Friday, July 24, 2009

Cookie A. In The Classroom: Day One

Last night I popped by HCW to sit in for a bit on Cookie A.'s first in a series of classes this week. As I mentioned before, Cookie is a Sock Rock Star. I have to admit, when I first heard her name, for me it conjured an image of somebody's nice old Jewish bubbie. In fact, Cookie is young and hip.

Last night's class, The Perfect Rib, focused on how to make a ribbing work just right with complex (for me, anyway) sock patterns. As she stood at the white board sketching out schemes for understanding ribbing, I had a bit of an epiphany. For longer than I can remember, I've wished I were bilingual. Learning another language has been on my to-do list forever, and I swear I will reach that goal before I die. My partner is trilingual and this is, in great part, why I know a few words of Hebrew and a few more in Spanish. But, until last night anyway, I considered myself uni-lingual.

But as I listened to Cookie discuss how K2together slants one way and SSK slants the other, and as I heard her speak in the shorthand of knit, it occurred to me that a decade of knitting has left me knowing a different sort of language. I remember, when I first started, hardly understanding "garter stitch." Anything other than plain scarves totally intimidated me. Then, very, very slowly, through taking classes, reading knitting magazines, and eavesdropping at the shop as other customers had problems solved by the staff, I picked up a bunch of terminology. And so I understood what I was hearing and it thrilled me.

The Language of Knit doesn't stop with words, though. I also realize I can-- if only a little for now-- read charts. And I have, to a certain extent, come to comprehend the concepts of structure and engineering that are applied to making something like a sock work. In that sense, I had a flashback to high school algebra. Now algebra might not get some of you excited, but I was a total math geek, zipping through my lessons, moving on to advanced classes ahead of a lot of my peers. It was exhilarating for me each time I grasped one new idea or another, each time I got an equation to work.

Which is all to say that I realize that knitting makes my head feel big and smart and excited. Don't get me wrong-- I still love to always keep at least one incredibly simple project going along with whatever else I'm working on. This I do in the interest of meditation and also having something I can comfortably work on when I'm in a conversation or at the movies. But I also like to have at least one more tricky project happening at all times, too, so I can get that thrill of learning what, for me, feels like the equivalent of understanding irregular French verbs.

I took a few photos of the class-- see below-- which included a chance to see a ton of utterly gorgeous socks. We'll post some more photos soon, as Cookie's classes continue.


lindar said...

Great info, Spike. Wish I were able to have taken the class. Thanks for filling us in. The photos make "socks" look super exciting!

Valerie said...

I took the class and loved it. I now think about ribs in a whole new way. This approach to ribs will help me other knitting projects besides socks.

Everyone should take this class if you ever get the chance.