More . . . um . . . knitting
I’ve had my FIRST KNITTING PHONE CALL. It was LOVELY. Oh, and I can knit and listen, if I’m interested. I don’t even have to stop to wave my hands around.* I’m not sure that being interested is good for the knitting, however. This second square** is emerging a lot lumpier than the first one.
And progress was halted for a while yesterday while I ripped the first few rows out. Twice. Despair was narrowly averted. Well, more to the point, not knitting any more till Fiona comes back next month was narrowly averted.*** I am now grimly soldiering on†, but Fiona did teach me to count my stitches, so if I get to the end of a row and seem to have fifteen instead of fourteen, I choose the flimsiest of them and knit it firmly to its fellow next row. Whereupon some other wisp of yarn will have got itself separated off . . . And although I am being careful to finish a row before I put it down, there seems also to be some kind of flow to knitting row after row—or at least there is when you’re a beginner who still has to remember things like . . . uh, everything. Every time I put it down and pick it back up again my yarn persona seems to have drifted slightly in some alarming new direction. It’s only a hellhound blanket.
Since there was plenty of other stuff to tell you about on Monday I didn’t get to the knitting bag. How cool is this.††
I was looking for a needle case: I’m willing to risk the occasional snappage of a standard bamboo needle††† but I became globally paranoid with the arrival of my beautiful rose-ended needles and keeping them in a floppy tote bag with the yarn and the books‡ just wasn’t on. So: needle case. Clearly I therefore also need more needles. More beautiful needles that need to be kept in a needle case. But while I was fondling needle cases‡‡ I saw this knitting bag. I had to have it not because I urgently need a specific made-for-the-purpose bag to keep my yarn in, although dedicated kit is always attractive and desirable, but because of that totally cool little hole for the yarn to feed through. It is pretty cool too, although the first thing that happened was that I couldn’t get the yarn through it and skinned the outer twist of the yarn back about eight inches which I then had to cut off and start again. GAAAAAAH. And what happens now is that the yarn jams inside the knitting bag instead of outside, but . . . it’s still cool, having a knitting bag. With knitting in it.
I am deranged. This is not news.
* * *
* So, do us flagrant gesturers do it just because we’re hopeless fidgets? I always thought we were expressing our largeness of soul and passion for life. Okay, and that we’re hopeless fidgets.
** YES I AM STILL ONLY ON MY SECOND SQUARE. There is way too much other nonsen—I mean, fascinating pursuits, not to mention hellhounds, speaking of pursuits, and a living to earn, in my life. At the moment my evenings, already under permanent strain by the blog, are relentlessly further bent and confined by the double glinty-eyed demons of Handbells and Voice. Last time I was having voice lessons there were still only three of us for Thursday handbells. And I made some wild claim about learning my last pair, the 5-6, the other inside pair, for bob major this week. Nobody told me the 5-6 were the worst. Niall—who usually rings the 5-6, just sits there smiling. They’re worse than the 3-4. Waaah.
Meanwhile I’m slightly frantically trying to remember what I used to know about singing and warm-up exercises and so on. And trying not to remember how neurotic I am about anyone hearing me.^ Are you sure you can’t hear me after you go to bed? I have said (several times) to Peter. I’m asleep three minutes after I lie down, he replies. Not to worry. —I’m also wondering when I used to find time for this.
Also meanwhile I have a friend who with press of career and life and so on has let her drawing and painting slip, and has been emailing me about how good it feels to have started it up again, and her experiments with painting media she hasn’t tried before. I wrote back to her, sigh: Drawing is probably the top of my list of things I’m Really Not Going to Get Back To This Life^^, and that forty and fifty years ago I had far more discernable talent for drawing than I did for anything musical^^^ . . . which doubtless explains why I’ve ended up plunging so heavily into music.
My friend, who clearly falls into the glinty-eyed demon category, replied, and I quote: You do know that drawing would take you no time at all to get back into, right? Unlike music, which requires an instrument, a teacher, and unbroken slots of time, a drawing takes a pencil and a notebook and whatever 5-10 minutes you’ve got to spare here and there. I see no reason why you shouldn’t do both. Perhaps we should sketch together when next I visit. Sleeping dogs are a good subject.
Emphasis mine. SPARE? I just filled the 5-10 minute spare slot with knitting. I also wish to point out, on the subject of only needing a notebook and a pencil, most people just open their mouths and sing, with their built-in instrument, if they feel like a little musical self-expression. Noooooo, I get all excited and start taking voice lessons and harassing poor innocent music teachers into starting brand new singing groups.^^^^ I’m not good at casual. Although it’s true, I’ve still got a sketchbook or two around somewhere. . . .
^ Okay, the required number of New Arcadia Singers has just gone up again.
^^ Which puts it at the head of the queue for my next life
^^^ When I was very small I was one of those notorious children who sang everything on one note.
^^^^ Large ones.
*** All the knitters out there are telling me chirpily that the books will make sense to me now. Sure. Like geometry makes sense to me because I can plant up a flower-bed. Although there might be some frightening truth there about my gardening technique.
† New mantra: It’s a hellhound blanket. It’s only a hellhound blanket. The hellhounds won’t care.
†† This was the moment that Fiona mentions in her forum comment. I turned away for a moment—just a moment—to look at needle cases. She was moseying around the yarn shelves carrying one skein and looking mild and meditative and totally in control. When I turned back again the clerk had just carolled a sum that would almost buy me a new car^ and Fiona has her arms around enough yarn to bomb New Arcadia.
^ Wolfgang’s yearly road test is coming up in about a fortnight and . . . he’s sixteen years old. And they haven’t been an easy sixteen years.
††† Although Fiona says they’re tougher than you think. Mmm. Tougher than she thinks, maybe. She’s smaller than I am. She has no hellhounds. She lives in only one house.^
^ Although she did fall off her chair for no discernable reason (also mentioned in the forum). This is hopeful from a standpoint of the reliability of fellow klutzim reportage.
‡ Increasing numbers of. I’d better learn to understand them. And the yarn? Feh. I’m going to develop a stash. I’m not even trying to resist this inevitability.
‡‡ There was one that was more emphatically rosy than this one, but I discarded it regretfully because it had a lot of white fabric background. I tend to think in terms of bloodstains for most things. And those whacking great darning needles you use to sew up look absolutely like major blood-letting to me. Although there’s another seventy-eight and a half squares (or so) before I have to think about this. The needle case will have worn out by then. Of course I’m not going to finish one project before I start on the next. How would I develop my stash with that ridiculous attitude?
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