Friday, September 26, 2008
What a stitch!
It started when I was 20. I was single and tending bar in the little river town, flirting with fishermen, mixing Bloody Marys (everything from scratch in that place--no premix crap, thankyouverymuch). My radar gathered the buzz, however. Local ladies felt threatened by my sudden, random appearance. Without kith, kin or kids, I was exotic behind the bar and the male patronage adored me. (I'll also add that what I lacked in cup size, I made up for with rocking legs and booty--this girl always had some junk in her trunk.)
When I rented the upstairs of an old farmhouse and planned to settle in for the winter months, I knew I had to extend the right hand of friendship to the Estrogen Set. That or suffer their glares and gossip. What to do?
Suburban Correspondent and Kalurah? You will love this. I picked up knitting. One of the waitresses at the bar taught me and I joined the Thursday Night Stitch n' Bitch. In essence, I killed 2 birds with one stone--I learned a life skill (knitting) and made friends with the local gals so they could sleep in peace at night knowing I had no designs on their boyfriends or husbands. Hunkered over the dining room table at L's house, Stella the Waitress taught me how to knit and purl while the women around me drank beer and spiked coffee while smoking cigarettes. Stella explained needle size, casting on, yarn weight and how to pick up a dropped stitch. Within weeks I tackled my first project--a hunting sweater made of thick brown wool yarn. Size 11 needles gripped in both fists, I poured myself into that project. It came along to the bar with me and I pulled it out in the afternoons between the lunch crowd and the after-work crowd. I knit in front of my TV and between classes at college. I grew addicted to the steady click of the needles, the way the long strand of yarn wrapped itself into the new texture, the soft scrape of the yarn beneath my palm. Never one to sit still for long, knitting was a balm to my soul--something to keep my hands busy while watching a movie or riding in a car. I fantasized briefly of knitting all my own clothes, becoming so skilled that I could sell my sweaters in craft stores--in reality, I was untalented and lacked the mental powers required for fancy patterns. I'd churn out reasonable, clearly homemade products and feel a little pride that I made that!
I never accomplished a complicated project--but I knit a striped sweater and a cable-knit sweater, several hunting sweaters, scarves and hats. In a closet you'll find a crate with needles and yarn, a couple almost-finished projects and a book of patterns. And maybe someday... but until then it remains a hobby from another time, Before Children. Perhaps when Mr. T turns 12 he'd like a hunting sweater from his mama to wear into the woods...