I love alliteration. Notice Monday Musings? My “plan” (stop laughing, Dear Reader, you probably don’t know me well enough yet to know what a joke that is) is to post once a week. But, I must strike while the iron is hot! And my iron is apparently hot. So…Thursday…what goes with Thursday? I was thinking Thoughtful Thursday (to go with “Musings”)…but, then I remembered my friend wrote a comic in high school called “Thoughtful Man”…I’m already copying one friend (lifeafterwork.site) by doing a blog, I’m not stealing another friend’s thing. Before I go on, let me back up and repeat myself…
HE. WROTE. A. COMIC. IN. HIGH. SCHOOL.
Remember how I said I surround myself with creative people? I wasn’t exaggerating. Also, don’t play Pictionary with him. A: his drawing skillz will make you want to smack him, and B: he gets unreasonably irate when you can guess cemetery from a nine year old’s scribbles, but his highly detailed masterpiece gets him a blank stare.
Thoughtful Thursday isn’t really working for me. Then, I thought maybe Thankful Thursday. Life has kicked me in the proverbial balls lately. Who am I kidding? that’s kind of how my life goes on the regular. But even so, there are lots of things I have to be grateful for, even if I can’t see them in the moment.
I probably won’t stick with Thankful Thursday, but I will tell a story that fits into that theme. And likely any other theme I decide to go with for Thursday.
Last post, I shared how I learned to crochet. People who know me now may be surprised my crafting journey started with crochet. I am, after all, more well known for my knitting. So, this post, I’ll share the start of my knitting journey.
It starts with Concha. She tried not once, but twice, to teach me how to knit. It was awful. First, there was the language barrier. She barely spoke English, and my Spanish was….painful at best. Then, there was the fact that regardless of the love we had for each other, we do NOT work well together. I was also like 13, so…pure spite incarnate. I was probably 15 when we tried again. Communication was easier, and I had probably graduated from being Chaotic Evil to Lawful Evil…but teenagers really are the worst. I remember being so frustrated because the yarn kept slipping off. I was also quite sure there was some trick she just wasn’t telling me.
For those keeping score…yes, we were still working with Red Heart. It was blue, and I believe it was going to be a sweater for Chiqui.
Fast forward to my early twenties. I’m working in a call center. A friend’s wife just started working there. Maria is Spanish, from Spain (how cool is that???). I was crocheting a green and pink Afghan which I remember clearly, but have forgotten who I gave it to… She was knitting, but I don’t remember what because I had only graduated to Chaotic Neutral at that point, and was very centrally focused–on me. We were talking about our relative crafts, and I mentioned my previous attempts at learning (being taught) knitting. It just wasn’t for me.
Oh no! Maria was sure she could teach me. We worked in a call center, so we had spare time between calls. She started me off with a baby blanket. So I got some needles and baby yarn…care to guess what brand???? This time I learned to knit. Still in Spanish. My first blanket had a ribbed edge, and eyelets on the diagonal. Nope, still no pictures. And I don’t remember who that went to. While Concha was knitting Continental (throwing), Maria was knitting English (throwing). I can do both now, but the throwing worked better for me to learn.
The above is not the original blanket. My knitting journey has been a loooooooooooong one. When you had to pay for film and processing, you didn’t take random pictures of random things. At least I didn’t. This is, however, the same brand and colorway of yarn. So, it’s something, right?
Shortly after, my Aunt Beth was having a baby, and wanted a layette. I know how to knit, so she asked me to knit one. I mean, by that time, I had knit like three or four baby blankets–I was practically an expert. So, I went to the craft store, found a booklet, some more baby yarn, and set about starting to knit a baby sweater. !@#$%^&* (cue needle scratch on record)
Have you ever read a pattern???? They are full of nonsense! I mean, what the heck is a knit stitch? and a purl stitch? Remember how I said I learned to knit in Spanish? She never said “this is a knit stitch” she said “do this”. And even if she named the stitches, it’s not like that would have been the same in English as in Spanish. She might as well have named them Laverne and Shirley.
Keep in mind, this was the late 90’s. The internet was barely a thing. I didn’t have access to it. And there certainly weren’t any YouTubes yet. What I had available to learn by were weird drawings (not done by my above-mentioned friend) in the booklet. So, there I sat, with the booklet in my lap, stabbing at yarn (swearing), and then going “wait! I know how to do this!” and then doing it again with the next stitch. Finally, I made my first thing. As far as I know, that sweater was never worn. But, my aunt was thrilled with it. I never let her see what the thing was supposed to look like. That’s a secret to my success. Liberal use of design features. Some may say “never let them see you sweat”. I don’t. I want them to know I worked hard! I say “never let them see the pattern”. That way, they’ll have no choice to believe that the left sleeve was intended to be longer than the right sleeve. It’s a design feature!
So, I’m thankful Concha tried to teach me to knit (twice). And I shared with her before she died that I still knit, and am grateful for all that she did.
I’m thankful that Maria didn’t believe me when I told her it wasn’t my thing. I have since shared with Maria how much that has meant to me as well as let her know that her knitting has been passed on to multiple people. I use her “technique”, but in English, to teach. I’ll tell you about my first pupil at a later date.
I am also thankful that my Aunt Beth didn’t have any doubt I could do the impossible. She usually doesn’t, even now.
I’m sure there is a lesson here, probably something about perseverance. There might also be something in there about striving for more than you think you can achieve. What do I know, I’ve only gotten to be as good as Lawful Neutral, and that only on good days, I’m probably still mostly Chaotic Neutral.
Interestingly enough, I am wearing that shirt as we speak…and I didn’t plan it.