Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Of dropped stitches and warm woollens

Wool and knitting needles.

We each are given some. Different colours and different textures, with needles of different sizes. At different times of our lives. Every time we meet someone, we are given a ball of wool and a set of needles. And the choice to make what we choose of them. Scarves, sweaters, socks, caps, whatever it is that catches our fancy, that feels like it fits that colour, that texture, that wool.

I was given some too.

Black wool. And big needles. Just right to make myself a sweater three sizes too big, and incredibly warm. It was extremely difficult, I remember. But I kept at it. My fingers hurt. And I had to juggle all my other woollens too. I had to work just as much at the grey scarves, the dark blue knit caps and the light blue scarves and everything else. Even the tiny weird multi-coloured wannabe handkerchiefs. But I worked hardest at that sweater. I knit every link, every row. And there were days that my fingers hurt. And days that I thought that the wool would run out and days that I just didn't want to try anymore. But I kept at it, hoping that at the end I would get the warmest sweater I could hope for.

It looked like I might succeed. I knitted lots of moments into that sweater. I dropped a few stitches, lots of them, actually. But I knotted them and continued, because hey, it didn't have to be perfect, just warm. And I knew it would be. It was the nice kind of wool.

I tried it one day. Just for size. Sure, it was incomplete, but I wanted to see if I was doing it correctly.
And it didn't fit.
The sleeves were all wrong, the wool fell itchy. It was just all wrong.
I still kept at it, even then.
I didn't know what else to do.
I had spent so long on it.

That's when I found the other ball. It was the colour of honey and chocolate. Warm brown with a texture that wasn't like any I had been given till then. Needles which were not too big but not too small; still just right for that oversize sweater I wanted.

So I let my incomplete black sweater go. I realised it wasn't meant to be a sweater, after all. It's still there and I work at it now and then, but it doesn't hurt now.

This brown wool was new though. I tried going at it like I had with the black. But it wasn't working. The stitches would keep dropping and there were holes and stray threads. My fingers hurt more than ever and this time it felt like it was even more difficult than before. I had to keep unravelling and starting again and again. Which is when I realised that I was going at it the wrong way.

I had to forget the old sweater.
That was the problem.

I had to start completely anew with this one. Not using any of the lessons from before, at least not all of them. I had to find my way again with this one. I had to unlearn. And begin on a new page, or a new stitch, if you will.

I am still working on that lovely brown sweater. And this time it looks like I might get it done. I'm not counting on it yet, but it seems to be going well. I still have lots of dropped stitches and some too loose knots and some too tight knots, but nothing too dangerous. I'm getting there.

Looks like it'll be a nice addition to my wardrobe of warm.


Kavya said...

your honey-coloured wardrobe of warm :)

This is, by far, one of my favorites of all your writings. Maybe because I'm giving it real-life interpretations too accurately (or maybe not at all accurately). But it's so beautiful and so, so very poetic.
And real. I can hold it in front of me, look at it. That real.

Ayesha said...

Thank you :)

I thought of it differently, in a non-specific way. But I do love how it turned out :)