Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Knitting and Cooking

I have noticed over the years of reading blogs, that there is often a love of both knitting and cooking. There's a definate lack of cooking posts on this blog, not just because I consider it a fiber craft blog, but because truthfully, I do not like to cook. I have been told many times that I am a good cook. I also know I can be quite a creative cook, making a very good soup when cleaning out the refrigerator. And after successfully going through this year's sit down Thanksgiving dinner for 19, I know I am a very efficient cook.

That still does not make me like it. So don't come to this blog for ideas for tonight's dinner.

I am going to write however, about what I discovered about me over these last two months. I cook like I knit, or I could say, I knit like I cook.

My first clue that the two skills are similiar was the fact I have a full bookshelf of cookbooks, and a full bookshelf of knitting books. I had never thought of the knitting books as 'recipes' and I certainly can not stretch the similiarity and say my cookbooks inspire a sweater pattern. They often inspire me to knit, but that's just advoidance of doing the actual cooking.

The similiarity comes in how I use both bookshelves as a source of inspiriation. I have had to do a large amount of cooking these last two months. The first step in that process was to go to my cookbooks, flip through many of them and jot down possibilities. There's no difference between that and flipping through my knitting books, deciding just what the new yarn I just bought or spun wants to become.

And even the next step, the actual creating is very similiar for me in both skills. I may follow the recipe exactly when I make it, just like I may follow a pattern exactly when I knit a project. Or I may become creative as I go, changing ingredients for that soup, just like I will change a yarn or shaping of a knitting pattern. I find that certain areas of both are mundane and can be done without thinking, and other parts of both, can challenge me and send me to following directions exactly. And here's something funny, the brioche is an example of exactly that in both skills, the brioche knitting stitch, is challenging and just as complicated as constructing one for baking.

I have always thought that confidence built in one talent, allows the pursuit and usually success in another. There will always be a limit to the distance that skill develops, based on the actual amount of time and practice that is given to it. But confidence is a very large part of the initial attempt at most skills. I suspect that the successes in the kitchen encourage me to be creative with the needles, or the successfully knitted project encourages me to be creative in the kitchen.

And in true balance of it all, the failures happen too. The failed caramel coated apple cake that I tried this thanksgiving mirrors the sleeves that are bazaarly too large in the sweater I just knit. The cake was still edable, it just looked terrible. The sweater is still wearable, however, I do have plans to make it better. I will make the apple cake better too, by omitting the caramels!

In the end though, there is still one major difference between the two that will never change for me. I love to knit and hate to cook. No matter that I can do either with equal skill, if I have I choice, I will knit instead of cook.