Addictive and relaxing

Miss Beccaboo and I are learning how to knit. My friend Anna Maria is giving us lessons and last nightwe all lined up on her sofa, balls of yarn rolling about at our feet, needles poking and jabbing most dangerously.

If Anna Maria was caught off-guard by my stunningly high levels of ignorance, she did not let on. (AM, First you need to do a slipknot. Me, Come again?) She patiently coached us through the tricky casting on, and then got us started on our rows. In between saving us from our mistakes, coaching her own daughters, and petting the dog, she knitted away while regaling us with tales of how women knitted in the olden days.

They knitted while they walked, she said, demonstrating. They put their balls of yarn in special pouches they wore at their belts, and while they walkedbecause everyone had to walk everywhere back thenthey knitted gorgeous stockings with intricate patterns for the wealthy.

Miss Beccaboo was knitting and chatting with her friends, so I wasn’t sure she heard everything Anna Maria said.

But I was wrong.

This morning, she stuffed her ball of yarn into a shoulder bag and then walked around the house while she knitted, just like the ladies of yesteryear.

She also patiently allowed her little brother to try his hand at knitting.

She is much more confident than I am. When she makes a mistake, she just flips the needles over and works backwards, or something like that. I have no idea if she’s doing it right, but it looks like it’s coming together just fine, so I let her go. Not that I could help her if she needed me to, of course.

I, on the other hand, knit slowly and methodically, constantly terrified that I’m going to drop a stitch. I don’t understand how the threads do the things they’re doing, so I memorize how my hands should move and then hold my breath and hope for the best.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun I’m having. Knitting is peaceful and addictive, relaxing, yet productive. And, unlike my other interests (such as writing, cooking, visiting), it allows me to be fully present to the children. I can’t look up and supervise, but I can listen and talk. (Well, mostly just listen, at this stage of the game—I am so uncoordinated.) The kids sense that I’m available and cluster around, watching my needles eat yarn and chattering away about all manner of things.

Inspired by our knitting, the littles got out some sewing boards I forgot I had.

And Yo-Yo went to work on a rubber band ball.

I can’t wait to learn more stitches and techniques, or whatever you call knitting skills. (Sweetsie has already put in orders for a hat and mittens and dress—dream on, baby.) There aren’t that many more days left of winter, so I gotta move fast. (Watch out, Amanda Soule! Here I come!)

This same time, years previous: chai-spiced hot chocolate, I don’t like chocolate biscotti, my me-me list, hauling wood


  • Second Sister

    I learned to knit in 3rd grade. Picture 25 little 8 yr olds knitting away listening to cowboy stories every afternoon after lunch. She could keep reading and fix mistakes as the kids would line up at her desk whenever they messed up. We all made scarves the height of the blackboard and then some of us over achievers made hats and sweaters and mittens. My 3rd grade teacher died just last week. She was a very special woman who taught hundreds of children to knit over her 30 plus years of teaching. "Kept their hands busy and them out of trouble!" she'd say with a frank chuckle. Amazing lady.

  • Margo

    knitting is my portable handwork. When I'm the door holder at preschool, I stuff the ball of yarn in my coat pocket and stand there knitting. I get strange looks, though.

    I still can't fix my mistakes in knitting after 10 years, but yes, my fingers have memorized the stitches so I can actually look around. My favorite knitting is in the car. Maybe you'll surpass me and then you can teach me how to knit socks. That's my goal.

  • Mama Pea

    Wa-hoo! Good for you! I think it's so important that we all keep (or regain) the ability to be creative with our hands. Such a sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something out of (kinda sorta) nothing.

    I was a dyed-in-the-wool (pun intended) knitter for about 35 years and then I stumbled onto quilting which has turned into my passion, I must say. But you still can't beat sitting of an evening with needles and a ball of yarn for pure relaxation. Do keep us posted on your progress.

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