My experiments with knitting

My experiments with knitting

I admired my mother who turned out cardigans with effortless ease

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

Shortly after Macbeth (in Shakespeare’s play of that title) kills King Duncan, he hears a voice informing him that he will ‘sleep no more’. Bemoaning what lies ahead, Macbeth pays tribute to nocturnal rest. He says that it alleviates the disquiet of the day and ‘knits up the ravelled sleeve of care’. Ignoring the figurative aspect of this poetic personification, I picture myself in an armchair, working wonders with wool. 

I was six years old when I acquired a pair of beginner’s knitting needles. Shorter than the usual ones, they were easy to handle. My mother explained the basics of the craft and I started on a scarf for my father. As row succeeded row, with the required length a distant dream, I settled for something smaller. My father greeted my gift effusively, as if the prosaic piece of linen in his pocket could not compare with a knitted handkerchief!

I admired my mother who turned out cardigans with effortless ease. She had learnt knitting from my paternal grandmother who was proficient in the art. Once, while staying with us, the elderly lady spotted the baby next door. Little Nisha could soon be seen, sporting a smart sweater.

I have inherited a craze for knitting from both sides of my family but not the competence. I mainly have caps and bootees to my credit although, on one occasion, I actually knitted a pullover for the son of a colleague.  I was aided in that ambitious enterprise by experts at school.

I now belong to a group of people who knit and crochet squares. We hand over these to gifted individuals who create beautiful blankets for underprivileged infants. I derive delight from trying out intricate patterns and posting colourful pics on Whatsapp. Sometimes I stumble and pride takes a tumble! Just as I approach the magic four-inch mark, a momentary lapse of concentration results in errors.

I marvel at the women who sat by the guillotine during the French Revolution, knitting incessantly as heads rolled. Those ‘tricoteuses’, as they were known, are immortalised in Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. How, I wonder, did they focus on gory sights without dropping stitches?

Six decades ago, I embarked on my pleasurable pastime. I still use the needles of my childhood, but have made some progress since my early experiments with knitting.

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