SMITTEN with KNITTIN’: Writing in Verse

My seven-year-old loves everything about knitting from the clicking needles to the gentle tickling of the yarn as it tugs through her fingers. She loves rolling skeins into colorful balls of yarn, then arranging them by size and color. Best of all she loves sitting cozily side by side as we take turns knitting rows.

Her passion right now: scarves. We’ve already knitted one her ballet teacher and two for friends. Now she’s working on one for herself. The scarves are simple- just eleven stitches wide.  Some are done using only the knit stitch. For others we alternate knit rows with purl rows. To look good, we must stick to the pattern we’ve chosen -either knit a row, purl a row, or just plain knit, knit, knit. If we don’t, the scarf will turnout lumpy and uneven with a disappointingly haphazard, scraggly look.

The creativity (and fun) comes in pushing our chosen form to its limit by switching colors or choosing different textured yarns. And don’t forget the final fringe! Tidily tacked on sequins and beads also add flair to the final product. “I’m a designer!” my daughter likes to say. And a darn good one, I might add. Each scarf she has “designed” is one-of-a-kind, yet they all follow the same basic knitting rules.

Writing in verse is a lot like knitting. To flow smoothly and be pleasing to the ear, the piece must have a consistent form both for the rhythm and for the rhyme.  My poems and stories in verse tend to follow an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme and I’ve used a variet of meters. The important thing is not so much which pattern I choose for the rhythm and rhyme, but sticking with it.

As with knitting, the fun comes in finding creative ways to express myself within that structure. I do this by playing with plot, character development, and word choice until the piece shines. Done right, writing in verse enhances a story – making it extra pleasing to young ears.

Of course, not all stories are suited to rhyme.  I’ll be chatting about that later this week when I’ll be the guest blogger over at Anne E. Johnson’s blog.

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10 thoughts on “SMITTEN with KNITTIN’: Writing in Verse

  1. Great comparison! I hate when a poem has a kink in it. My 7-year-old daughter wants to be a fashion designer too. An “accessories designer”, to be exact. She has done a bit of sewing but she typically takes a short cut with fabric glue. 🙂 I think we’ll try knitting next.

  2. That’s a very apt comparison, Laura. I haven’t knitted anything in a long time, but I do remember my grandmother helping me and checking my rows. She always knew how to fix the bumps and holes. My first critique partner, perhaps?

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