Knitting and Poetry

They’re not synonymous and yet there’s a huge connection between knotting words together and constructing something beautiful from yarn. The creative process is essentially the same, technique and creativity are needed to create something good in either medium and then there are patterns or poetical forms, some easier to follow than others. Also, I’ve recently discovered that knitters and poets go together like iambic and pentameter, here’s a short extract from an interview with Nathan Penlington:

I’ve seen your live show a few times, there’s a part where you pull out a scarf that someone once made for you and then it gets ugly. What do you have against knitters?

Let me state here that I have nothing against knitters in general, it is just that some knitters and I don’t get on.

The scarf is taller and wider than I am, and was knitted by an ex-girlfriend. The worst thing about it though is the colour. It is a horrible mottled beige, of a shade to make anyone look like they are Proust on a rare outing into the daylight. When the scarf was finished she also had enough wool left over to make another one. Soon afterwards I met another girl who crocheted a bouquet of roses for me, and was halfway through making a pair of red crochet trousers before she realised that wasn’t the way to woo someone you don’t know very well.

Since then I have come to accept that I attract people who like handicrafts, and that not everyone that knits needs relationship counselling.

Nevertheless, you don’t need a lot of academic training to knit a good sweater and you can’t wear a sonnet. So I was still pretty surprised when I found out about the proposed “Knit a Poem” initiative which the UK Poetry Society are currently working on. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Over 500 people are needed to knit a giant poem to celebrate the Poetry Society’s centenary.
Participating knitters will be sent a template for an individual letter (more if they are super-keen). They will knit their letters at home, and all the squares will then be combined later in the year into a huge poem. Knitters will use their own odds and ends of wool (doubleknit) to complete the work. Letters can be sent in to the Society, but knitters will also be invited to a big knit-together event. A small booklet of ‘poems to knit by’ will be sent to every participant.

Of course, I’ve volunteered, but there are still so many questions. What’s the poem? What happens to this huge knitted poem when it’s done? How is anyone going to do beginners intarsia? Will they find 500 knitters in time? I consider myself completely intrigued.

In related news, yesterday I listed my first poetry related item in the NattyKnits Etsy shop. A slightly ominous looking Raven, with a penchant for shouting “Nevermore!” and appearing in Edgar Allen Poe poems. He’s very popular, he’s been viewed 71 times in the last 12 hours. A record for my knitted works and testament to that poetry/knitting connection.


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