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A good yarn

Do you ever find that when you’re extra busy, you feel the need to take up some all-consuming activity that has no connection at all to the matters that are crowding on your life and uses up the time that you have allotted to these urgent tasks?

I could blame my daughter-in-law who tentatively told me that the baby, my granddaughter, had grown out of all her cardigans. I could blame the family who house-and-animal-sat for us while they were between houses and we were away from home – they gave me a voucher to spend in an exotic wool shop. I could say I need a distraction from preparing our home of twenty seven years for its imminent appearance on the housing market. Or I could say that, just as there is a season for reading, a season for keeping fit, a season for trying new recipes, this autumn saw the return of the season for the long-neglected activity of knitting. I won’t bore you with the garments I have produced. Suffice to say that the family are perspiring under the weight of yarn adorning their persons – and it’s not over yet. And what’s wrong with that? I hear you say.

And what’s wrong with that? I echo, between whispers of knit 4 rows, dec 1 st at neck edge of alt rows while AT THE SAME TIME (is there any need to shout?) inc 1 st at arm edge on next and every 4th row. I have discovered that these days I understand knitting patterns much better if read them aloud. Perhaps that’s another reason why my husband is suggesting that there is something wrong with this seemingly harmless (though not necessarily ‘arm-less’) pursuit. The first reason he proffered was that, apparently, I get through so much other stuff when I’m not knitting. What is that vital other stuff? I query (after establishing that I now have 39 stitches on my needle. But shouldn’t it be 38? Did I remember to decrease at the end of that last row?). Well… he murmurs … (just let him say cooking, my suffragette side grits) … stuff like like … then triumphantly …stuff like writing.

Writing! Who feels any warmer or better dressed if I write a few lines. I ask you! Besides, when I knit, I can think; thinking has to come before writing, doesn’t it? Okay, I do occasionally have to supress my ruminations on Brexit, on global warming, on Andy Murray’s grind to greatness, to count my stitches (or to retrieve the one that got away) but if my thoughts were worth a penny, I will probably think them again – and again.

Isn’t there some old saying about Satan and idle hands? Well, I can knit while I think, I can knit while I watch a film, I can knit while I read a book. Yes, husband! I can multi-task. So put that on your needles and knit it.

Esther Cohen