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 walked—because everyone had to walk everywhere back then—they 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