I have a blanket that an old boyfriend had crocheted for me. Yes, he crocheted it. It is done in afghan stitch in probably every spare scrap piece of yarn that his mom had lying around. I can still remember the smell of the laundry soap that surrounded that blanket when he gave it to me. I remember that the very first time I snuggled under it, I was watching Joe Versus the Volcano. To this day, when I see that blanket, I think of him, shortly followed by Joe Versus the Volcano.
There is a scene in Coyote Ugly, where the main character Violet describes why she wants to become a song writer. She says that songs have the power to take you back. She remembers a specific song that every time she hears it she remembers exactly where she was the first time she heard it, exactly what her mom looked like, and exactly what her hair smelled like. I have always had this same association with smells, but I had no idea that my fingers had this same power. I picked up the second front piece of the Nantuckett Jacket last night (after ripping out 1 1/2 balls of work, but we won't go there) and as I was forming the stitches my mind was suddenly flooded with a warm feeling and the scenes from The Age of Innocence. I had just finished listening to this on my I-pod, with long stretches of it while working on this very sweater. Ironically this was recorded by Brenda Dayne, who does the knitting podcast Cast-on. It seems that in the same way that my sense of smell has the power to bring back fond memories, so does my sense of touch. It is fascinating to me to think that this story, and Brenda Dayne, are now woven into this sweater as deeply as if it were a part of the yarn it's self. It also makes me very happy to think that each time I pick up to knit, or eventually to wear, this sweater that I will be revisited by the familiar characters of this story.
Somehow I don't think that I'm the only one who's memories are affected this same way.