“The mystery of knitting … remains a mystery” was published in April 2017 on The Christian Science Monitor by Murr Brewster. Her essay went viral and became our prompt this week.
That’s just freaky. Because knitting makes no sense at all. A knitter, by definition, creates holes by surrounding them with string, using sticks, a clickety-clickety noise, locally sourced air, and goodness.
Those of us who suspect we are not innately good can barely aspire to the art. And yet, I so aspired. I wanted a hat.
I bought a ball of string and some sticks and I found a tutorial online. After stopping the video four or five hundred times, I cast on 50 stitches. Then, staring hard, and trying to make my sticks and string match up to the video, I succeeded in making an entire knit stitch.
Then I made another one. And somehow, with great care and deliberation, I soldiered my way to the end of the row, 50 knits in a line. It was a triumph of historic proportions.
Slow, yes; challenging, sure; and yet majestic and powerful. I felt like Hannibal marching his elephants across the Alps into Italy.
I consulted the tutorial. They don’t warn you about this when you’re learning how to knit, so I’ll tell you now: You can’t just learn to knit. You have to learn to purl, also.
“Hit the boats!” I heard Hannibal shout. “We’re headed to Sardinia!”
Nuts! I studied the video again, and I manufactured a single purl stitch, and then another, and eventually rowed my way back to the beginning. According to the calm and cheerful woman in the video, that’s all there is to it. If you can make a knit stitch, and you can make a purl stitch, you’re on the road to glory. You can make cable-knit trousers for an octopus. I was beginning to be suspicious of her, but I carried on.
Our prompt, based upon this article, was first to study it and discover what made it work, and not work. We explored:
- Storytelling structure: Does it have the right storytelling structure? What is the structure?
- Audience: Who is the writer talking to? What does it tell us about the audience?
- Purpose: What is the purpose of the article? What does it tell us about the author?
- What tools were used: How were metaphor, simile, humor, drama, and other writing and storytelling tools used?
The next part of the prompt was to write something based upon this example and use humor.