Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Knitting badges

I have decided I am a member of the Cast On Knitting Scout.

Wherein it is acknowledged that members are:

* Not opposed to alcohol.
* Into badges.
* Mostly in agreement that there is no right way to knit.
* Committed to diligent positive and accurate presentation of knitting and knitters, to editors, producers, directors, and those generally presumed to be part of “The Media” in an effort to close the gap of Public Knitting Literacy.

The “Proselytize Knitting” Badge
A requirement for all Knitting Scouts, the recipient must do his or her bit to present knitting in a positive light, whilst at the same time avoiding all references to “hipness”, grandmothers, and yoga.
Text to follow.

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level One)
The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a non-knitting tool in a knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used paper clips as stitch markers, or successfully whittled and then utilized bamboo skewers as dpns.
Paper clips as stitch-markers are very very common in my knitting. And I keep losing all my embroidery needles, so I always use knives, nail-clippers or, in that one ocassion when I had to travel in a plane and I didn't have anything else, my teeth. I think in that ocasion I must have looked very strange, sitting on the floor of the airport, gawning at the bright green yarn, with a brain slug on my lap.

The “Knitting Whilst Under the Influence” Badge
This applies to both actual knitting under the influence, as well as achieving moments of stunning intellectual clarity about one's knitting under the influence. Presumes talking about knitting whilst under the influence a given.
Text to follow

The “I Will Impress You With My Math Prowess” Badge
The recipient is a whiz at substituting yarns and calculating gauge, can space increases and decreases evenly and is fully comfortable with the basic math encountered in all knitting projects.
I have never believed in using the yarn recommended by the pattern, although that might be mainly due to the fact that I can't handle animal fibers, and most projects deal with wool. So I go, pick up a nice non-scratchy yarn and buy it, and more often than not rewrite the entire pattern because of course I don't always check the gauge. And I have succesfully rewritten Thuja from the size 9 they are (which I knitted for my boyfriend) to a size 5-6 (for my mum and my boyfriend's mum1).

The “I Will Crush You With My Math Prowess” Badge
The recipient has applied the principles of higher mathematics to knitting including, but not limited to hyperbolic planes, Fibonacci sequences, Klein bottles, Moebius strips, fractals and Flying Spaghetti Monster hats.
I will blind you with my real rocket science! I am an aeronautical engineering programming satellites, and I kept sane through the end of my degree and how much it burnt me by knitting. Fibonacci sequences, binary patterns, brain slugs. Jayne hat coming up soon, as well as a FMS (all hail his noodly appendage) to pay the brain slug some company. You said you wanted a launch algorithm? Sure, I'll bring it on as I get these cables done!

The “Knitting Got Me Through My Divorce” Badge
Better for you than wine, easier to care for than a houseful of cats, knitting probably kept you busy, and definitely kept you sane, while you navigated your way back to single life. You’re better off without him/her, honey.
I have never been married, so I cannot have a divorce. But I did have a divorce from my sanity. One day, I woke up and my sanity was gone, and I was broken, depressed, and crying incontrollably. So, as I started to look for my sanity, I started knitting a scarf for my boyfriend. And then a pretty top. And then a toy. And then socks. And then, at some point in between a yarn over, a purl and a k2tog, my sanity started coming back more and more often for visits. And I think it might have liked my knitting, because it kept staying for longer visits. At the moment, it stays over most of the time, and only goes away ocasionally, but it's a much better arrangement. I don't think I would have been bearable during the worst part of my depression if, when I was panicking or down, I wouldn't have been able to pick up the needles and get lost in a world in which I could make pretty things happen out of the chaos, and had to pay attention to the stitches rather than the clouds around me. Given that I'm not at the point of slowly getting of meds, I think I have earned this badge, marriage or not.

With grateful thanks to Zabet Stewart and the Science Scouts at Science Creative Quarterly, whose badges I will do one of these days.

1 How do you recon she should be called? mother-in-leaving-together, mother-in-sharing? or shall I just go for mother-in-not-law? I like that, mother-in-not-law. I'll have to pass it by Alex.

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