One of my recent posts drew the following comment, from a person identifying himself only as “Another yarnish boy”:
So, Yarn Boy, tell us what’s driving you to throw the yarn. Seriously, some of use are curious.
That is a very good question, and in the spirit of keeping my life examined, and therefore worth living, I will now attempt to answer. First, a little history.
Before I learned how to knit, I lived in Portland, Maine, where I had a very close friend named S. S and I usually spent at least one evening a week together–chatting, dishing, griping, laughing, occasionally arguing, and usually drinking tea. Unfailingly polite, S would always ask if I minded before she took out her knitting needles. Her knitting looked ridiculously complex to me, and I was amazed at how she could knit and carry on a conversation at the same time.
S and I were both in our early twenties at the time, so romantic misfortune was one of our favorite subjects–mostly my misfortunes, since hers were a lot fewer and farther between, thanks to a more measured and prudent temperament. That temperament extended to her reaction to my stories. She kept all judgement to herself, and only gave advice when I asked for it.
There was one leak in S’s reserve, though, and that was her knitting needles. One evening, I recounted to S an incident in which my girlfriend used her key to get into my apartment. I’d asked for it back earlier that day, following a category-five fight, and she’d told me that she’d lost it. It was four o’clock in the morning when she came into my apartment, and I was home. Instead of telling her to leave the key on my table and then please get the f#%* out, I made the mistake of letting her plead her case. We did not break up that morning.
S’s needles clicked away through the entire story, but when I was done, they stopped. S looked up at me, and then back at her needles. They started clicking again, but faster.
Poor S. She probably had to knit a whole new gauge swatch after we hung out each week. Now that I’m a knitter myself, though, I understand the relationship between the mood and the needles. I’ve been blessed with naturally consistent gauge, but there’s no doubt that I knit more loosely at home than I do on the commute, and more evenly on the weekends than during the week. There aren’t a lot of activites that immediately hand you a map of your internal state, but knitting does this. And if it’s a big project, like a blanket or a sweater, you have something like a geological record of your heart when you’re done.
This wasn’t exactly what Another Yarnish Boy was asking about, I realize, but taking the long route to the answer is as much fun as answering. Stay tuned for Part 2.