Day I started

Day I started
  1. It all started here…on this sunlit, warm alcove which doubles up as the command centre of home. It started with knitting samplers ( which were converted to cushion covers ), reading the Barbara Walker set of the best knitting patterns ever, drinking tea ( and spilling some on the dogs), and reading knitting blogs. After working for six months with a well established, hugely successful NGO of the mountains, I had realised that it was good knitting which excited me, not good sales of casually knitted articles.
  2. Everyone knits in these areas…retired Army men, goat-herds, firewood collecting women, cataract-afflicted grandmas, and home-bound women seeking an extra income. When quantity is the key word, quality falls out between the cracks. “Expert knitters” would have knots embedded in the fabric, cables could change length, and button holes may look askance at their partner buttons.
  3. Returning from Delhi by the (invariably late) night train, I pulled out my knitting at 11 pm. Knitting soothes my exasperated nerves, but on that trip, it introduced me to a charming woman who just couldn’t stop looking at my moving fingers. By the time the train pulled into Kathgodam, the end of the railway track, both of us forged a bond of friendship which remains strong and supportive and silly and superb..till date.
  4. 1st March 2013, with the complete and competent support of my friend and mentor from the train, 7 women came home to meet me and each other. They were also introduced to circular needles, knitting charts, yarn swift and winder, and the name which is mine now–“Didi”.
  5. One sceptical husband, on seeing the set of circular knitting needles his wife had been given, sneered , “those aren’t for knitting, they are discarded IV needle sets”.
  6. Our little team of 8 coined our special names for darning ends ( hansi-bushi), yarn colours ( jungle flowers, sookha tree), patterns, knitting terms and everything else in-between.  There was a term for my reaction to their knitting, “OH WOW! but…what is this?!”
  7. There was big time ripping, undoing, redoing happening…there was little knitting done…there were plenty of disheartened faces and teary eyes. But there was this camaraderie, this zing and zest, this respect for each other’s idiosyncrasies, which kept us going.
  8. I read blogs and shared what I gleaned..I watched Youtube videos with them, repeatedly…I translated podcasts and showed the knitters the magnificent knitting which was being hand knit, all over the world.
  9. The moss stitch mufflers were the first to come out of our knitting needles….it was magical, the realisation, that turning the knitting by one right angle could make knitting unique.
  10. And here’s my personal favourite…the knitted triangular shawl! We knit it plain, mesh it with lace, add stripes , mix colours and continue to experiment with the shape and the texture…The saga continues..



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