So this thing happened a while ago. I was working on the baby blanket for Hannah, and I showed it to Meghan (my therapist). She was kind of floored by it. I was like, “Well, you just go around and around on double-pointed needles, and these holes here are how you add stitches to it when you switch needles. Then later you add more stitches, and that makes it ruffle-y. It’s just yarn-overs.” She told me that she couldn’t knit, and I didn’t believe her. I amended it to “You don’t know how to knit yet.”
Or like another time Noah asked me if I built bikes – I’ve got three bikes that I ride (one for commuting, one for touring, and one for going fast) and I’ve put just about every part of each one where it is myself, including installing two out of three headsets and lacing and truing four of my six wheels. I told Noah no I don’t build bikes, because I don’t know how to weld – I don’t build frames.
I have this kind of huge tendency to think that anybody else could be coming up with and doing the same things that I do. Like here’s another story – the other day Scott was telling me about James Turrell, who bought himself a crater in New Mexico and has been transforming the shape of it with bulldozers so that when you’re in the bottom of it it feels like the sky is upside down. Through a random coincidence I already knew about this – an ex went to school with his daughter, who got married in the crater. But what I thought was, “Oh, that’s funny, I know another story about an artist with a crater.” Like somehow my assumption was that a whole bunch of artists had craters – New Mexico must be full of them. Oh, that Spiral Jetty!
In a sense, it is just yarn-overs. I’m attracted to simple, do-able, low-talent, low-tech, often economically impossible forms of art-making. Knitting is really simple and repetitive, which is part of why it’s so great. Just about anybody with a ton of time on their hands who can knit in the round can follow the pattern to make the anemone blanket – even the fringey bits are just cast-on-bind-off.
But also obviously the stuff I do is way more than yarn-overs. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where this all comes from – the it’s-just-yarn-overs thing touches down all over the place in my life, like punk rock, my family, my super-awesome grandpa, and my ideas about what art is what I want to use it for and why I do all this crafty, arty, fixit stuff in the first place.
This is gonna be super long, so I’ll stop here for now, but I’m gonna keep poking at it and see what happens. Stay tuned.