Knitting – a new addiction.
I learned to knit, as many of us do, when my grandmother decided I needed to learn something, or drive her completely mad during a vacation I was spending with her. I fumbled, I made knots, I dropped stitches… my fingers seemed to be tying themselves into tentacles of awkwardness. The yarn was a plastic feeling cotton blend in a dusty blue and I garter stitched a couple of monstrous pot holders, one for her and one for my mother. My mother still has them. They are ridiculously awful, purl stitches crop up in straggly rows of knit, and holding something hot with them – is guaranteed to raise blisters. And I never made another thing. Rebellion! In British boarding school, it was oldfashioned to knit, these were the sixties in England – only granny knitted! And a treasure trove of knowledge waited in the WI halls, the women and men who knew how to cable effortlessly, or could Fair Isle so rapidly and the Aran knitters made their sweaters for the tourists in the Scottish shops of the West End.
Crochet was faster, I told myself when I wanted to start doing something easier and faster with my hands than cross stitching. Afghan after afghan followed …until my family rebelled. Blankets for babies, hats and blankets for the Linus project, and scarves by the meter.
Many years later, an online friend began to proselytize about the joys of knitting, declaiming the glories of mohair yarn and the organic alpacas, the sensual feeling of the silk yarns in jewel colours. On a “girls weekend” a group of blog friends gathered at my apartment and while we sat and chatted, I started knitting. A very boring scarf, but the needles felt right – the stitches worked, my fingers didn’t feel like tangled spaghetti, I was sure of what I was doing. It’s become an obsession, between knitting troop hats for Operation Gratitude, baby clothes for my granddaughter’s baby doll, jackets for my granddaughter and now, the new fixation – socks! Books, yarn, needles, circulars, straight, toe up or cuff down patterns, row counters….it’s addictive. Going into a yarn store – oh, it’s almost as good as a candy counter. The heather shaded wools, the garnet and sapphires in silk, bright pinks and purples of eyelash yarn and searing reds and greens of the blends and selfstriping yarns – I could willingly spend hours in there, dreaming of what I could make.
It’s tactile, it’s useful, it’s complicated but orderly, it’s what I do during the long car rides, or waiting for my husband when I pick him up from work, on the Metro, or watching TV. The satisfaction of a completed project, learning how to do the heel or gusset of a sock or a complicated cable – wonderful. Now.. if I could just earn a living doing it, the dream would come true!