How is that, left untouched in a bag, yarn can tangle itself up? Is it a direct result of neglect? So the longer the knitting is abandoned, the more of a mess it becomes? And when you finally do return to Project, you have to waste precious knitting minutes trying to unravel the yarn before you can actually pick up the needles. This, of course, does nothing to help your already rocky relationship with said Project (hence the reason it’s been so long since you last opened that bag) and just increases the likelihood of returning Project back to the bag, with the yarn still in knots and no progress made. (Hmmmm…. Perhaps that’s what happened last time? Although I’m sticking to the story that both yarn and Project were returned to the bag neatly and tidily.)
Obviously I’m talking about Husband’s Jumper. Another four rows completed this evening (and would have been more if the yarn had behaved itself). And this was after making another kilogram of strawberry jam (can you tell that Husband isn’t home?). I admit it, I panicked: Last week’s batch, though delicious, only resulted in four and a half jars of jam. Now, with only four jars left, it’s clear that this stash isn’t going to last any length of time. Urgent action was required (“urgent” being while Scottish strawberries are still in season and at a reasonable price). But maybe now it’s time to try something a bit different? Seem to have got strawberry jam sussed, so perhaps I should try another fruit? Or a jelly maybe? Or some chutney? Oh yes, this is most definitely another hobby with well-defined limits and boundaries. Maybe I’ll just do one more row before I go to bed…..
I'd like to apologise for my abrupt exit from your wonderful, Aladdin’s cave of yarn-y delights. As you no doubt gathered, this was not my decision, rather one forced on me by the non-yarn-interested members of my family (aka Son and Husband).
It was such a fantastic surprise finding you though. There we were, out on a family drive – one of Husband’s magical mystery tours which, when accompanied by knitting bag, are a lovely distraction. The beautiful scenery was somewhat tempered by the tears coming from the back of the car: Son was over-tired and in meltdown. Too tired to sleep and too angry to be placated with rhymes, toys or chat. There was the promise of stopping “somewhere soon” but on such narrow roads, finding somewhere safe (and interesting enough to merit decamping said toddler out of the car) might not be as “soon” as we all wished.
And then, out of nowhere you appeared. It was Husband who spotted your well-placed sign and, no doubt in direct response to the turmoil in the car, suggested we stop. To be honest, I thought that he meant in the more general sense (as in a hand-wavy "sometime"), rather than "right now" but soon we were turning in the road and heading back towards you. How exciting!
On arrival, we realised what a real treasure trove we’d stumbled across – you keep such excellent company: An information centre sharing the history and other pertinent details of the local area to interested visitors (big tick for Husband), a playground with swings and a large slide (big tick for Son) and a coffee shop, which I skipped past on my way to see you (but noted its tea-time selection with real pleasure).
I must admit that you weren’t quite what I was expecting. I know that "appearances can be deceptive" and, as a very old, converted fisherman’s cottage, I had imagined a small – but perfectly formed! – selection of "local", speciality yarns. But no, your range of bait is much more extensive: All the "usual suspects" of luxury yarns, accompanying pattern books, notions, buttons and knitted gifts as well as the anticipated, lesser-known and unusual yarns. Oh, where to start?
Not only are you a well-stocked little shop but you have some friendly staff. Helpful shop assistant seemed more than happy to talk "knitting": We compared notes on knitting booties, I admired her selection of tea cosies and the baby blanket still on her needles. She, in turn, complimented "Rose" (also joining us on our day trip) and told me of her knitting "to-do" list. I tried not to think of mine as I worked my way around the heavily-laden shelves. Potential socks here, jumper for me there, jumper for Son in the corner, even jumper for Husband using some of your beautiful (but manly) yarn hanging outside the shop.
However, the one thing you are lacking is some kind of "time delay" where those entering your shop have extra time to browse, to think. Tick tock, tick tock. And my time was up: Son had fallen, not badly, but worn down by tiredness he was less able to cope with the usual toddler-associated ‘rough and tumble’. He needed sleep - sleep he could get in the car, not the yarn shop, not the neighbouring café.
We follow the coast road quietly home, Son sound asleep. My needles are busy but not as busy as the yarn-related plotting and scheming going on in my head: Next time, oh yes, next time.
...I've been making jam (of the strawberry variety), eating jam (yummy, yummy) and now that my sticky fingers are clean of jam, I'll get back to my knitting...... After all, Ross is probably growing faster than his tank top.
