Lately as I’ve been in critical identity crisis, due to the fact that the wild around me is literally burnt to a blackened crisp, and will be for quite some time, so alternatively I am spending some healing time retrospectively; going over old photos of myself in the wild, remembering those vibrant wilderness times when I thrived, some even with knitting involved.
In the High Sierras, late 90’s, me, knitting in the wild even way back then, while relaxing in in the late afternoon with my North Face mug full of fresh brewed camp coffee. I tell you, knitting . . . wilderness . . . and coffee all together is just about as good as it gets , and a real defining concept for me. I discovered this photo of my first ever wild-knitted thing, a colorful hat, and in posting it here it is somehow brought back to life…
Perched as usual, on the granite in the High Sierras, with the same North Face plastic camp mug full of delicious coffee. I so loved this hat, I had knit it just for me, and wore it for years. It was packed in my backpack every trip to the Sierras, for those very cold late afternoons when the sun has dropped enough to leave only shadow in the camp, and the chilly evenings and downright frigid mornings at altitude. I lost it on a ski slope somewhere in the Sierras, and can you imagine how sad that was! Ah, but to lose a hat on a mountain trail is a noble loss indeed. I am sure someone found it and took it home with them.
Technical Note: Well, the thing about this photo that is of novel importance, is the fact that I am wearing one of the first-ever things I knit for myself, my hat of many colors, I had knit a series of these pointy tasseled hats, giving them all away to friends & family, but I fondly remember that time of knitting because I didn’t care about gauge or even consistent fabric, was able to blissfully improvise without a pattern. I would use different sized double-pointed needles throughout the shaping, not having a full set of one size, only random ones, including wooden skewers. I remember the magic and ease I felt while I just sort of ‘sketched’ with the yarn , making up color patterns as I went along, from yarns of all blends and sizes, and decreased at random uncounted intervals to make changing improvised motif repeats fit as I knit up. I did not know of or use the two-handed Fair Isle stranding technique I now use, and I suppose at one point I got fairly good at it, likely throwing two on my index finger, and on occasion, one or even two more on my middle finger. And as always I would have my knitting in a bag, I believe this would be myself, knitting in the Canadian Wilderness perched over a wild stream, in 2005.
Well, anyway, I have been renewing my love for the wild lately, walking every day, though maybe not quite as I once was. But yes I was, then and now, a definite Knitter Of The Wild, and I suppose if ever there was one thing that would define me in a single sentence, well, that just may be it.