Over the last few months I have found a few blogs talking about knitting competitions. Knit a shawl over a weekend and things like that. Yes, I know we are in a competitive world and we always want to knit prettier, better than others. We are always comparing ourselves with Fair Isle knitters that had to knit to make a living and to Russian knitters who’s food on the plate depended/depends on how many shawls they could knit to sell.
Is knitting faster really what we are after? Are we trying to preserve a beautiful craft and unearth patterns from the past to avoid loosing them altogether? Are we encouraging amazing designers or our era like Mim, Norah, Sharon, Valerie and others that do such amazing work? Are we trying to tell the world that we exist as a community? Are we trying to help the finances of those that make real efforts to supply the yarn that we use and the fibers and tools that we love and need? Or are we trying to end up with carpal tunnel syndrome or permanent tendon damage just to demonstrate that we can knit faster than others regardless of the final result?
I have thought about this for several days, and the conclusion I have come to is that my attitude towards these silly competitions is a combination of the love I have for my fiber crafts, the desire to get others involved so they can also enjoy the wonderful hours that I get from it and the physician in me, or maybe it is just a “wiser” attitude towards life that age brings.
You would not believe how many muscles we have in our hands, tiny little ones each one with a specific function. As with other muscles in the human body, they have to be trained, exercised and cared for. Straining your hands to knit at a speed that they are not used to will only cause pain and damage, permanent or not. Would you go out to run a marathon without the proper training? More likely not.
Doing things like this will only make people turn away from what is a wonderful relaxing and joyful “hobby”. Those of you that do it for a living will more than likely knit faster, more evenly and “better” what ever better might mean here. Would you risk your hands?
So let’s get real, this is not a speed competition. If we do want to make a competition out of it, let’s do it on color, technique, finishing, overall on quality.
I knit faster than many people I know, but I have been doing it for more years than I care to admit and still I would never risk my hands. Let's enjoy what there is to enjoy!