Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
If you can believe it, I love words even more than I love knitting. A lot more, in fact. Knitting may be my daily bread, but language is my lifeblood.
Imagine, then, my delight when these two loves collide. I have become a collector of knitting words, and you'd be surprised how many there are, once you get to looking.
I'm especially fond of idioms. To call out just a few, we have knitted brows, tight-knit families, and broken bones knitting themselves back together again. "Stick to your knitting" has multiple meanings, some controversial in modern society.
Shakespeare often used knitting metaphors. Hearts are "knit with an unslipping knot", oaths taken "by that which knitteth souls and prospers loves", enemies "all knit up in their distractions". I particularly love the knitting words in Macbeth: "Macbeth doth murder sleep, the innocent sleep/sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care . . . "
There's knitting in the Bible, too. Hearts are encouraged, having been "knit together in love", and one man's soul can be "knit to" another in common purpose.
Novels are full of knitting. A recent favorite passage is this one from Laurie Halse Anderson:
“I knit the afternoon away. I knit reasons for Elijah to come back. I knit apologies for Emma. I knit angry knots and slipped stitches for every mistake I ever made, and I knit wet, swollen stitches that look awful. I knit the sun down. ” I purely love that image of knitting the sun down.
Overwhelmingly, it seems, wordsmiths agree. Knitting has positive implications: healing, restoring, mending, securing, connecting. Just as we're getting all cozy, though, along comes Bob Dylan to shake things up.
Do you know his song "Tombstone Blues"? If not, you should definitely check it out, because he gives us a nun named Jezebel who " . . . violently knits/a bald wig for Jack the Ripper who sits/at the head of the Chamber of Commerce".
But reading the words is never enough. You gotta hear 'em and see 'em.