Yarn

It is the first day of February, and I am happy to announce—drum roll please— I have learned how to knit.

Garter stitch, stockinette, cast on, and bind off. Yeah, I know those words now. I took a knitting class with two other women who were far more advanced than me.

Honestly, I’m not sure what they were doing in Knitting 101. One woman who had a pretty kickass “smile” tattoo on her finger was in the middle of a blanket.

A real, like cover yourself up, blanket. Was she just there to make me look like a bumbling fool juggling my knitting needles like chopsticks?

Yes, Tracy because it is all about you, after all.

And on top of her whole blanket thing, she was lovely. A master knitter, she taught herself by the way, and she’s nice. I was feeling horribly inadequate at the beginning of my first Friday class, but then I managed a slipknot and twenty rows of a cast on.

I sat there for a moment, needle in hand, grinning like an idiot. Then I said to our teacher, “Look what I did. This is so cool.”

She smiled politely, they all did, and then the teacher cleared her throat in that way people often do after an awkward moment, and said, “Okay, so that’s casting on. Let’s try a basic stitch.”

All I can say is, two Fridays later and I was knitting. Not a blanket or even a pot holder. I’m still practicing, and I don’t mean to brag, but I’m kind of the shit.

I have about six rows straight without one mistake. I no longer look at the needle after completing a row trying to remember my steps. In fact, once I get in my groove (under, counter-clockwise, pull through) I almost look like I know what I’m doing.

But don’t try to talk to me. Talking and knitting, like you see in the movies, must come later.

It’s super exciting, and I am proud of myself.

Funny how the further away we move from finger paints, the fewer look-what-I-made moments we get. I am writing a book about a knitter and wanted to learn. I was nervous at first to sit in a room full of strangers and admit I had no clue, but after my first class, I realized something.

There is freedom in starting out.

No expectations, people speak slowly, and the smallest accomplishment feels like magic. It’s also scary, and maybe that’s why we shy away from new and different as we become more seasoned in the life game.

I will admit that I am a bit obsessed with lining those stitches up, but my teacher told me that no matter what happens, “Keep calm, find your dropped stitch and move on. Don’t unravel the whole thing trying to be perfect.”

Holy hell. I’d already made a scene about my casting on so I kept quiet, but that was profound life advice right there. I wanted to tell her that knitting was a metaphor for life’s challenges, but the class was over, and she may or may not have slowly backed away from me.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Count Sheep.

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5 Replies to “Yarn”

  1. YAY! A knitting friend! I taught myself when I was about 16, I asked my mum to teach me, but we just don’t gel well with that sort of thing. We knit in completely different ways now, which is interesting because it’s the same thing, but we do it so differently. It took me AGES to learn though, so you’re doing really well after only going to a few classes and being able to do all that! I love it. It feels so good to see yourself making progress and making something. And it feels like a good post-apocalypse skill too! I’ve made myself a jumper and a couple cardigans over the years, and loads of kids clothes, but the thing that I’m working on at the moment is a double sided blanket which is made up of squares, I like to use the leftover wool that I’ve used to make other things, so it’s like a map of my knitting history. (I’m a nerd) I made a scarf for my friend last Christmas and the first time I saw her wear it I asked her where she bought it. I’d completely forgotten that I’d made it (blame the brain fog) and it was such a thrill to realise that I thought it was good enough to have been shop bought when I wasn’t being critical of my own abilities. I’m kind of jealous that I didn’t keep it for myself now!

  2. A metaphor for life, Tracy. Good for you, learning how to knit.

    I recently started a stained glass piece, and I feel the same way. It is totally new and totally foreign to me. The process itself, and I used solder for the first time, making welds to hold the pieces of glass together. Every little thing I do is an adventure. The gentleman who is teaching me just smiles indulgently when I get excited something went right, and now he is suggesting a next piece. I just want to get the first one done. ~nan

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