Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spinning Yarns

I learned knitting way back in school, in MHS, in class VII. I remember picking up the nuances of the craft quite easily and enthusiastically. A little too enthusiastic perhaps. We were all asked to knit a set of clothes for a newborn baby, as per instructions, to create a sleeveless woollen vest (the sleeveless part has always struck me as absurd), a bonnet and a pair of booties (socks). Mine eventually translated into one that when cheerfully displayed to our needlework teacher, Mrs Srivastav, struck her speechless with amusement. After her recovery from a bout of inane toothing, she managed a benign grin and said she was quite pleased with my performance but I needn't really have exerted myself to such an extent. Apparently, my creations were big enough to apparel a six-month old baby quite effortlessly. I packed my bags after the class, hurling imprecations against the world in general for not having offered me any opportunity to develop the slightest idea of the relative difference in size between a newborn and a six-month old baby. No wonder Siddhant struck me as miniscule in terms of magnitude a few months back.

There was a particular reason for my disgust. Salt Lake was almost an island in those days, in terms of transportation options. It did not help that my father is a doctor by profession, too busy to lavish much attention on our arts-and-crafts-related (and therefore entirely optional and futile, according to him) needs. Ma, though extremely street-smart and intelligent, was only courageous enough to venture bravely into the New Market shopping territory. Salt Lake itself suffered from a gigantic dearth of shopping destinations. Hence, procuring all needlework etc related raw materials was really an issue of sorts. After several sharp reprimands in needlework classes for my failure to produce the necessary knitting paraphernalia, I ultimately effected a showdown back home, threatening to boycott education until my needlework needs were taken seriously. Results were prompt. After considerable gnashing of teeth and directing of choice expletives against my hallowed academic environs, Baba took a trip to Gauranga Bastralaya in Gariahat and returned with wool in the brightest, gaudiest shade of chrome yellow imaginable. Even now I shudder when I care to imagine any newborn or even six-months' old baby being attired in clothes of that colour. I wouldn't want this type of misfortune to befall even the child of my worst detractor.

Well. That is my point. Baba excused his colour-blindness by citing the inability to procure so many yarns of such a ply simultaneously at the aforementioned store except in this garish hue. Mrs Srivastav's matter-of-factness therefore had every potential of triggering off any latent hysteria in me. To undergo such histrionics for all that knitting and then its being considered as superfluous. Well, no wonder I've been short tempered since.

Why return to knitting at such a belated stage of life, you're obviously wondering, when it's evident I've unresolved neuroses regarding this area in my unconscious. Turns out Tanima inspired me to re-tread dreaded territory with a very sacred purpose to fulfil this time. Namely, a muffler for K. I wished to gift him something that incorporated my signature and which, he would therefore, treasure for years to come. Maybe he'd show it to our children some day with a glow in his eye, reflecting all the warmth that it bestowed on him and the sense of his worth it distilled. So, though with quite some trepidation, I did buy some wool at Walmart and left him to shortlist the multicoloured yarn he wanted spun into a muffler. It wasn't the typical Libran indecision that he battled this time. The place does offer you exquisite colour combinations and left to me, I might have ended up purchasing more than what figured on my initial agenda. I called up Tanima and verified that I was getting the right raw materials. The needles did scare me a bit, being miles long (not literally, silly) and of Christmas tree ball hues: gold, purple and deep blue. I settled on purple (predictably).

On Monday, after K left for office, I downloaded a couple of DIY (Do It Yourself) knitting videos on YouTube and set about charging my knitting batteries. It took me a day to gain courage and finally embark on the decided project. When I did, I don't mind confessing that I had to unravel the entire thing thrice. The first time, I took too many stitches and then realised that I wanted a muffler, not a shawl. The second mishap was occasioned by my discovery that I was not doing the 'purl' correctly, forgetting to bring the yarn towards the front every time I changed from 'knit' to 'purl'. The third (and fortunately the final) setback was owing to my flipping through a couple of webpages and determining that what I actually wanted was the ribbed look for the muffler. Happily, I still had enough motivation to allow me to proceed. Even after all these unhappy incidents. Only goes to show how badly I wanted to get this gift going. For our sake.

Here's how it looks at this moment. Wish me luck (and no more mishaps) with the rest of it !

P.S. Here is the link to the 2 knitting videos that caused me to sally forth on this voyage, in case you too are stranded in deep waters and need immediate aid.

Btw, I discovered I'm not alone in knitting related fears. Check out this one, if you don't believe me.

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