Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And then what happened: Knitting Edition

Okay, so as I was saying yesterday, after about two hours with my yarn sensei Kyle, I was nearly knitting, albeit aerobically and, I'll add, with a certain sense of slapdash. It's not that my stitches were  reckless, they just had a....largesse. They were generous, and loopy. They were benevolent, though at times, entrapment seemed more than a remote possibility. As long as I stayed knuckled-down, nose to the needles, I was okay. But seated next to my sister, I was-you know, checking out her work. We'd compare notes, I'd lose my place, she'd pick up where she left off, I'd tear out my entire project and start over, and so it went. By the end of class, though, I did feel confident enough to accept a homework assignment, and I was happy to have finally "got it." In the picture below, I was kind of having a Sally Field moment with knitting. You like me! You really like me!

As part of the class, in addition to being taught the craft, we were scheduled to complete a mini-project- which to my extreme pleasure, was not just one, but THREE BARNYARD animals! Color me happy, I love stuffed animal families. We left class with supplies galore and went home to our lakehouse, rushed through dinner, and spent the rest of the night hunched over our needles like two crazy old ladies with no communication skills. I actually fell asleep knitting.

Sometime that night, my mother took the time to remark on how the differences between my knitting and my sister's did not surprise her in the least.  Her observation (I'm paraphrasing): my knitting was all over the place, my sister's...orderly; tight. She also wanted to know why I was working on such big needles, not to mention two colors of thread at once?

"Well, that's easy", I said. "Molly is completing her animals in alphabetical order, or, if you prefer, ascending levels of size and/or difficulty. Chick, hen, rooster. I'm doing my rooster first because I want to. It's fabulous and huge and Kyle said I could".

After packing up my high school-esque vocal intonations, I asked my mom for a fruit roll-up. And knitted. Over the next few days, I worked on my rooster and my sister completed her smaller projects, stopping periodically to untangle me. The rooster, just like its smaller relatives, would be fashioned from your basic knitted square, which would then be folded into a triangle, stuffed, and decorated. Well, friends, there are moments in knitting, as in life, when your yarn gets away from you. It became clear that I had surpassed the land of square, and what I had was a rectangle. I thought for about 24 hours that if I just kept working on my rectangle, adding rows and such, that it would eventually come back around to squaresville. Um. No. I think there is a mathematical equation for this. What I ended up with was a REALLY BIG rectangle.  I even ran out of yarn and had to switch mid-bird. It was huge, and imperfect, and when I took it to the open-knit on Friday, my teacher burst out laughing, and people came from miles around (okay, really just the sidewalk) to look at the spectacle I call:

Sometimes the knitter, much like the writer, can't be sure of who her characters really are until they show themselves to her. Sometimes a rooster wants a pop-bead necklace and false eyelashes, and there isn't a darn thing you can do about it. You may have wanted him to start a family, get a job at the bank, and stop wearing makeup. But he has other plans, so you find some wool roving, grab your felting needle, and just make it happen. I love it. And you know, I can't imagine a better first experience in textiles. Aside from being super-patient, Kyle taught me all about working with natural materials, showed me how to embellish with sculpted wool fiber....the whole shebang. I left REALLY inspired, full of plans for handmade playthings, oven mitts, scarves galore...not to mention a complete wardrobe for my rooster. I've decided Al is going to be like one of those cement geese people keep on their porches and dress according to the season. I can see it now--a felted feather headdress for Mardi Gras,  a basil brooch for National More Herbs Less Salt Day (August 29th). And you know there's a kitschy Christmas rooster vest in the works. Al is, if nothing else, a really good sport.

Al with his cousin, my sister's rooster,who requested his name be withheld.
Just kidding.
My sister doesn't name her roosters,
but you can call him Slim.


Deborah said...


Am making him a Labor Day vest as we speak.

Cammie said...

Give yourself a ginormous pat on the back for seeing Al through to completion. I have half-finished potholders stashed in at least three different drawers around my house. I need a sensei.