Let none among you say I am not doing my bit to increase the tribe. About a month ago, I was asked if I'd teach knitting to my colleagues in the office. I kid you not. Once per quarter, we're herded into a room together for an afternoon class of some kind. This time, they decided it would be fun to play with yarn. And who am I to argue with that?
However, I firmly declined to teach basic knitting to a crowd 35 people, many of whom have no interest in the subject. I said I'd take on a dozen–and they had to volunteer to be there. I can imagine few chores more thankless than trying to frogmarch an unwilling horde through the longtail cast-on.
And so we assembled last week in a sunny room looking out to the lake. A funeral and a sick child reduced the class to ten. Everyone sat down with a ball of bulky Louët Riverstone and a pair of US 10 bamboo needles,* and about an hour later everybody had cast on and done at least a row or two of garter stitch.
This was my first time leading a group, and I was fascinated by the differences among the students. I'd divide them roughly into three categories.
- This is interesting, but... Comprised about a third of the students. Will probably never pick up the needles again. I'd like to think it's not the fault of my teaching. It's certainly not because I lack evangelical zeal. They were all politely enthusiastic, but when the opportunity to break for cookies presented itself they took off–and didn't take their (free!) yarn and (free!) needles with them.
- Hey, this isn't half bad... The majority reaction. Pressed on through the terror of casting on and the first, tentative row of stitches to reach a point where they were knitting without dropping, adding, or holding onto their needles like Dubya clinging to the last shreds of his authority.
- St Paul on the Road to Damascus. One student, an absolute beginner. Fumbled the cast-on once or twice. Then, as though she'd been kissed by the spirit of Elizabeth Zimmerman, knit about seven perfect rows and could not stop. When it could no longer be denied that class was over and it was time to go back to work, she looked positively stricken. "I don't want to," she whimpered. "I just want to knit. I don't want to do anything else. It's not fair."
Honest to goodness, I don't know to feel about her. It may be that she'll always remember me as the fellow who ushered her into a world of limitless creative possibility. Alternatively, she may remember me as the reason she's in rehab, couples therapy, or credit counseling.
Mercury Is a Punk-Ass Chump
Nothing too exciting on the needles at present. I'm afraid even to touch the christening shawl, considering my abysmal track record over the past several weeks. I've never been much of one for astrology, but the idea of a Mercury retrograde* screwing up my knitting seems downright logical. I mean, the problem can't possibly be me.
Against all odds, I've finished the Earth Mother socks and they look fine. They aren't exciting, but they fit and they match. Right now, that feels like Achievement.
On the other hand, the Mystery Square has been frogged. Again.
The altar cloth? Ripped back to the start of the Endless Knot pattern. Again.
Will somebody please tell me when Mercury is going to get its ass back in gear? Will it be soon? Or should I just give up and start blogging about découpage and popsicle-stick birdcages?
*Thanks to our outfitters at Arcadia Knitting.
*Thanks to commenter Tamar for telling me about this. If you're one of the 5,000 people who needs an e-mail from me, that's Mercury's fault, too. Also, Mercury made me eat a lot of peanut M & Ms last night, and hid my laundry detergent. And my dishwasher.