Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday's Children - Knitting and Plotting

I love knitting. I'm not particularly good at it, but I do love it. I love the yarn, the patterns, the finished products, the needles and the sound of the needles. There's nothing more soothing and inspiring than the sounds of clicking needles - particularly the metal ones.


When I was a kid I used to fall asleep to the sound of my mom and/or my gram knitting. I'd usually let my mind wander and tell myself little stories as I drifted off. My gram is gone now, but I still get that drifty feeling whenever I hear my mom knit. Often if I have trouble with a plot, I'll bust out the knitting needles and work on a project while I think it through. The sound and the rhythmic motion are great for plotting. Granted, I only make slippers, scarves and blankets, but they serve their purpose warmth and plot-wise.

While I was writing this post, I happened to look down at the sweater I'm wearing and I realized that knitting really is like plotting. If you drop a stitch, you lose the pattern, much like if you drop a plot thread, you lose cohesion in your story.

Stories, like patterns, can be as intricate as you want. Obviously, the more complicated ones are going to require more time and effort, but any well crafted project is worth it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a new book to write and that's going to require a bit of knitting first.

By the way, these pictures are all patterns from sweaters my amazing mom made for me. Without following a pattern because she's just that good.

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20 comments:

  1. When I was a kid, I used to fall asleep to the sound of my father typing. He writes, too.

    I don't know how to knit, but you make me want to try it.

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    1. I love the sound of typewriters - I think I'd find that comforting too. :) Knitting's definitely fun...and sometimes frustrating. :D

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  2. Wow, your mom is a knitting genius! While I'm pretty artsy, I am definitely not at all crafty (in the sewing/knitting sense of the word). It does seem that repetitive physical motions, whether it's walking, running, or knitting, triggers some creative juice flow to the brain. Good luck with that new WIP!

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    1. She *is* a knitting genius. She can even knit in the dark while watching a movie. o.O Thanks - I'm excited about getting moving on it. :)

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  3. Wow. You're mom is amazing!! I'm impressed. I've never learned to knit, but my daughter has made some scarfs and stuff. I think working on anything creative motivates that area of our brains and can help with our writing. Love the analogy you drew between knitting and plotting-so true!!

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    1. She amazes me, too. :) I think you're absolutely right - creativity begets creativity! :)

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  4. Love it! It really is an apt metaphor for plotting, isn't it? Also, I am in awe of your mom- those pics are incredible!

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  5. YES.... I'm a huge plotter. And I love weaving plot threads in and out of each other... like one of your finely knitted sweaters :)

    But I do like knitting in surprises here and there. I find that always makes for a more interesting pattern ;)

    Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. I like the surprises too - maybe that's why I don't knit as well as she does...just like I don't plot as tightly as some people do. Hmmm...

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  6. Can I just get your mom to knit for me? I'm a runner...much easier to lose yourself in figuring out a story when it's something that's just automatic... though I suppose some people would argue running isn't automatic. But it's the same principal. The sound of your footsteps on the trail, the steady breathing...all allow you to drift.

    Great post and I love the sweaters...

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    1. I might be one of those people who says that running isn't natural. ;) But I think it's that ability to lose yourself to the rhythm of what ever you're doing that frees up the brain.

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  7. Lovely post. Your mom is definitely amazing. I love to watch her work that yarn while carrying on a conversation, often without looking at her hands. My mom knits now, but when I was growing up she sewed a lot. She made most of my clothes and some for my brothers, too. I'd fall asleep to the sound of her sewing machine. I'd smile and drift off, dreaming of the beautiful dress I would soon be able to wear. And like a writer, she needed to make sure all the pieces fit together perfectly before the garment was finished.

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    1. I used to drift off to the sound of the sewing machine too. And I used to make a lot of my kids' clothes. But I'm not sure they're very fond of that noise, though. :)

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  8. What a great metaphor. Reminds me of "The Lady of Shalott"--one of my favourite poems. My mom tried to teach me how to knit but I'm afraid I never had the patience for it. I think I successfully completed one piece of needlework and that kind of depends on your definition of "success" ;-)

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    1. Oh, I love The Lady of Shalott - absolutely gorgeous poem. Hey...you finished the project. I'm pretty sure that counts as a success. :D

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  9. I'd never thought of it that way before, but it's so true. Especially as I dropped a few threads here and there in the last MS, and it looks a lot better when I picked them back up! Love the sweaters--amazing work.

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  10. The way you described the clicking of the needles and falling asleep to that sound, just made me smile. It's such a special memory. My mother and grandmother (who I practically lived with) didn't knit. But this post made me think back to those days and my own memories of sounds and smells. Thank you!

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  11. I'm so glad this brought back lovely memories for you you. :)

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