Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Adventures in Time Travel

Doctor Who Scarf
Originally uploaded by craftytails
Ages ago (actually three years, to be more precise), I decided to take up knitting. What first began as a frustrating hobby that I was sure to neglect within a year turned into a consuming obsession. My first requested item from a friend was, of course, a Doctor Who scarf. This show is one of the strongest childhood memories that I have managed to clearly maintain. My mother and I would stay up very late at night in order to catch back-to-back episodes with our favorite "doctor", Tom Baker, on PBS. I remember staring longingly at the pledge drives with tons of memorabilia and wanting a TARDIS coffee mug, long before I drank coffee.

I never once forgot how much I loved the idea of the time-traveling James Bond-like character. When Tower Books in NYC closed down, I raided their shelves, buying so many books that it took several trips on the F train to bring them home. One of them was The Boy Who Kicked Pigs.

When I began knitting, it was no surprise that my friend Brian wanted a Tom Baker scarf. Knowing little about yarn and knitting in general, I dutifully picked up the suggested yarn and started working on the project. Months passed. More than nine months, if I recall correctly. Thus, I embarked on the never-ending garter stitch torture.

I learned several things about myself during this process. The first is that I am a multi-project knitter. I cannot work straight through one item and then pick up another. In order to finish anything, I must have a variety of things going at the same time. Another side effect I expected. Knitting the same stitch over and over for what felt like an eternity helped my tension and comfort level with needles and yarn improve. You can tell where I began the scarf and where it ended. The last thing I learned was the concept of finishing a project. I am quite adept at beginning something and then dropping it when the going gets rough. Brian bought the yarn and I was determined to not let him down.

One day, I finally completed the scarf and attached the fringe. The outcome is pictured here. Due to the time and effort needed, I did not want to mail it to my friend. Instead, I brought it with me when I went to Anime Boston for work. I could not have received a better reaction. He is very reserved when he is excited, but his wife later told me that the scarf is carefully preserved in plastic to avoid being eaten by moths. The very idea that something I made with my hands is a cherished possession is the best reason to keep soldiering onward, learning new techniques and finally becoming proficient in a craft. I still get frustrated and upset when I don't understand something, but I always remember how terrifying I found the entire process when I started the scarf. Garter stitch is a breeze now, and other techniques will feel just as comfortable in time.

Note: The model in the photo is not my friend Brian. He is a vicious, evil man who attempted to steal the scarf after the pictures were taken. I would have taken a swing at him if he wasn't so much taller than I am and, unfortunately, one of my best friends.

1 comment:

Dr. Lemiwinks said...

The Scarf fucking rocks!

I used it alot in the winters in Boston. It's the warmest thing I've got. I just moved down and was afraid I might loose it so I packed it in with my laptop so I knew exactly where it is. I although was afraid to wear it in the rain for fear that it might get wet and "break" it. So I only wear it on clear days and will pop it into my backpack if it starts to rain. Snow that's not too wet seems to be okay and comes right off without dampening the scarf. I packed my hats in a box. I wasn't about to pack it in a box.

The scarf seriously rocks. I'd be heart broken if anything happened to it. I know it took you a LONNNNNNNG time to knit so I'm always careful with it. I believe you said to roll it up when not in use so that's what I've been doing for the last few years.

I put it up there with the coolest thing I have. Right up there with Ray Bradbury's signature and my grand mothers engagement ring.

I'm hoping to pass it on to Jacob some day. I could never sell it. That would be like auctioning off a leg?