Friday, September 23, 2011

She Knits...

     When she was a little girl, she loved to pull open the bottom, right hand drawer, of the little pine dresser that stood in front of the old chimney wall along the side of the tiny dinning room.
     She knew it's contents by heart. At the back of this particular treasure stash, were all sorts of envelopes of embroidery patterns, with various small tins full to overflowing with floss of every imaginable color. Cloth measuring tapes, rolled up tight like miniature cinnamon rolls. Along with a few well worn packages of needles marked, 'Quilt',  'Embroidery',  'Darn',  and even the funny curved set of 'Upulstery', all of their little felt pieces pin gouged to near oblivion.
     Next came the two rectangular boxes resting end to end in a way that divided the drawers contents, inside each of them were all silver colored hooks on the left and bigger, pretty colored hooks on the right. Each had long handle's that you could hold onto with a little pinched flat spot at just past the halfway, closest to the hooked end. That was the spot that had raised lettering that read; BOYE SIZE 1BOYE SIZE H, or just a number stamped a little off center that would be something like; 2, 4, or 11. She would often rub her tiny fingertip over these letter's wondering what they meant. There was even a really, really, big hook that was once used to make rugs with. Or so her Momma told her.
Next came a group of multi colored balls of string sized yarn along with some bigger balls of plain colored yarns, she noticed each time that some of them matched her little red sweater.
     As a child she would practice holding some of the different hooks while pretending to move them around to create works of wonder. Sometimes Mother would sit her up on her lap, holding her larger hands over the tiny inexperienced finger's of her hands, gently moving both in the proper moves that would help turn a plain piece of yarn into a chain to be used for a game of 'cat's craddle'.
     But her favorite thing from that bottom drawer of treasures were the skinny coils of needles that lay on the top of the ping-pong sized yarn ball's in the front corner. The ones with the shining silver handles that were joined by various lengths of coated wire, they were tapered at the ends to form everything from tiny needles up to thicker, more sturdy sizes. Her favorite thing to do was to sit cross legged on the old linoleum floor with a pair of the smaller 'cable needles' in her hands, with them clicking crazily away in a hap-hazard profusion of sound.

     She is now many lifetimes older than that little girl self, she often pictures, through the sometimes gilded windows along the halls of her memories. Even now she can hear the rhythmic clicking of those silver plated knitting needles as they captured her undivided attention for what seemed, back then, to be hours of entertainment.
Tilting her head ever so slightly as her pictures this oft visited scene once more. It slowly dawns on her aging mind, she never recalled seeing those treasured item's in use. True. She was surrounded with many various evidences indicating the fact that, at one time, they were indeed brought to fruition with someones delft finger's and adapting inspiration.
Her absentminded smile is evidence still, of the love she knew was infused in copious quantities with every stitch, of every item, her memory longingly recalled. 
     In her late teens to early twenties, she had finally learned to do many forms of the handiwork held captured in that long ago bottom right hand drawer of treasures. She even added some, then unknown to her, forms of handy work to her steadily lengthening list of arts.
Cross stitch quickly becoming one of her most infuriatingly favorite pastimes. She never clearly understood how it came to be that she could count seven squares on the pattern, seven on the even weave fabric, and yet somehow in the doing, it just sometimes did not match up.
     She learned how to appreciate the work of her own hands in bringing beauty and humor into her home along with many homes of friends, family, and even a neighbor or two, in the same practical ways of of the women of her childhood.
     She laughs even now when she recalls her first ever attempt at a knitted sweater. She chose a fisherman's pattern and cream color yarn for the great making experience. It was with this project she learned about such things as the use of a cable needle, along with circular needles. Being the biggest project she had undertaken up to that point. She shakes her head even now, at the thought of how many times she had to undo often days worth  of knitting, in a fraction of the time that had been laboriously put into each stitch and row. The completed project was never actually worn by anyone. Probably because no one had that long of arms, with that amount of unevenness.
     While patterns were learned, understanding increased, adaptation abilities improved, something quietly and solidly crept inside of her, with each stitch, of each project, through all the years.

     She has her favorites now to knit. Her 'take along' projects are as much a part of her as her purse. Dish clothes that require little to no thought, are easy to take in any stage of progression, and when finished, will often find homes in the place each is finished, be it residence or Dr's. office.
     The most impressive, not to mention trickiest feat of accomplishments, she now has in her arsenal of skills, is the intimidating use of four or five double pointed needles. At once! To complete such things as hats and socks. 
     She has also come to realize, over the lifetimes of her knitting, it is not so much the finished project she is making, as it is the process of of creating, seeing the project come to fruition. Combined with the feel of the yarns tension, the comfortable touch as the knitting needles find their well worn home in her knowledgeable hands.
    She is the first to tell you there is a rhythm to be found in knitting, as comfortable as rocking a baby.
     She enjoys sitting down, indoors or out, putting her feet up when she can, while she picks up the smooth bamboo needles she has come to prefer for her sock knitting. She notices how the cares, tensions, and general weights of the world slip away as she begins to work. All thoughts turn instead, to the person the latest pair are being made for.  She knows with a surety that all of her love and prayers are knit along with each stitch. Often the rhythm of this combined process causes her eyelids to become as heavy as a hypnotists volunteer, slipping ever so softly closed, her counting becomes as even as her breathing. Her fingers have long since learned the feel of a stitch done right, as deftly as the awkward feel of  a stitch gone wrong. In which case she cracks one eye briefly open, to make sure her finger's are able to resolve the temporary glitch.
     She so enjoys the calming effects knitting has brought into her life. As comfortable now as the ticking of the big clock on the wall, or a warm blanket on a cold day. 
Knitting enhances the peacefulness of a porch swing, a breeze on a summers evening, as the privacy of her thoughts  dance to the cadence of her knit two, pearl two.

She is content when she knits.  

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