What Does an Aerialist Knit?

Circus is pain.  There really is no way around that.  It hurts.  As an aerialist, when I watch other aerialists perform and I see them do certain tricks, I visibly and uncontrollably cringe, knowing how painful it is.  The first time I saw Cirque du Soleil live, I watched the cord lisse artist do something that I absolutely hate doing, and then she took another step toward masochism, and I received an annoyed look from the audience members in my vicinity as I shuddered and said “No! How can you stand the pain??”  (Not loud enough to disturb the show, just loud enough for anyone within a 3 seat radius could hear my commentary).

So – it hurts.  I am constantly covered in bruises and burns, many of which I don’t remember acquiring – which goes to show how desensitized to physical pain I have become.  This is the norm.  I frequently have people give me weird looks, like I’m either into something more kinky than they can imagine and don’t really want to, or I’m the victim of abuse.  Yes, if you consider my significant other a static trapeze, that alternately tries to concuss me and suspend me in ropes, then both assumptions are accurate.

Some apparatuses are more painful than others.  For instance, cord lisse and I do not have a good relationship.  Every time I climb the thing, I return to the ground covered in bruises, and I’m not about to attempt that climb where the rope gets wedged between the toes.  Nope.  Not my style.  The lyra and trapeze are also painful – you are pushing your body into steel most of the time, with fabric being one of the more comfortable apparatuses, albeit the easiest to burn yourself if you aren’t careful.

But what does this have to do with knitting?

I’m giving you a little background into my motivation for circus inspired knitwear, specifically for something that I cast on Monday night and hope to have completed by noon this coming Sunday (such lofty goals I have).

Monday afternoon, I was at open gym, following a Sunday afternoon static trapeze class.  A classmate and I decided to – how do you say it – accustom ourselves to certain positions on the trapeze.  This type of masochism is best described using a phrase a lyra instructor gave me – burning the pain away.  You put yourself in the most painful positions you know of, and hold them for as long as possible in order to consciously desensitize parts of your body so you can do those maneuvers gracefully in a performance.  Circus is pain, right?

So this classmate and I decided to hold our ankle hangs as long as possible so it stops hurting so much.  We took turns hanging by our ankles in minute long segments, cheering each other on and pushing each other to that minute mark each time.  She had ankle guards on, and I was barefoot.  I made it 1 minute and 40 seconds before I couldn’t handle the burn anymore.  My ankles are still a bit red and raw from the attempt, and wearing shoes the next day was excruciating.  There are these things called trapeze boots that a lot of trapeze and lyra artists wear to protect their ankles and feet, particularly for things that ankle hangs.  I’ve always felt like it’s cheating, but have started to realize that I don’t always have to muscle my way through things.  My technique shouldn’t be solely about strength, but also about efficiency, and I can continue to “burn the pain away,” and I can also work on fluidity of motion.

So, what does an aerialist knit?  Not having a lot of money right now, but more yarn than I really know what to do with at my disposal, I am attempting to knit a pair of trapeze boots (normally made from leather), in hopes of protecting my ankles next Sunday, in which class we learn none other than drops to ankle hang.



I’ll let you know on Monday if my attempt works – am I hobbling or will I have a new pattern to reveal?

Lyra Legwarmers – A Pattern

Crossed off my to-do list is the release of my newest pattern: Lyra Legwarmers!

Lyra Edits 1

They were an idea I had one night when I couldn’t sleep.  I jumped out of bed, did a little math, and started knitting until my eyes would no longer focus.

Lyra Edits 2

The simple little cable spirals up each leg, popping out of the ribbing in an eye catching way.  The yarn I’ve used (Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein – is so soft and comfy.  The color really complements the design.


I’ve been doing a lot of lyra, lately.  The training regimen I’m doing has been very inspiring, and I can’t seem to find enough time to work out all the designs I’ve got going on.  Keep an eye out for what’s coming up.  I’ve enlisted the help of others so they can get worked up and tested as quickly as possible.  What kinds of things would you like to see?

In The Meantime

I tried to start another shawl last night, and ended up not liking the colors together.  This morning, I wound another ball of yarn, thinking I would like that combination together, but when I threw them in the project bag, something just didn’t seem right to me.  I put that bag down and grabbed a different WIP to work on throughout the day.


This is the second half of a set of legwarmers I started about this time last year.  The first one was finished, and then the whole thing was abandoned.  I cannot think of the reason.  Anyway, I’ve decided it’s going to be my travel project when I need something a little mindless.  It’s on large needles, so it won’t take too long (Famous last words).

At least my startitis is balanced somewhat equally by the rare finish-it-up-itis.  Who’s taking a poll to see how long this lasts?


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