I used to be a freak for knitting, but that was when my good friend and neighbor, Carolyn, owned a yarn shop in town. It was a haven—it had a little couch where my friend Joan and I would sit early on Saturday mornings before the shop opened. We would bring coffee for three, and we would all sit there among the yarn and needles and the fluffy white dog named Mr. Bennett, and we would yap and sip and giggle. Who wouldn't want to take up knitting under those conditions?
After the shop closed and Carolyn moved to Georgia, I lost my interest in the craft aside from making little baby hats for charity—they suit my short attention span, and once I have memorized the hat pattern, I don't have to think about what I'm doing beyond keeping track of which row I'm on.
Well, during our Christmas visit with my family, one of my sisters showed me a project she was about to launch into. A knitting project. A curly scarf that wraps and wraps around your neck and looks funky and whimsical. I read through the quick four-row set of instructions, figured out the unusual trick that makes the scarf curl (with the help of No. 1), and I memorized it all.
When we got home, I dug out some yarn left over from the old haven shop and got to work. I found that once I got started, I couldn't stop, and with No. 1 egging me on because she wanted the scarf, I kept going and going and going until I was nearly out of yarn. I knitted during the day, even, which is something that usually makes me feel guilty, like when you check your email during church or laugh at a funeral or look at your watch when you're having lunch with a friend. It's just not done.
I knitted and knitted until my wrists hurt, wooden needles dully clicking and yarn flying. I would take a little break to rest my sore tendons and then get back to work. I thought of a horn player I know who recently had carpel tunnel surgery and how I didn't want to go through that, but I couldn't stop myself until the scarf was finished.
I made my deadline, which was to have the project finished before No. 1 flew back to Berkeley. Here it is, stretched out on the floor of the lake house on New Year's day.