Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Poetry of Knitting, a CONTEST for my readers

In the roundabout world of the blogosphere, surprising and serendipitous connections often occur.  So it was today when I did a Google search using the terms "owl knitting pattern."(Why I was searching for an owl knitting pattern must for now remain a mystery.) The search ultimately led to a quasi-scholarly Japanese site, The ABCs of Knitting, that is both a fascinating window onto how knit happens in Japan, as well as a mightily entertaining source of fractured English. As seems to be my constant fate, I engaged in an idyllic drainage of my limited time on this planet while perusing its many sections. One factoid I gleaned from my reading, for example, is that there is a "Japanese dedicated knitters craze in Knitted Wedding Dress" [sic], a phenomenon there illustrated by Japanese magazine covers of western-featured fair-haired women in knitted wedding finery. (Given my interest in hand-knitted wedding dresses, well documented in the pages of this blog, you can imagine how enraptured I was.)

Even more impressive was a section on this site dedicated to haikus about knitting. While the translations aren't in accord with haiku metrics, the transliterations are. Topics range from lyrical evocations of the natural world--
The full wool skeins in the shops tell the autumn has come

Autumn winds always drift me into yarn shops

to the psychologically weird:

Didn't you praise the botchy scarf knitted by the young girl?
How can you give the cold to my paramount sweater?

(Secretly, I turned over your new hand-knitted scarf.
Did you know how happy I was when I found a brand-label on it?)

Of course all  knitters are aware of the poetry of knitting--the rhythm, the coloration, the textures, the intricacy or simplicity, the repetition, the introduction at the beginning of every project undertaken, the closure when the last row is bound off. Therefore I decided, in the spirit of knitting's inherent poeticism, to sponsor a contest to find the poem that best captures the essence of knitting. AND, there will be prizes!

The Poetry of Knitting Contest:

Entry Rules and Requirements:

1. Entrants may submit up to three original poems about knitting before the contest deadline of August 31, 2010. Poems must be submitted by email to the email address under my photo on the View My Complete Profile section of this blog, Knitting New England ( Please paste the poems onto the email; those sent by email attachment will not be opened.
2. Poems must be in English, or if written in another language, an English translation must be provided.
3. Poems may be of any length, in any style or form--haiku, epic, sonnet, triolet, sestina, free verse, blank verse, ottava rima, whatever.
4. First, second, and third prizes will be awarded.
  • First prize: My personal copy of Sweaters from New England Sheep Farms by Candace Eisner Strick (Down East Books, 1999).
  • Second Prize: My personal copy of Woolly Thoughts: How to Unlock Your Creative Genius by Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer (Souvenir Press, 1994)
  • Third Prize: My personal copy of Spam-ku: Tranquil Reflections on Luncheon Loaf, by John Nagamichi Cho (Harper Perennial, 1998).
And best of all, the prize poems will all be published on this blog during the fall of 2010!

So, gentle readers, what are you waiting for?  Get inspired and get writing!

I think that I shall never see
A sweater knitted just for me.
For tho' I knit much every day
I give my knitted stuff away. 


  1. I will try to write a poem about finishing, since that is the book I am working on now. I do not promise anything great, or even amusing, but as a summer diversion, it seems like fun.

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