As cool weather approaches, I turn to my knitting bag. Surveying the yarns I have, and picking up a few new things at my neighborhood knit shop, I’m ready to make all those holiday gifts. At least that’s how the conversation with myself starts every fall. I love to knit and lately have shifted my focus from large ambitious projects to smaller ones that I can do in a reasonable time. No one wants a wool pullover in July, even if that’s when I finally finished it. Hats, scarves, and the occasional baby sweater are fun, and I get to use interesting, colorful yarns.
It’s surprising how much you can knit while watching TV, though binge-watching the second season of House of Cards proved to be too distracting. I need to look at the needles while I knit or I find I’ve missed a stitch, or twisted something around. I’ve gotten pretty good at fixing mistakes – undoing, unraveling, fishing dropped stitches out with a crochet hook. It reminds me of sewing.
I sewed a lot from the time I was in high school through the first few years of working. Summer dresses, formal dresses, theatre costumes, skirts, and curtains. Mom had a wonderfully outfitted sewing room complete with a padded work table, a cabinet filled with threads, notions, patterns, and fabrics, a table for the sewing machine, and a full-length mirror to scrutinize the work in progress. I spent many evenings in that room, listening to the radio, cutting, pinning, stitching, ripping out stitching, re-sewing, hemming, and trying on clothes. Then came the moment when I could hold up the garment that actually looked like the pattern – I was proud to wear those clothes. Perhaps my first manager noticed that I wore the same five wrap-around skirts in different colors to work, but it’s what you do on an entry-level salary.
With young kids, I sometimes sewed Halloween costumes, or repaired split seams, but didn’t make the time to sew garments. Even knitting projects were challenging – those kids grew too fast (or I was too slow) for me to produce a sweater in the right size and season. Now that they’re grown, I don’t have that excuse, so maybe I need to find a good mini-series to accompany the click-clack of my needles. Look out cold weather – we’re all going to have warm necks and heads!