“Knitting in Public” is just “knitting” to me; I don’t differentiate between venues, locations, company... (although company in a coffee shop is usually preferable). The public, I note, can have a very different view – and there seems to be a hierarchy of acceptability: Public transport is at the bottom of this list, where knitting on buses or trains usually ensures that the seat beside me is the last to be taken (I suspect that my fellow passengers are more afraid of any potential verbal ramblings then they are of my dpns). Knitting in one’s own car tends to draw less attention to the craft – unless it’s night-time and I’m using the head-touch / car’s own internal light. But then, whizzing down the motorways as we do, there’s no opportunity for others outside the car to comment (and clearly the remarks within the car are always oh so positive!).
Knitting in the park tends to evoke similar reactions: “My” bench will be one of the last to be filled (but perhaps that’s consideration for the sleeping child in the pram beside me). However, people are more open in their knitting chat and can often be heard – in deliberately loud voices – commenting on the knitting in progress. Very few people actually speak to me though, they’re brave enough to smile in my direction, but clearly I’m too intimidating for anything more. Or maybe – again - it’s the fear of the potential loopiness which must clearly be a prerequisite for knitting out of the home.
Cafes, coffee shops and the like seem to be the most acceptable place to knit in public, as people will actually initiate conversations with me and any other fellow knitters I’m privileged enough to be with. Frequently, these are older women who “used to knit” themselves or younger relations of knitters - people, like me, who are instinctively drawn to yarn. Some pause long enough to make a few observations along the lines of “how lovely it is to see young people knitting”. Others stay long enough to admire the range / style / colour / complexity of the knitting – no matter the skill level of people knitting, they always have something positive to say. Tis one of the things I love about knitters: They are always so lovely, so positive, so interesting, so inspiring. Other will share stores of their own knitting “careers”, knitting for family members, knitting for charity, now knitting for grandchildren, knitting as a business. Very few of these more experienced knitters seem to knit for themselves, telling isn’t it? Yesterday, an official “Knit in Public Day”, I had the honour of talking to a gentleman who knitted when he was younger and again, not for himself: Socks, hats, and scarves for the army. I wish he could have stayed longer so that I could have learnt more. Another lady shared how a relative of hers knitted lace shawls for sale as well as treating old shawls to a
brightening wash and re-block. Oh, the patience needed for that!
And that’s what I love about knitting in public. For all it may make some people uncomfortable (and for that, I’m truly sorry), I delight in hearing other people’s knitting-related stories, their histories, their lives. The yarns may change, designs and patterns evolve but, most wonderfully, knitters will always be knitters.
... yet Katherine and her friends still managed 5km around the Botanic Gardens. A far healthier excuse for not knitting, don’t you think?
I’m sorry that I haven’t picked-you up in a while. Like you, I’ve been counting the days and I’m aware that it’s now been a fortnight since we last got together. Please be assured that it’s not you, it’s most definitely me. And I can’t really explain why.
I know that this provides little comfort but I can assure you that it’s not an attempt to cover-up another reason. Please know that you have not been replaced. I have not suddenly developed a love for your one-needled cousin. You know that the only times I’ve picked up a crochet hook have been for embellishing the garments that we’ve created together and, if memory serves me correctly, we can count those on one hand.
Know also that the sewing machine has remained firmly in its case for the last few months – making only a brief appearance when lent to a friend over that weekend in March. So yes, this means that Son’s cushions are still uncovered, the trousers still legless and that beautiful blouse still in pieces. No, Cinderella isn’t going to the ball any time soon.
Nor have I picked-up my paint brushes. You know how frustrated and upset I get when I can’t paint as well as I’d like to. Water-colours aren’t as easy going as you are: They need dedicated time and space for preparation before brush even gets put onto paper. And although I confess to the odd thought of trying something of the paint-on-paper variety, a thought is all it’s remained.
Since you’re here, sharing the room with me as I type, I know that you can also smell the spicy, fruit buns that I’ve just taken out of the oven. (And since you can count as well as I can, you’ll note that this baker is minus one from her dozen. Let’s call it “research”.) But I know that you’re not bothered by any of my cake-related adventures because you know that some of my happiest times are when I’m sharing the fruits of the oven with my knitting friends. Baking and knitting are entirely compatible.
So, who knows, perhaps tonight will be the night when, after icing my buns and making a nice cup of tea, we’ll spend some time together? I leave you to decide on which project we start.
All sewn up:
"I love you more than Pumpkin Spice Socks" by C.C Almon
Currently on the needles and making progress:
"Shelby" by Rachel Coopey
"Campfire" and "Magpie"