Sunday, February 7, 2010


Let it never be said that I am impervious to peer pressure.

I've kept up with my knitting group... which turns out to be a small threesome of compassionate, smart women of very different backgrounds, occupations, religions and skin tones.

I ditched on the field trip to the hoity toity knitting knookery, thank you very much.  But I've kept going and going, toting my humongous plastic ring of shame around like an albatross.  It actually does fit around my neck quite nicely and smells better.  And then I happened across a knitting aisle in somestore somewhere, don't ask me how I got there.  I perused the needles, wondering if I could substitute shishkabob skewers, metal or wood. Skewers get my vote for most versatile kitchen implement, after the vegetable - aka thumbnail - peeler.  My skewers find their way into my every kitchen endeavor.  But they might prove even more embarrassing than the medieval hemorroid seat I've got stuffed in my bag.   And I don't know the gauge of skewers.  "Gauge" is a term that I've evesdropped and suspect is important.

I found some nice bamboo needles, with a slender and well proportioned gauge called 8.  And then I found some yarn, a cotton recycled yarn, in dishwater blond.  The package had the number 8 on it, so I figured that was a match.

And then an 8 year old taught me my first row!  "In through the door. Around the back.  Out the window.  And off jumps Jack!"  The rhyme makes knitting thrill like a murder mystery. Who is Jack?  How long was he there for?  Where did he go?  Did he leave any finger prints?  Where is the body?  It can also sound like a soap opera:  Who is Jack seeing?  Why did he come in the door but jump out the window?  What does "around the back" mean?  Is Jack gay? 

Anyway, the knitting knowledgablest lady in the group suggested a wash clothe to me...not because I stink (or not that she mentioned) but as a first project because you won't care if they're lumpy or uneven.  I found this approach to be much more merciful than the last time I turned down an invitation to take up knitting.  That lady made her students knit a ball of yarn and then unravel it three times before she'd start them on a project.  Excuse me.  But that sounds very very depressing.  I like something to show for my work, even if all it shows is my shoddy, lazy, loopy tangle of ignorance and inexperience.  I still want to look at it in admiration.  Or critique it.  On second thought, now that I'm half way through this dishrag, maybe it IS more compassionate to require the novice to destroy the evidence of their bumbling mishaps.

Here before me, however, I have evidence, proof positive, an enduring memento of all of my cherish-able newbie screw-ups.  They're so much cuter in children.  For instance, Coyote embroidered a frog and sewed it into a pillow.  It's got some glitches.. and they're so cute!!  My dishrag, however, illicits not coos of affection but howls of laughter.

And it's become an archeological sight of my past week. The first corner is purely a cat's cradle of a mess.  Hardly a corner but more like something a bird drunk on moldy cherries might toss together for her ill-fated young.  After a bit, the rows become clearer and neater.  But then, there's the spot where I had to break up the kids before they mauled each other and returned to my knitting only to head off in the wrong direction.  And that's half a line.  I'm supposed to be doing a design on the edges as I go, but again, the drunken bird brain is the only thing evident.  Good grief, did I just call it a biography in yarn?  No... I haven't had a drink in weeks.

I'm prone to tendinitis, so I'm not sure knitting is a great idea for me.  But since I no longer type my day away on a key board (hmmm....perhaps I smell burning pants?), and I've acquire milking farm-girl arms... maybe it's okay.

I've always had this impression of myself as an 87 year old woman.   And sometimes I glance at the river of time and I can't tell which way it's flowing.  Is the future creating itself?  Or is the past creating the future?  Who is knitting who, Moira?  And some days I get this creepy feeling that I could actually be an 87 year old woman with Alzheimer's who's reliving her life.  So if I shout out, "Blue! Don't punch your brother!"  I might actually be talking to my great grand daughter who's come to play her lap harp for me.  It's an endlessly entertaining geriatric variation of my favorite "brains in vats" theory.  And there's no way to prove I'm wrong.  And all this knitting only enhances my bizarre fantasy.  I could be Marilla Cuthbert.  I could be Miss Marple.  I could be any old old woman.

I've always been an old woman.  Always.  I wore a 1901 dress to my Junior/Senior (this was my Christian school's version of a Prom... but now it sounds more like what I am.  I am a Junior Senior)  while everyone else wore current fashions.  Except my best friend, who also oozed classic style, although hers was more 1920's high (and simultaneously low) society while I wore a linen white shift with hand tooled eyelets.  In addition, I've always swooned over antiques, collected random old photos, and just bought a joyful 1901 farm house.

Coyote's clearly inherited this historical dis-ease.  And Blue seems to have too, with her rapid inhalation of historical fiction and her tendency to dress as old fashioned as she can.  Here she is in her school musical, in the Blue, with the drum (actually, I'm just showing off how I can upload photos now!)

So... expect a tangled mangled hunk of yarn coming your way soon!  I'll be sending them out as "gifts" as they are completed. If the current pace is any indication, that should be one dishrag annually.  Little knotty journals of my life.  Minute by minute, I lay down my sloppy, earnest rows, writing it all out, a cursive yarn, an externalized memory of days.  And I'm giving it to you, for you to wipe the grime off your dishes.  What's your address?  Or rather, what will your address be in three years, when I've completed it?

1 comment:

  1. dude, the bird drunk on rotten cherries is one of the best metaphors i've ever heard!



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