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Notes from the Studio
Knitting walks. Walking knits. Witting knalks. Knotes from a knitwit.
Walking is a wonderful thing. Windy walks dragging you by the scarf, clear skies tinting the air with low autumnal sun, leaves crunching underfoot, puffs of air in the exhale, and on and on and on..
Actually, it’s exactly that on and on and on that I particularly like. The first bit of walk can feel quite daunting (keys-wallet-phone, finding a pace, a thought to think, a dream to drift, a route to rattle down) and in these early stages of conscious thinking about it, it’s all a bit. Well. Walkie.
.. until! Your feet fall in front of each other, following the lines on the path, the grass, the shoreline, whatever. Your brain has relaxed a bit, taken a back seat. It’s all about rhythm and repetition. A bit like chanting, be that the Krishna verses or the Byzantine chant or a simple “om”, all of this repetition of sound, exhaling of vocal chords, leads to a clarity of mind. It creates space for the one humming, and in its monotony becomes mesmeric as an act. There is space. There is meditation.
This is not unlike knitting1. Yeah! Knitting. This past month I’ve upped the anti with my woollen fiddlesticks, finding the process of knitting to be similar to chanting, and particularly similar to walking. Each loop created is like a footfall; each transfer of the loop is a trace of where one has been. In the beginning, when a whole ball of wool is sat with you, the prospect of knitting so much is like the daunt of a walk. But knit by knit, purl by purl, and in one continuous colour, a rhythm is found - a line is walked, leaving traces of your journey.
I’m specifically pleased with the imperfections occurring along each walk. Caused by knitting in the dark, or in moving transport, or with a distracted mind. A favourite imperfection came at one stage when I invited a friend to learn to knit, and we created a whole extra little “field” of knitting. I then wove this back into the scarf, creating a cool little addition. My natural errors of dropping stitches are kept, and not corrected. I do not wish for these knitted walks to be perfect; what walk is smooth and graceful and without err? In life I trip over and stumble, and in knitting too I reveal this.
Along the way, I will frequently find a little charm - perhaps a little circle (aka a washer), or a shell, something little that my eye is drawn to on an Actual Feet Walk (as opposed to a Knit Walk). I do not dictate or predict what the charm will be; it is with an open, curious mind that I find the most interesting objects to attach to the knitting I am making at the time.
These knitted walks are, to date, monochromatic and each forms the shape of a long scarf. I’ve so far gifted these to friends. I wonder whether you would be interested in having one made for you? A walk in a colour of your choice. Let me know if this is something you’d like, whether for you or a friend!
Or perhaps we could knit together, you knit one part, I knit the other, and we meet in the middle. Like Abramović and Ulay meeting on the Great China Wall.
On the topic of walking, here is a (rubbish quality) snap of a (superior quality) little irish seaside village I visited in October. A magical place where we saw a baby seal, a shooting star, a double rainbow, AND I found my first piece of blue seaglass, something I’ve been seeking for a few years. Magic.
Ah yes, and seeing as this is a “notes from the studio” post, here are some visuals of the early stages of a new painting. It is large scale, which is fun. It’s the most landscape-y painting I’ve made to date. Unintentionally so, I was really just following instinct.
Leaning into organic shapes and making is fun. Discovering through motion. All that jazz.
Pretty sure it’s got something to do with the motions of travelling through the Mountains of Mourne. I didn’t see them in daylight, but felt their presence.
And here are some smaller sketches, inspired by the body in varying spaces. Some smaller scale oil pastel pieces.
That’s all folks. Gotta keep knitting. And add paint to the canvas. And research Tokoro. & Listen to Patti. & Answer my DMs. & Watch stupid dog videos. & Make impromptu hummous. & Remember keys wallet phone. & Ah yes! if you’re still here, you’ll be among the first to know.. I’ve a book being published.. and I’m hand-finishing each one. So that’s also on the to do list. Come at me with podcast ideas pleeease.
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maybe each needle resembles (here) and (now), and when each meet one is present, in the here and now, collating moments of presence… and then one can look back over this collection of moments, seeing the length of wool knitted together.