I began this post on October 16… and a bit of water has snaked under the bridge since then…
Thanks to another link I saw for a quirky breast cancer dishtowel, I found Knitting in a Happy Camper’s blog, and I looked at all of her work in progress… and felt a little sick. Would you look at the CUTENESS overload that is the Noah’s Ark set at Simply Knitting? Would you look at all the hats and scarves and mitts and dish towels… and stuff that she and bloggers like her are completing? Would you think that maybe the iron would enter my soul, and I would be able to forge ahead and perhaps FINISH MY SCARF which I started months ago? No? Me neither. And I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.
Update: I now believe I know exactly what’s wrong with me — it apparently wasn’t yet cold enough for that ‘iron’ to enter my soul.
I’m knitting now like a mad dog — if mad dogs knit, that is. Both Mac and I have two projects each going great guns, and do you know why? Because a.) we’ve figured out that wool scarves, or ‘mufflers,’ of the type Mac has are maybe stylish looking, but they’re wicked scratchy, and b.) it was 28° F at six p.m. the other day — and dropping rapidly. c.) the sun begins to go down at 3:30, and the cold mist almost hisses up from the icy ground directly afterward.
Here’s the thing: It’s too cold to be stylish. It’s too cold to be worried about being mistaken for someone with terrorist ideologies in mind. It’s just TOO COLD. Out come the black silk balaclavas, the lumpy Tad’s-first-project hats, and the fleece lined mittens. We may look like the Pod People or like homeless folks, but we’re warm.
Oddly, knitting is not a craze with the twenties-thirties crowd here in the Auld Isle of Gaels. I don’t know about the rest of the UK, but I have not seen ONE PERSON (Okay, one person other than India, and with that girl, I believe it’s pathological) knitting anything — and granted, I don’t get out much, but I have looked at train stations, hospital waiting rooms and on buses. Nobody seems to knit, and certainly no one under the age of sixty seems familiar with the craft. Thus me plying my needles during the four hours to and from St. Andrews the other day got no end of sidelong looks.
“If I brrrring ye up a skein of wool, will you knit me a kilt?” a bespectacled and brogue-d gentleman asked me, peering at my scarf with his bifocals. (I’m going to admit right here: people in Scotland over a certain age I can barely understand. This is LOOSELY translated; he said something about knitting him a kilt, and I was too gobsmacked to hear the rest, so don’t quote me.) He folded his white cane. (Which was a sure sign to me as to why he was thinking I could knit a kilt — obviously the dear old gent couldn’t really SEE that scarf…)
“Oh, sure, if you’ve got ages,” I retorted. I love my $2 fancy clearance yarn, but ribbon yarn on bamboo needles in a moving vehicle can be a real pain, and I was a mite tetchy — as well as a little unnerved at the idea of a.) the plaid, b.) the length that would go into knitting a kilt. (Oy, and the felting!).
“Haven’t seen a young lass with the needles for many a year now,” the man went on reminiscing and I simply smiled at him, sure I was going to hear something about The War or The Depression (or didn’t they call it that here?) and went back to wrestling my scarf into submission. It was the second time I’d had (close to — minus the kilt thing, obviously) that same conversation that day.
Coming back from St. Andrews during commute hours when we had to run to a whole different track since they changed our train at the last minute due to a failure with the points — it wouldn’t switch or something — (grumble, grump, First Scot Rail!), I have to admit that my knitting smoothed the way whenever I sat down. Silver-haired passengers beamed at me and made room as I had to wedge down amongst them. It was as if God was in His heaven and all was right with the world since a proper lass — well, proper for being so dark and forrreign — wasn’t sitting with her hands idle.
People nearer my age to their mid-forties, however, were unimpressed. And Mac’s knitting… um. Freaked people the heck out. It’s just not the same when a fresh-faced boy with long hair and silver hoops in his ears plunks into the seat next to you and pulls out his bamboo yarn. Dunno why people are leery of that, but the looks were as bad as if he’d grown an extra arm.
Oh well. When it snows, as we’ve been eagerly assured that it will do, we will be READY — with weather reinforced scarves and neat and consistently cable-knitted soft mufflers.
I’m reading blogs of people working on Christmas projects, and realize with a dawning amusement that we’ve not started on Christmas yet. No, I don’t mean Scotland hasn’t — St. George’s Square is lit up like a carnival — and they have a carousel — but I mean we haven’t started on Thanksgiving. Because British television mostly does not appeal to us, we don’t watch television almost at all, thus are missing the first harbingers of any shopping frenzy: commercials. We don’t have the stunningly creepy Celine Dion lying on the floor singing at us. We don’t have toys upon toys upon kitchen items and things flashing at us screaming “Buy! Buy! Buy!” We have instead two papers due, a mountain of books to read and review and deadlines looming. We have a major rehearsal and a three hour concert looming. Maybe in a week or so we’ll be able to think about Christmas, but just now, we’re not in the buying frenzy, and not yet in the not-going-home depression, thus hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be able to wish you joy with some sort of sincerity.
After a major move and with school fees, we’re definitely not moneyed this season. What are you other broke people doing for Christmas?