Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Knitting - An Extreme Sport?

I'm suffering. It started when I woke up yesterday, the niggling ache at the base of my spine. Then, in less than 12hrs, my body went from age 43 to age 93! Honestly, aside from the clothing (I am still youthful in some aspects,) I wouldn't look out of place behind one of those zimmerframes with the off-road wheels that seem to be all the rage amongst the elderly these days.

I haven't a clue what I've done this time, but sometimes this just happens. The family are being their usual sympathetic selves (I don't think!) and P.A. even suggested that I may have injured my back by doing TOO MUCH KNITTING.

Now where on earth did he get that one from? Since when was knitting considered an extreme sport? Let's face it, the way I look right now, people are bound to assume that I've either been basejumping, ice climbing or free running (Parkour) not cleaning my house (although that feels like an extreme sport at times) and knitting a summer top.

However, on further investigation I have discovered that knitting does bear some resemblance to a hard core sport. Wikipedia says that extreme sports "often involve speed, height, high level of physical exertion and highly specialized gear or spectacular stunts." I think that just about covers knitting, don't you?

Take speed for example. Some knitters can knit so fast that their needles just become a blur. Hazel Tindell and Miriam Tegels are the world's fastest knitters. Take a look at this!

Then there's "height". Seeing as there are, at this moment, hundreds of Nepalese women handknitting products for small handicraft companies right there in the Himalayas, I think they've pretty well got the height issue covered. Plus, there's all of those Peruvian knitters creating knitted masterpieces at altitude too. Height? Yup, we knitters have that one sussed!

Now "the high level of physical exertion" aspect is slightly more subjective, don't you think? We're all different. A high level for one is just a walk in the park to another. But, if you qualify physical exertion by number of injuries, I think we can also take on the best of them there too. The fact that we even have to consider ergonomics when it comes to knitting, shows that we're right up there with cycling , basejumping (ergonomic bags are a must) and kite surfing.

"Highly specialized gear" - well, this one's obvious, just look at all the needles out there. Cable needles, square ones, circulars, different lengths and thicknesses of each, you really can't get more 'specialized' in the equipment department than that. As for "stunts", well C6B,C6F looks pretty impressive to me not to mention the art of double knitting. The greatest knitting stunt I've ever seen was someone knitting two socks at once, but one inside the other. (Peacework Magazine had a good article on this back in January.)

So, on reflection, I think P.A. may have been on to something when he put my back troubles down to my fibre fascination. Knitting could be said to be a specialized, urban athletic pursuit, although I put my back troubles down to the consequences of childbirth. Having had three children without the aid of medical intervention, well that really is an extreme sport!


Rudee said...

So when it takes me a half hour to knit 600 stitches, I've nothing to brag about? Miriam makes me dizzy. I much prefer the slow waltz and finger dances to the speed of just getting the job done. Wish I could knit like her around the holidays though. That would be sweet.

Hope you're feeling better soon, Jane.

Jane said...

Yes, if you notice, she's never knitting anything intricate when she's knitting at that speed!

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