darth_tigger: (Cast On)
[personal profile] darth_tigger
My mum taught me how to do magic. When I was still at infant school she showed me how to take a long strand of wool and, with two magic wands, turn it into a flat piece of cloth. She didn't call it magic, of course, but that's what it was. Right up until you finish off the last stitch, a piece of knitting is still topologically the same as the original strand of wool, and if you pull on the free end you end up with the long strand again. Even once the knitting is finished off, it's still only the same as a thumb-knot. But because of the magic of the wands, it's also a rectangle, or a square, or a strange wavy-edged shape. You can then use different magic to sew pieces together and hey presto, a jumper, a teddy bear, a bag.

She was a lot better at the magic than I was or will ever be. She could magic the shapes into being with barely a movement, just a twitch of one finger. My technique is much more laborious, with my whole arm moving around, but part of the magic is that you can't tell from the finished project. I have created scarves, socks and kittens, using nothing more than two (or sometimes five) magic wands.

Magic obviously runs in our family. My mum was taught by her mother, my granny, who would regularly magic up a jumper for each of her ten grandchildren. Grandad could do the magic too, though he generally left that one to Granny and instead concentrated on the magic that involved pigments mixed with oil, a canvas and a magic wand with bristles on the end. I'm doing my best to pass on the magic, and this summer showed my niece how to wield the magic wands. I gave her magic wands of her own, plus a book with instructions* so she can carry on doing the magic when I'm not there.

There's many resources out there for anyone who wants to learn the magic, far more than when I was first learning. Ravelry is wonderful for magicians of all abilities, with thousands of magic spells written down and a whole community of witches and wizards who love to share. Books, web sites, magic shops - you can even join a coven and do the magic with other like-minded people. There's other related sorts of magic too; once I'd mastered the two pointy magic wands Mum taught me how to crochet, a branch of magic that just uses one wand with a hook on the end. You can stick to other magicians' spells or make up your own, or adapt spells to fit your own requirements. All you need is the wands and a little training, and you can magic anything into being.

It doesn't stop being magic just because you find out how it's done. With some things, it becomes even more magical.

Thanks Mum, for showing me the magic.


*It's a really good book, very clear instructions, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to have a go with the pointy sticks. I'd also recommend The Stitch 'n' Bitch Handbook, but I didn't think I'd get away with giving a book of that title to an eleven-year-old, my sister-in-law would have killed me!

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