Dante’s Knitferno

May 17, 2006

My post about hell was another digression from what I started to tell you. I was going to liken knitting to Dante’s Inferno. Once in, Dante and his guide (Virgil) traversed nine levels of Hell (and its 34 sub-levels).

Isn’t knitting like that? Not hellacious, but like Dante’s guide leading us deeper and deeper in until there’s no escape. We are forced to spend eternity knitting, knitting, knitting.

Each level was seemingly so innocent. “Just knit this one scarf, it’ll be fun!” Then it was “Why don’t you take a class to improve your skills?”

You were getting further in, and you didn’t even know it. Much like the prey eaten by a snake, it doesn’t know it is being ingested until it’s too late.

Then came the need, not want, need for more. “I have to buy this yarn, this pattern, these needles, this bag.”

Further and further in.

You learned different ways to cast on, didn’t you? Then it was new stitches, new gauges, new projects. Your first sweater, your first felting.

The day came when the ladies in the LYS knew you by name. Now they think of you when certain yarns arrive. They start making your coffee when you hit the door.

You’ve run out of places to hide your stash from your family. Boxes from eBay and KnitPicks and Handpaintedyarn arrive daily. The credit card bills grow and grow and grow.

You sleep less. Who needs sleep when you can knit? You want someone to invent a way so you can eat while you knit. Or knit and knog concurrently. You make friends with strangers online who share your passion and you feel perfectly justified to feel knitted garments of passersby on the street (like people used to touch your belly when you were pregnant).

Further and further in.

You say yes to challenges that never interested you before. Things you actually deemed ugly and mocked others for wearing. Fair isle sweaters, Aran cabled sweaters, Intarsia, and socks. Yes you did. I know it, because my story is yours.

You buy a swift and a yarn winder. Then roving and dye. You learn to spin, like some throwback to prairie days. You attend conferences. And your collection of knitting paraphernalia grows and grows.

You join clubs and secret pals and swaps so you can have more, share more and learn more. You sniff yarn. You turn up your nose at acrylic. You don’t mind handwashing anymore.

You become a whiz at knogging and posting photos. You check other knogs daily and are disappointed when your peeps don’t dish. Your Amazon wishlist is full of knitting books, and if someone doesn’t buy them for you, you buy them yourself. You show up at author signings bearing your UFOs and FOs. You leave “lessons learned” in chat rooms.

Further and further in.

In short, there’s no escape. You are fully and firmly esconced. Maybe today it’s level one–a scarf, a handbag. But before long, my pretty, you’ll be down here with the rest of us–knittting like we’re on fire for eternity.

But unlike Dante and the denizens of Inferno, we’ll be loving it.


One Response to “Dante’s Knitferno”

  1. mo Says:

    You are funny! But what is funnier is the spelling on that love note that your daughter received! That is too too funny! My son is in kindergarten and one of his freinds mom told me that she has been telling people he is her boyfriend and writing his name with hearts around it. KINDERGARTEN. He would be mortified to know he is someones boyfriend so I didn’t share it with him.

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