Saturday, 14 June 2008

Why Knit?

I listened to a podcast this morning, an interview with the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. In the interview Stephanie says that she feels knitting speaks especially to those who are for whatever reason not part of the mainstream, and that it inspires confidence in them. Her comment was that a knitter cannot help but look down into their lap and be inspired by the evident skill that created the beautiful item currently on the needles.

As usual, Stephanie hit the nail smack dab right on the head, at least for me. As a tall white female living in Japan I'm not quite mainstream. Definitely not quite mainstream! That doesn't bother me. I love living in Tokyo. And yet, the daily challenge of having to function in a foreign language (albeit one I speak with some level of ability) does wear me down. I'm a perfectionist but I have to live with the fact that whatever I say, whatever I write, will have some mistake in it. I take classes in Japanese, write papers in Japanese, have academic conversations in Japanese, do translations to and from Japanese, have had lessons in reading historical documents that your average native Japanese speaker can't read, and am about to start writing my MA thesis in Japanese. But my abilities in the language are FAR from perfect. I know that and it doesn't really bother me most of the time. But being able to look at a scarf I've knit for a friend (while the scarf is obviously not perfect either), is a wonderful feeling. It makes me feel a lot better about my abilities. It isn't just about function, just about getting my point across, but about beauty.

As Stephanie said, that confidence, that satisfaction spills out into the non-knitting side of life. Having finished a scarf for a friend I am filled will a feeling of accomplishment and suddenly that oral presentation next week doesn't seem quite so impossible after all...

1 comment:

  1. Hiya again!
    Remind me to tell you about Ann's friend, Naomi, an Israeli I met in Aberystwyth. She had us over for tea after dinner on night, and that's when I noticed that's she's an avid knitter, so I told her all about your knitting. I will send you a photo I took of her and Ann (who was pretending to knit).
    love, C