Thursday, January 17, 2008

a barrier? or a blessing?

Lene wrote this in her January 6th post:

"And sometimes, just sometimes, the knitting might be a barrier between the world and me, and then the question is: do I dare to enter the world without my knitting?"

I've been thinking about my own motivations for knitting.

I've always been sort of an introvert. Socially normal, but happiest alone or with one, maybe two special friends. My family is pretty quiet, not boisterous at all, and as a child and adolescent I was always happiest in my room with a book, or sewing on my little Singer featherweight in the basement, or out for a bike ride, alone with my own thoughts. For a few years I basically refused to participate in family stuff like horseback rides or watching movies. I just wanted to be alone.

Books provided a protective barrier in social situations, too. Even in the middle of my big extended family or on a rollicking school bus, I could retreat and be quiet, peaceful, in my own head.

I like knitting for the way it keeps my hands busy, but I've realized rather uncomfortably that even though I still FEEL engaged, knitting affects the investment others perceive from me. My reactions are delayed...I miss touchdowns and plot points and the expressions on faces or in hands when my eyes are buried in what's on my needles.

I need the decompression time that knitting provides, because my job is socially and physically exhausting. But I need the reconnection time with loved ones, too.

I spent Monday in the hospital with my husband. he'd been having chest pains for a few days and they had him in for testing and observation. When it became clear on Monday morning that the symptoms had worsened and I'd be spending the day in one of those infamous hospital hurry-up-and-wait situations, I grabbed a ball of sock yarn and needles on the way out the door. I used the knitting to calm my anxiety...but in doing so, did I shut him out?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In which I drop the in whiches

Each year when I teach my students to write research papers, I talk about plagiarism. There are several types of plagiarism of course--out-and-out stealing...cherry-picking ideas, sentences, or paragraphs...incorrectly citing someone else's ideas, or the most difficult to identify and deal with, unintentional incorporation of something you've read into your own work. Tenth graders, of course, have a hard time finessing a research paper. They often unintentionally plagiarize simply because they are inexperienced writers and they simply don't understand how to paraphrase well --once they read something, they can't think of how else to state it!

Imagine my embarrassment when I was reading Knitty the other week and realized that I have been unintentionally plagiarizing the "in which" beginnings to the articles.

Clearly, this wasn't Amy Singer's idea either, as anyone who's read Winnie the Pooh or 19th century British literature knows. But still. In good conscience, I must desist.

On the knitting front: I finished my Stefanie Japel vest from Fitted Knits (woohoo) and wore it today to school. Ended up dancing a traditional Zimbabwean dance in front of the student body in it, so it stands up well to flopsweat. Go Cascade 220!