Knitting and Other Things

I spent the day learning how to knit. Or rather, I spent the day knitting a scarf. I spent last night learning how to knit. Today, I started a cool purple scarf, and it’s coming out pretty well. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

Apparently, it is now “Story a Day May”. I haven’t written a story today, so I should.

…Unfortunately, I just got in a very passive-aggressive argument with somebody, and he just totally bailed on me before I could apologize, so now I’m in a really bad mood.

This was such a good day, too.

Well, hell. Now I’m unhappy, and I don’t want to try to write something for people to read while I’m unhappy. As my old music teacher says, “That way lies madness.”

I’m not one of those people who’s any good at turning bad situations into creative energy and inspiration. Contrarily, I simply don’t want to work if I’m not happy, because I’m afraid that I’ll do something rash and regret it later. Maybe I’ll just knit.

No. I have to do this. Story a Day. Every day. Thirty-one days? Piece of cake.

Adroit hands moved rhythmically around sticks and long, winding cords. A twitch here or there, and something new and different happened. Quiet clicks, breathy counting, “One, two, one. One, two, one. One, two…”

Before long, a whole new something came into existence. There was some sort of chemical interaction taking place, bringing together elements to create a thing that couldn’t have happened any other way. No motion was an accident. Every flick of the yarn brought new excitement to the fabric. Her fingers danced intricately along the needles, pulling and turning, stretching and rolling.

I watched, mesmerized. The faint smell of lanolin wafted in from the door, diffusing with the coffee and heavy perfume that otherwise dominated the cozy shop.

My gaze drifted toward a young woman, scrubbing something in a basin of soap suds and dirtying water. She pulled out the clump of off-white fiber and rinsed it, then wrapped it in a towel and, lo and behold, she started to stomp on it. She was satisfied when the towel was thoroughly soaked and she set the thick wad of fur on a table.

“Where are the combs?” she sang. The woman next to me answered:

“In the desk drawer.” She didn’t look up from her lace, just kept on moving those tiny little toothpicks along the string.

The young lady pulled out a pair of big square brushes with thin, wiry teeth all over their surfaces. She took a clump of the wool and began pulling  it back and forth between the combs, separating the thin strands and pulling out all the matted fur.

I watched her for almost half an hour, and by then she had a long, thick strand of wool sitting next to her, gleaming in the bright white lights of the store.

I heard an almost undetectable snip! and turned to the woman next to me, who was rapidly working a fat plastic needle threw her tiny little stitches. She cut again, and she was done. With a smile, she held out a big triangle of light blue lace.

“That was a pretty good pattern,” she said to the other woman, who was winding her wool around her arm.

“It looks nice,” was all she said in response.

A bell cut the air and all three of us turned to the door, the afternoon sun flooding the shop in a golden light.

“Honey, let’s go.” It was my mom, who had brought me along with her to a craft fair and who had told me I could sit in a store while she shopped if I had wanted to, which I had. “What have you been doing all this time? Jesus, it’s been hours.”

“Nothing,” was my response. I sneaked a flyer from the store into my pocket–“Knitting classes for all ages on Tuesdays and Sundays!” it said–and flipped my bangs out of my eyes.

“Hey, kid, you’ve been just sitting here for a while,” said the older woman. “Have a shawl.” She pushed the blue thing into my hands and I looked at her for the first time.

“Um, thanks. Don’t you need it?” I asked.

“Not really, that was just practice with that pattern. You can have it.”

“Well, isn’t that generous!” my mom exclaimed. “Say thank you, honey.”

“I did…”

“Oh. Well, we’ll be on our way! Uh, have a nice day, ladies!” my mom called as she dragged me out of the store. “Seriously, what did you do that whole time?”

“Nothing,” I said again, throwing the shawl around my shoulders.


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