Thursday, March 22, 2007

Because I Can

When I ask my kids why they are doing something that appears to me to be a little strange, (ketchup on salad, running around in a sports bra and sweats, watching senseless violence on TV in the middle of the night) Their response is often, "Because I can." This could be interpreted as a smart-mouthed response from a teenager; or, it can be taken at face value and mean exactly what they said - because I can.

"Because I can", when taken literally, elicits a sense of self confidence, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If only as adults we could hold on to that youthful belief that anything is possible.

Yesterday I found myself resorting to this very logic. I spent the afternoon at the knit shop working on a project for the next issue of Spirit of Knitting. No knitter can pass up the opportunity to take a survey of what others around the table are making. When the question came to me I responded with, "a knitted Frisbee." (I know that Frisbee is a trademarked name. It's knitted incarnation will be renamed before the pattern is published. But admit it, you all know what I am talking about. "Flying disc" would have required a little more processing time." After the looks that we all know translate to why the hell would you do that!, someone asked simply, "Why?" The logical answer was that the pattern is to be included in the next issue of the newsletter. What I said was, "because I can."

In reality, I could knit something that LOOKED like a Frisbee, but the truth is that I had no idea whether or not it would FLY like a Frisbee. And, I would not know until it was completely done. I guess in addition to my prevailing philosophy of because I can, there was also a healthy dose of Elizabeth Zimmermann's advice to "knit on with confidence through all crises." In my case it was only potential crisis - the Frisbee would not fly and I would have to come up with another idea for the upcoming (very soon!) Spirit of Knitting.

I reached the center, pulled the yarn through the last few stitches, and wove in my ends. Now, the moment of truth - the test flight. The shop was quiet so no one would be hurt if my potential Flying machine crashed and burned in the middle of the floor. My daughter stood at one end of the store and I at another; I positioned my wrist just right (this is the key to successful Frisbee launching), said a little prayer, and released the disc of knitted cotton cord. It flew! Deep down I believed that it would but it is always nice when the tests prove your hypothesis.

What would have happened if flight had eluded me? I would have learned that cotton cord Frisbees don't fly; I would have asked myself a bunch of "what else might work" type questions and learned something; I would have had one of those paper plate holders that keeps your hamburger from bending the plate into a yoga position. All of these would have been somewhat beneficial, albeit not the desired, outcomes.

Amidst my heightened state of confidence, I decided to take on another design project. This one came to me last night around midnight. I got out my paper and jotted a few notes, went to the stash to find some yarn that might work, and set about making my swatch.

Here is the yarn - a couple of skeins of Wildflower DK Fancy (43% cotton, 53% acrylic, 4% nylon) and a skein of regular Wildflower DK (51% cotton, 49% acrylic).

How do they determine those percentages? Those of you who know me well will not be surprised at the overwhelming orangeness of my yarn choice.

For now, the new project will remain a mystery. Stay tuned for updates as I knit on just BECAUSE I CAN. Or, maybe the better statement is because I BELIEVE I can.

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