She asks me to knit her a pair of fingerless mitts. A special request for Christmas. I say, of course, and hope she’s forgotten about the request, hope it will be a surprise. I knit a few rounds in the morning before she comes down; I knit a few rounds when she’s recording her Spanish homework; I knit a few rounds when she’s texting her friend in the other room.
Stolen moments. Found moments.
Using a pattern I’ve used before (twice), this should be easy. Her pair is my third pair. Isn’t third time a charm? But there’s no charming here. Just slow progress.
This morning, I’m ready to close off the thumb hole and am cursing. I’ve turned the needles as instructed and am trying to cast on three new stitches. I have to look this up. Though I love knitting, I don’t knit often and I forget how to do everything, save knit and purl. So I look it up. (As I said, slow progress). I’m doing something wrong. The stitches are too tight; I know it shouldn’t be this hard. I’m nervous because if I screw this up (if I can’t bind off the thumb hole, if I drop stitches) I’ll have to pull everything out and begin again. I imagine myself in tears.
Other than the cursing, it’s a lovely morning with twinkle lights and soft Christmas music and still-sleeping teens. Eventually I figure out what I’m doing wrong. I feel my shoulders release. I might have smiled. I stop cursing.
I have no idea how anyone designs knitting patterns. Who figures out gussets and binding off thumb holes? It’s more than a little amazing to me.
All that’s left now is a few rounds of straight knitting. It looks good. It looks like I know what I’m doing.
Except that I don’t. I’m simply following someone’s excellent instructions. I read each section of a pattern before knitting, and I feel blank. Friends of mine can read a pattern and they nod their heads in understanding; they picture it clearly. Not me. I read it and think gobbledygook.
But I trust. I make the stitches and hope and hope and hope it’ll turn out right. And then there’s the moment when I reach a critical point in the project (say, closing off a thumb hole), and it’s like magic. I think this every time.
It is magic to me that I just created a thumb hole. Just like that. Never mind the momentary anguish and the curse words. Never mind the curious aspect that I claim to love knitting but sometimes struggle mightily.
Knitting does not come easily to me. And yet.
And yet the magic finds me. Or I find it.
And so I keep on.
always the love, m
Last chance to join us for the holiday edition of Just Five Things. Click image below. We start Monday, Dec 7.