Friday, 28 January 2011

Same Hands, New Tricks: A Brand New Knitter!

A few nights ago, I was sitting next to Sherry, a very fine chef and friend. Her fingers were tangled in burgundy yarn; her cats, Robert and Ash, convinced that anything dangling was free for swatting until napping in our laps proved a better option. The first lesson in knitting, casting on, came deluxe this night with giggles at stiff fingers and cat snores.

I had almost forgotten there was a time my fingers didn't know how to hold the yarn taut to produce the right tension of stitch, how well my thumb and forefinger work together to slide each stitch onto the needle, how our hands are tools at all! How often we forget.

My lessons in knitting came under a beach umbrella in the thick heat of July. Emolyn, the daughter of a mountain woman who spins wool from her own beloved sheep, watched over my crooked and confused first scarf with the specific patience of a well seasoned knitter. And then we'd run into the waves of the Oak Island beach, where we never heard a car run but saw and swatted more mosquitoes than I cared to know exist. Regardless, I learned to knit with salt and sand coating my hands. If I were you, I'd stick to the cliche of winter nights by the wood fire, but nix the image of an old lady wearing a tight bun. I quite like my hair down, a glass of wine, and the right to toss expletives when I drop a stitch.

But watching Sherry knit for the first time reminded me how hard it can be to teach our old hands new ways to hold, maneuver. Our fingers want to act like a bunch of over-caffeinated kids on the playground, but eventually, when we realize there's no gun to our head, we begin to trust chance-taking and the fact that no thing is perfect. So let me shove the needle into this loop and wrap it with this yarn and pull it through and off and WOW! A brand new stitch. When we finally divorce the unhappy couple, creation and perfection, we can get on with better things, like creation and play or creation and healing.

So I wish Sherry very much luck in her new, volatile relationship with knitting. I may request a trade-off: a couple lessons in the kitchen. After all, we must learn to share!


Corrie Lynn

PS. A poem I wrote about the Oak Island adventure with Emolyn:

PSS. A link to Sherry's catering business:

PSSS. Here are the precious Robert and Ash!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Poem for Winter

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

xoxo Corrie Lynn