Yarn on the table

November 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Girls’ nights can be such good fun. This weekend a friend came up from Denver and we spent most of our time around the table. The dining room table is not just for dining in this apartment; that’s probably its purpose perhaps a quarter of the time. The rest of the time it holds the mail or the groceries, displays flowers or candles or whatever the season suggests, serves as a writing-and-planning desk, and now, especially most recently, it is a hub for crafts.

When my friend Amanda came up last Saturday night we had hot chocolate, a baguette with good butter, and beef heart cooked with potatoes and carrots and garlic. How glad I was to have her here! She wanted to sew a tote and I finally got my sewing machine out – the sewing machine I got for my birthday last May and have simply been too tired from working to do anything with. Just now I am waiting for fabric to arrive so I can put some ideas into action. But that night, I was happy to let Amanda have at it. She sat down without a pattern and out came the cutest little denim satchel with a mustard-yellow strap. That girl has creativity in her fingertips.

And me? I had just – JUST! – taught myself to knit earlier that day. I now know how to cast on and do a basic knit stitch. Yay, me! So while I had planned that evening with ideas for felt flower bobby pins and charmingly decorated seed packets, I couldn’t set down that yarn. My fingers wanted to practice. What a nice little feeling of accomplishment it is to see string turn into a length of fabric!

Though, I’ve pulled out most of those early stitches and have now set the brown yarn aside until I can decide what I actually want to do with it, after all. Instead, a pretty pink little scarf will be my first completed project, and I’m proud to say that I’ve got a couple of feet in length already. Knitting once seemed impossible to me, or at least not worth the trouble. After a failed attempt at learning to crochet in college, I avoided what I saw as the “needle arts,” waving them off with the excuse, “I’m too impatient.”

Yet as I get more and more into sustainable agriculture, along grows the desire for self-sufficiency, and that means becoming capable of new things, acquiring the most basic of skills. Including those slow-moving, detail-oriented needle arts. I want to grow, do, and make whatever I can for myself, and for others. Why? That, my friends, may be a much longer post. For now, I’m following the instinct.

Just now I have a half skein of yarn on my right, and a half-completed scarf on my left. Occasionally I get up to wrap what I have around my neck and smile at myself in the mirror. I avoided knitting until it seemed silly for me to not know how to do it. Until I started taking on real challenges on purpose, instead of only going towards things where I suspected I could most easily succeed. Now it’s like an addiction. That seems hard? Or not like me? Let’s see if I can do it. This approach has made life much more interesting and occasionally humiliating – or maybe just humbling. Certainly more satisfying. I dare you to try it!

The day after our evening of crafts, I came home from the horse barn to see the remnants of our fun on the table. The late-morning light and the first clementines pulled everything together and I had to stop, to pause in that small bright moment. It was a good thing to come home to.

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