Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Because It's There

I've never been sure about what to think about that quote from Edmund Hillary. Why climb a mountain? 'Cuz that's what they're for! Why not climb them...apart from the crevices, avalanches, altitude sickness, frost bite and other painful-sounding-potentially-horribly-lethal obstacles... I totally get that, over the course of human history, people have done some climbing - to escape from enemies, find new territory, retrieve an extra copy of the Ten Commandments (stupid golden idol party!), get reading lessons from angels or whatever. I think it's safe to say that modern mountain climbers don't have any of those things on their agenda. Doesn't it seem a bit odd to do something so expensive in terms of time and energy and other resources when you don't have to?

Take knitting for instance (Hah! I bet you didn't see that coming!). Ok, it's not dangerous - unless you're severely uncoordinated and poke an eye out or something like that - I'll grant it does have that advantage over climbing. But in the industrialized world, knitting, like climbing, is pretty much just a big ole time suck. There are machines that do this sort of thing you know, quickly and cheaply. In comparison, handknitting is slow, expensive, and completely unnecessary. I have yet to hear of a "John Henry" (or given the demographic in question, a "Joan Henrietta") of knitting that could keep pace with even a low-end knitting machine. I'm not really willing to risk a bunch of knitter heart attacks to test this out empirically, but it's probably safe to say machine knitting won that race hands down long ago. Plus think of the cost of even one modestly-sized, relatively simple handknit item. It doesn't seem worth it, really, does it? I mean, is "just because" a good reason to do something?

Now I do love my free time. Like most people I know, I have a job which, with my commute, takes up about half of my day. Then sleep takes up a big chunk of time too. Can't do too much about that one either, nor would I want to. That leaves me with about 4-6 hours of unscheduled time. That's not very much, if you think about it. That probably explains why it seems so precious. It's my time, to spend as I choose. So why do I spend time on an unnecessary activity like knitting? Maybe Hilary's quote and the title of this post should really be, "because nobody made me." Yeah, that's why I'm on the top of this stupid mountain with only three toes left to my name. It's not altitude-induced euphoria; I'm genuinely happy. I didn't have to do it. But I did it anyway. Cuz I wanted to. So there.

Here are some of my current self-gratifying little expeditions:

1. Hand Spindling
I recently showed a few people how to spin with top whorl spindles, which got me to revisit my own long-neglected spindling. The fiber is bamboo I found at Springwater. It's a bit tricky to spin but I luuuurve the faint celery color!

2. Dyeing
The darker skein on the right is multi-tone and the lighter one on the left is a mostly-solid minty green, both made with icing dye.

Anyone know a good sherpa?

1 comment:

Cass said...

What a wonderful post!!! And love the pic of your dog. :)