Unraveling My Knitting With Author Alice Hoffman and Knit Designer Lisa Hoffman

July 26, 2017 Musings

While others obsess over Game of Thrones I’m rabidly learning to cast-on, knit, and purl so that I may make a pilgrimage to Ethelridge Road Knitting Salon North in East Nassau, New York to attend Knitting Retreat 2017 with favorite author Alice Hoffman and her knitwear designer cousin, Lisa Hoffman.

Fortunately, every time I make a beginner’s mistake there’s no need to travel far. Savannah’s premier knitting shop, The Frayed Knot, is only four blocks away. We’re on a first name basis now. Betsy has knit since she was a girl and I couldn’t have a better, more patient, teacher. She also has a subtle yet friendly hand with sales and somehow I’ve quickly developed expensive tastes in yarn. The colors, the textures, they’re quite addictive. How did I live without them?

I’ve discovered that when knitters come together in the back of the shop and spend a few hours on their projects they feel safe talking about most anything. It is not unusual to have a college student side-by-side with a seventy-something woman. People come and go as lives allow. Kindness and laughter weave their magic into the stitches. The Frayed Knot’s owner, Jennifer, has set up a lovely, supportive environment and she has bailed me out on more than one occasion when I have dropped a stitch. Now I understand the attraction of the cozy mystery genre involving knitters. There’s alchemy happening in the back of that shop.

Anticipating the upcoming knitting/writing retreat, I’ve been knitting and listening to Alice Hoffman interviews. I found a YouTube video where she answers a writing question at the 35:29 mark by talking about outlines and how she allows hers to change.

I’m knitting two, purling two, when she uses the phrase, “I hate unraveling things,” and that leads to:

“I rewrite a lot. I think of stories as being kind of knitted together. I like the idea about fairy tales especially as being stories that are woven and they’re knitted together…but when you have to take apart your knitting…and put it back together again it’s very difficult and it’s very painstaking and it’s just part of the process. It’s not my favorite part of writing but I think it’s a really important part.”

As a beginning knitter, I’m learning that I don’t just need to learn how to cast-on, knit and purl. The wisdom of painstaking unraveling that Alice Hoffman spoke of is also part of the deal.

I came to grips with it in my writing some time ago but I frequently can’t truly see how the stitches come together in my knitting yet. Still, I’m hooked. And now I’m looking forward to the knitting part of the retreat with Lisa Hoffman just as I am anticipating learning from author Alice Hoffman. I have faith that in knitting, as in writing, it’s all in the doing.