Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rites of Passage


A little more than 100 years ago, a Belgian anthropologist explained that all cultures have ways of marking major life transitions - and he defined these as being rites of passage. Many of these rituals surround the transition of a child into adulthood; often revolving around puberty (what a great time to remember, right? Aren't you glad I'm bringing that up?).

When I think of rites of passage, I think of the Jewish tradition of bar mitzvah. I'm personally more familiar with the idea of confirmation, but I think of them as being somewhat similar. The end result is the formal admission to a community.

So, what is the rite of passage for a knitter? At what point are we formally admitted, or at least feel formally admitted, to this community? Do we need to have accomplished a certain number of sweaters or socks; or completed a difficult pattern; or deciphered a ridiculous chart?

I feel like I'm a fairly accomplished knitter, in most respects. I like to stay in my comfort zone, but I can knock off some pretty crazy things (have you seen Cat Bordhi's socks?) and I think I could probably attempt most things thrown my way.

However, the one thing I've never knit is a Baby Surprise Jacket. To me, this feels like my rite of passage. I can't consider myself a truly proficient knitter until I've done one. I'm not sure why I have set this as my standard, but I have. It's likely due to the mythic nature of the pattern and the designer.

So, once I complete my Hanami (I'm currently on my last basketweave repeat...almost half-way) and the Tour de France KAL (go Team CSC!), I think I need to do this. To complete this rite of passage.

What's your knitting rite of passage? What project do you have set in your mind that once you complete it you will feel like a truly accomplished artisan?

7 comments:

J. said...

I think you might be surprised at how elegant and simple the BSJ is, really. Your Hanami is by far a more involved and demanding knit. You'll be find with the BSJ and if that's what it takes to really think of yourself as a Knitter, then so be it.

When are we going shopping for the yarn?

My big hurdles are colourwork and steeking which collide in the Bountiful Bohus, if I ever get up the nerve to knit it.

T. said...

It's not that it's hard...I think it's just something all knitters should do...

Suzanne said...

The BSJ is a fun knit. It is fun to watch it come together.

You are getting near the home stretch on Hanami. It was so much fun to just knit the Cherry Blossom section after all the basketweave.

Jill said...

BSJ is totally addictive, but you probably figured that out since I keep cranking them out.

For me it's lace. And in my mind, Cozy totally doesn't count. Don't no why, it just doesn't!

Donna Lee said...

I think anyone who picks up sticks and string and makes a usable garment/item can call themselves a knitter. I have never made a bsj, never felt a desire to. Maybe when I have grandchildren. I have challenged myself and have always been proud of the effort even when all I can see is the big glaring mistakes. Good luck with the bsj.

andi said...

I think mine was doing socks. I feared them for so long, but then was surprised how easy they were.

L said...

My rite of passage would be completing an adult sized sweater. I've been knitting for almost 10 years, and I've never done an "adult" sized sweater. I've done socks, scarfs, baby things, hats. etc. I'm even working on lace & I love to cable. But a sweater? Not yet.

When I complete a me sized sweater I will be a Knitter.