I’m not sure what, exactly, has kept me away from knitting for so long. Despite my penchant for hobbies involving wire and beads, paper, paints and charcoal, something about the fabric crafts has been lost on me and, after a few failed attempts at sewing, I quit and never looked back.
Somehow, though, it’s happened at last, and after years of professing that I had no need for knitting, I succumbed and took up the needles and yarn in a gesture that I suspect has equally to do with pregnancy and the many, dark hours of winter.
Something else informs this decision, I suspect: a desire to sit and count, to run yarn through my fingers and watch rows build, one on another, into something that (ideally) has a shape and form. Knitting is a way to fill the busy space of waiting with a rhythm, a steady count.
The urge to knit came over me abruptly, as most urges do these days, and so my brother (who is, as we know, a champion knitter) bought two skeins of yarn and two sets of needles for me as a Christmas gift. We packed them in our suitcases, took them to Hawaii with us and spent at least one evening on the lanai at sunset, learning to cast on and master the knit stitch. I knit and unravelled several rows, again and again, feeling very much like less dramatic Penelope, though sunburnt and plied with iced tea as I worked.
I took my project, in various states of assembly and disassembly, to the beach, and knit beneath the shade of a beach umbrella. I took it with me on the airplane, to the pool, and worked steadily on weaving something even and complete, even if it was only the tiniest of finished squares, which it was: I gave the final product to Mitch, who uses it now as an awkward but orderly wine-colored bookmark.
I have since begun work on a scarf, a process that the cats find fascinating. While one hangs by two teeth from a needle, the other stalks, pounces and bats at the twitching skein of yarn, and I knit 2 purl 2 my way through a stash of yarn the color of plums, working stitch by stitch and row by row.
I suppose this gives me something to do with my anxious, fluttery hands while I wait.