Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blades and Needles

My friends know that I’m a huge New Jersey Devils fan. They are puzzled by this since the Devils are an ice hockey team, a sport associated with blood and fistfights while I am in general a very mild-mannered civilized individual. So why do I like hockey?

First, it’s the speed (which is why I find baseball excruciatingly boring). Everything in hockey happens fast and furiously. But what I really adore is the intensity. Because play moves so quickly the players have a ferocious focus and I find that, well, sexy. Look at a photo of Martin Brodeur, the Devils amazing goalie, and notice his blue eyes burning through the bars of his face mask. That man can almost keep a puck out of the goal just by glaring at it. Very hot! (Just think of the sock-knitting possibilities for an ice hockey player.)

(Note: Last night, Brodeur saved 37 of 38 shots to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Wahoo!)

That’s what I love about reading and writing romance too: the intensity. There is nothing more focused than two people falling in love. We talk about love in metaphors of lightning and oceans and other enormous forces of nature because it’s that intense.

So I knit to counterbalance the intensity. When I watch the Devils on television I always have my knitting in my lap so I can pick it up during commercials and between periods. (No, I don’t take my needles to games because I’d probably get laughed out of the arena.) The click of the needles lets me relax and re-gather my energies to cheer on my team when the game starts up again. It channels all my pent-up jubilation (if they’re winning) or frustration (if they’re losing) into something constructive and peaceful.

Maybe that’s why so many writers knit as well: to even out the highs and lows, to regroup and recharge, and, possibly, to make something tangible in addition to creating castles in the air.

Why do you knit?


Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Nancy - I've only briefly looked at hockey and haven't gotten hooked for exactly the reason you like it - the sheer speed of it leaves me lost. I love baseball because of the intricacy of it and yet, it doesn't require my complete focus. With a few exceptions, I can knit on any pattern, even intricate lace, while watching a baseball game. I like that.

As to why I knit, I'm not sure I could say. I've always done needlework of some kind. Embroidery, knitting, quilting, sewing - there's always something. I like that I can knit while talking to my husband or taking a walk or watching TV. I like the rhythm of it, the portability of it. It fits into my life right now. Maybe it's as simple as that.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Dallas, you make a really good point about knitting "fitting into your life". That's definitely another strong point of the craft: you can pick it up and put it down wherever and whenever (even if sometimes it takes awhile to figure out where in the pattern you left off).

Alas, I don't think I'll ever warm to baseball. My husband, an ardent Yankees fan, has tried to explain it to me for years and I still can't name ten Yankees in any given season.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous theresa s. said...

Um. I knit because I'm a knitter.

Yeah, that sounds circular, but it's not. Not really. What we do defines us, right? Knitting is what I do. A knitter is who I am. It's as much a part of my day to day life as my day job and my writing aspirations.

Anyway. What attracted me to knitting in the first place? Why did knitting integrate itself into my character and life? I like being able to measure the progress. It's very tangible and tactile -- most of my other work is done in my head, but knitting is done with my hands. It almost feels like a relief to be able to pick up my sticks and put down my other concerns. It's an escape.

And, unlike every other area of my life, I have complete control over my knitting. I choose every detail. No boss will ever question my judgment or my time management skills if I knit the purple socks instead of the red sweater. No editor will ever send me a letter telling me my knitting technique is good but my pattern isn't right for their line. Knitting is all mine, and my decisions are 100% right 100% of the time.

12:28 PM  
Blogger barbp said...

Hi Nancy - a knitting hockey fan here. Just thought I'd pass along that there is a Hockey KAL at
and we're having lots of fun there. We're knitting for charities. My household is a Penn State Icers, Maple Leafs and Avalanche house. Stop on by if you're interested and join in.

2:20 AM  

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