Friday, April 11, 2008


I have an east facing bedroom window. It's one of the most glorious things about this little apartment, and it completely makes the shitty painting job disappear into the glow of morning light. (Of course, if you look at the ceiling, you can still see that someone painted over those stupid glow stars, but I am willing to forgive even that at this time of the day). Right now the cats are basking in the sun, and I have spent the morning lying in bed reading and writing.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way writing an essays is fun is if you are lying in the morning sun, and petting a cat. It makes the process much less painful.

But, this blog is not about my love of vitamin D, or lying in bed. It's about knitting, and reading. ("What?" you say, "reading? Could've fooled us!" To that I say "...shhhh.")

Lately the idea of concentric circles has been figuring into life as a symbol for the individual's position in society. In my literary theory class, concentric circles have been used to illustrate how each of us stand in relationship to other ideas, languages, and communities. I stand in the middle, and from my fixed point of identity, reach outwards. The farther away from that fixed center the harder it may be to understand,and to be true, perhaps those outermost circles are simply impossible to grasp. But the concentric circles that fall close to me are my foundation: friends, family, cats basking in the morning life. All those familiar, comforting attributes are as different as if they are a foreign language or culture, but they lay closer to my understanding.

The same could be said about knitting, or at least my two current projects. Both the Hemlock Ring Blanket and the Pinwheel Sweater are made up of concentric cirlces (the pinwheel sweater has somewhere around 130 rounds, and I'm sure the blanket has many more.) You cast on a foundation, a small number of stitches,and from that center point your work grows outwards. As the stitches increase, they can become unwieldy, hard to manage. The rows stretch out to incomprehensible numbers of individual stitches, and you trudge on, for the most part blindly trusting they are doing the right thing, interacting with the middle as they should.

The greatest leap of faith is to assume that when you cast off those 500 stitches (or however many you have) that everything has worked. That the pile of fabric hanging heavy on the needles will indeed transform into a cohesive whole. But in order to get to that point you have to put faith in the power of concentric circles to interact in a way we are used to. There must always be a center, and only from that fixed point can the design radiate outwards.

A representation of my week in pictures could look something like below:

Lucy has decided her favorite place is the bathtub. I have no idea why. But if concentric circles are a symbol of stability and individuality, these photographs can be symbolic of how hilarious life can be.

No comments: