For Part 1, please click here.
The knitting class advertised at the public library read “For beginning knitters.” I have never picked up knitting needles before, so I thought I was a perfect fit for this class!
When I went to register two weeks before the one-time class was going to be held, I discovered there was a waiting list. I was so disappointed! I put my name on the list, hoping that maybe they would schedule another class if it was popular. I was number eight.
The day of the class came. A librarian called, and told me that I would be able to attend. I stammered, “I’ll be there,” and then rushed around trying to find the supplies I would need. I’m usually a quick study, so I imagined coming home with a finished sachet, which was the evening’s project.
When I walked into the room at the library, right on time, I saw at least 20 women sitting around tables arranged in a large “U” shape. A television camera was at the closest corner of the “U”, ready to tape the class for the library cable channel. I grabbed my handouts, and sat in the seat closest to the camera. I figured if I was right next to the huge camera, it wouldn’t catch me in my stay-at-home mom’s getup: no make-up, air-dried hair, comfy clothes.
Class started. The first step was a piece of cake. Make a slip knot with your yarn, and put your needle into the loop. I already knew how to make a slip knot, so I was helping the people around me make their slip knots. This was going to be so easy!
Then, we were supposed to put the other needle into the yarn loop, cross it behind the first needle. Next step: bring the yarn around the right needle, in between both needles, pull the yarn through the loop, loop the loop you made over the top of the left needle.
I was stuck. I couldn’t visualize what the instructor wanted us to do. I sat there, frozen with my needles crossed, while women around me were gaily looping away. I tried to follow the pictures on my handout. I still couldn’t fathom what I was supposed to do. The instructor came over. “You look like a woman in need!” she exclaimed. Yes, I was clearly in need! She showed me effortlessly how to cast on.
I started “casting on.” The instructor announced “Cast on 24 stitches.” I counted my stitches. I had 28. I unraveled some while the instructor showed us the next step. I was down to 20 stitches now. I started adding more stitches. The instructor checked on me. “Are you knitting or still casting on?” I stared dumbly at my needles.
“I don’t know.”
“You’re casting on!” she told me. Oh. I thought I was knitting!
I finished my 24 stitches, and the woman next to me showed me how to do the knit stitch, while the instructor started teaching the purl stitch.
I decided to stick with the knit stitch.
When I had barely four rows of stitches, the instructor quickly went over casting off, and the class was over.
While I didn’t learn as much about knitting as I thought I would, some of the mysteries of knitting were unraveled. I now know casting on and the knit stitch. As I look at my mother’s knitting supplies, however, I find other mysteries that I will never solve. Mom wasn’t a fan of the color yellow, yet there are two beautiful skeins of soft yarn named “lemonade”. What was she going to make with all that yellow yarn? There is also some beautiful knitting still attached to a pair of circular needles. Was she knitting another prayer shawl? Who was the unfinished project meant for?
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the heart to finish the knitting project Mom began. As I practice my knitting at home, though, I’m discovering that knitting is addicting. I feel a connection with Mom; and while I still have a lot to learn, I know that every time I pick up my knitting needles, I’ll remember her.