe and smoke it!

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