Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Knitter's Almanac

Last night I was at the bookstore to pick up a book for you-know-who, and I finally found a copy of The Knitter's Almanac. Y'all, you must bask in the brilliant simplicity that is Elizabeth Zimmermann. I curled up with the book last night on the couch, and I could hear her patient, Very British voice in my head discussing knitting, and it felt like having coffee with my gran. You remember me talking about my grandmother, right? Her name was Margaret, she was from Stavanger, Norway, and she was a very good knitter and crochet-er, with a lovely Scandanavian sing-song accent and a northern European practicality that was passed down to my mother and to me (in some respects, though obviously it has not affected my attitude toward purses and lipsticks).

Anyway, reading EZ is like I remember sitting in my gran's kitchen with a cup of coffee that was mostly milk and listening to her and my mother talking. Comforting, sensible, and simple.

One of my favorite concepts in life is that things can be very simple without necessarily being easy. Christianity is like that - very simple, but not easy. It's one of the reasons why most Christians try to add to what it actually says. "Love each other as I have loved you" is very simple. But easy? No. So we come up with a lot of ideas and notions about how we are actually really doing that, when maybe we aren't. We complicate things.

That's John 15:12, in case you're wondering. I've been a christian for about 13 years now and I have absolutely no idea how exactly to do that, so I just keep trying to muddle through. Knit the next stitch, so to speak.

It's rainy - I guess I'm introspective. Happy October 11! Hee hee.


Anonymous Malena said...

Enjoy reading your blog, Jen. I'm a relatively new knitter, never enough time to work on the projects I want! Reading about your grandmother - what good memories. Did you visit her home town? As a teen I lived across the way from Stavanger, in Sandnes. We used to go to the "American" store & do shopping in Stavanger. Beautiful country. Everyone knits.

1:16 PM  
Blogger lorinda said...

Thanks for that lovely reflection on EZ, simplicity and living the Christian life. I needed that reminder.

1:41 PM  
Blogger gray la gran said...

living and knitting under any umbrella can be difficult and unexpected. let the rain fall :)
i too love my EZ books. she sure had a knack for making things (seem) as easy as breathing!
i don't claim to be anything in particular when it comes to religion. i come from a background of strict catholics and supernatural unexplainable occurances. i so embrace all the mysterious stories of curses and gypsies, as well as the sightings of god and saints ... the stories my grandmother has told me. some of my friends think i'm crazy that i do believe these stories. but i do. it's simple. and i believe my grandmother when she tells them to me. maybe i should say i believe she believes. that's good enough for me.
in the meantime, as i muddle through my knitting and life, i embrace (most) all things, things and beliefs different from mine.
and today, it's cloudy here ... i think the rain is on its way. and then a cold front! and then, sweaters!

2:35 PM  
Blogger Magatha said...

I would love to have known your Grandmother Margaret (I'm a Margaret too). In my hometown we had a shop called "The Scandinavia Shop". As a kid I loved to visit there for all the great folk art and Christmas decorations year round. I loved the owner's "sing song" voice. I don't remember any knitting in the shop, but I do remember a lot of cross stitch embroidered items, like aprons and dishtowels. And hand painted everything!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

I want that book.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Do you also have Knitting Without Tears? That and Knitter's Almanac are my two very favorite EZ books.

6:56 PM  

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