Origins of “Sing Surf Knit”

Since my blog reboot brings a new audience as well as a refreshed focus, here’s the origin story for my blog title. I’m a knitter. And teacher, and writer, and creator. And knitter. I love metaphors and connections. I often tell my students that “metaphor” and “irony” are the keys to life. (I’ll save the irony sermon for another post.)

A metaphor is a comparison between two apparently unlike things. The best metaphors are meaningful, memorable, and helpful for clarifying thinking, but even ridiculous metaphors can help to define limits and simply amuse.

“Sing Surf Knit” works as a metaphor for my approach to life and education on so many levels. The words are verbs, imperatives, admonitions to go out and DO these things.

(UPDATED: I almost forgot! SSK in knitspeak stands for slip slip knit, a move which combines two stitches into one and produces a stitch that leans to the left. K2TOG produces a right-leaning stitch, but doesn’t lend itself nearly as elegantly to education metaphors. 😉 )

SING – I love music, everything from singing in the shower to performing in Carnegie Hall (yup, I did that), from listening to cantor in church to attending a weekend music festival in the mountains. It’s creative, mood-enhancing. It engages the senses and the imagination. That’s how I aim to experience live in the moment, as well as to relive experiences in the past.

SURF – I used to surf, sort of. My 8’4″ Becker Supermodel stands at the back of the surfboard rack in the garage, behind the well-used boards of my husband, daughter, and son. I heartily dislike wetsuits, so my excuse for not surfing is I have to wait until we travel again to somewhere warm (preferably Costa Rica, but Hawaii will do 😉 ). But the metaphor still works. Surfing is happiness, the ultimate “live-in-the-moment” FLOW activity, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. When surfers catch a wave, they hit that sweet spot where the challenge is just a little bit higher than their skill, and they want to experience that high again and again. But every wave is different and surfers may have to paddle around and try and fail for hours to be in just the right spot. My goal in life is to be “in flow” as often as possible. That requires picking the right challenges and developing my skills.

KNIT – This deserves its own extensive blog post. Suffice it to say that to me knitting is creating something wonderful (usually useful, sometimes beautiful, sometimes provocative) from a single strand of yarn, one stitch at a time, making connections between stitches, between designer and knitter, between creator and observer. This “making and connecting” = learning.

So, as one who seeks to sing, surf and knit, I’m a life-long learner.


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