I took a class today at my favorite yarn shop, Apple Yarns, on two-handed Fair Isle knitting. As I was trying to get my non-dominant left hand to wrap the yarn counter-clockwise around the needle, my brain just couldn’t accept that the left hand was attempting to knit! We were practicing using a MC K2, CC K2 pattern. With the MC in my right hand, my brain relaxed and my stitch tension was right on when I had to do a MC K2. But when I started the CC K2, everything including my brain went loopy!
It reminded me so much of a piano piece I have been practicing for several weeks. Schumann’s Humming Song is a way to practice cantabile (Italian for playing in a ‘singing’ style) shaping. First the left hand alternates between a line and a repeated note — that part is the easier! Then you switch gears and the right hand alternates and rotates. When this happens my mind has trouble adjusting to the switch. It goes loopy — just like two-handed knitting!
As my piano teacher, Beth, always says, “Hands apart until you get the fingering and muscle memory has a chance to take over; then hands together.” This was echoed by my knitting teacher, Claudia, saying, “Keep practicing knitting with your left hand and it will get better!”
As luck would have it, an hour after my knitting lesson, I had a piano lesson focused on Humming Song! What a workout for my brain today! I always say that at my age taking piano lessons and knitting lessons is my Alzheimer’s Insurance! I wonder if yarn and sheet music are then deductible medical expenses???