Knitting. noun. A highly addictive activity which, with luck, produces wearable apparel.
I’m a good knitter, if you don’t ask me to make anything too complicated. I’m a whiz at things like scarves, winter hats, small afghans, baby blankets and leg warmers. I haven’t had the patience to knit a sweater since I was a teenager and a virgin knitter. It was a minor miracle that the garment turned out pretty well, aside from the fact that the hole my head had to go through was slightly too tight and the sleeves ended up being ¾ length instead of full-length. I think there might have been an unplanned but tiny hole somewhere in it, too. That sweater looked good on me, and I wore it until it finally wore out, after I had put my head through its too-small opening too often.
No, I don’t have a picture of it, and when it died it went where all good sweaters go.
The fact that my first knitting project resulted in a garment that could be worn in public without humiliation must have been a fluke. When I took up knitting again a few years ago, it was after a hiatus so long that I had to re-learn everything. Fortunately, I have a friend who is a whiz at knitting, and she offered to teach me.
This time I was not operating from a beginner’s kit, as I was before. I was trying more complicated stitch patterns, and some of the results were … um … interesting – like this.
A typical session with my knitter friend might go something like this:
ME: Hmm. I started out with 20 stitches on my needle, but now I have 21.
FRIEND: Are you sure?
ME: I counted them three times.
FRIEND: How did that happen?
ME: I don’t know. I didn’t do it deliberately.
FRIEND: How did you get that hole there?
ME: That’s where I added a stitch.
FRIEND: You aren’t supposed to do that there!
ME: Maybe I can cover up the hole with something?
FRIEND: With what? You’re going to have to undo all your stitches down to where you made a mistake and knit that part all over again. I’ll show you how.
ME: That seems like such a waste of energy!
I am happy to report that, with practice, I became pretty good with a couple of knitting needles and some yarn. I have produced things without holes and with even edges. People who don’t realize that I pick only the easiest things to work on think my work is wonderful, and I hate to disillusion them. Hallelujah!
Remember Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities? Remember Madame Defarge, the nasty woman with the knitting needles who kept track of all the enemies of the French Revolution who crossed her by knitting their names into whatever project she was working on? I have often dreamed that someone will write an opera or a musical based on that book, and will write the role of Madame Defarge for me. It’s always fun to play a villain, and a villain who is always knitting (when she isn’t dragging people into court or going after someone with a pistol and ending up being shot herself) would be doubly fun to play. The fact that I don’t have a clue how to knit names into an afghan isn’t important. The audience wouldn’t know the difference and I could have a lot of fun pretending.
We can all dream.