A few days ago, out of the blue, my wife asked me if my sister knew how to knit. I, of course, had no idea whether my sister could knit or not, but she doesn’t strike me as the knitting type. The reason for the question was to ascertain whether she might have any knitting needles, or possibly any instructional books on the subject floating around. Turns out I was right. It seems that I actually do more knitting than my sister does, and that’s only because my rib cage is still knitting itself together after cardiac bypass surgery.
This, though, was the first indication to me that my wife had any interest in knitting at all. She’d done some crocheting, and I’ve seen some of her work. Seems very nice. But until recently, I had only been vaguely aware that there was any difference between knitting and crocheting. I know that in crocheting, one uses a dangerous-looking object with a hook on one end, while in knitting, one employs two dangerous-looking objects with pointy ends. And they both produce similar-looking results (to my untrained eye anyway.)
I don’t know where the sudden interest in knitting came from, but who am I to discourage creativity? Besides, maybe she’ll knit me a sweater. Or a pair of pants. Hang on a second… I’m trying to picture what a home-knitted pair of pants would look like. Okay, got it, I think. I’d better not ask for that.
Anyway, I was on my way out to do a few errands yesterday when Tammy said she had some yarn, asked me if I could find a pair of knitting needles for her. I said, of course, that I’d be happy to get knitting needles. But I know less than nothing about knitting and asked whether there was any particular size or style that she needed. See, whenever I try to find something for someone else, I run into unexpected problems unless I’m armed with some basic knowledge.
I fully expected that I’d go into… uh… the knitting needle store…. and ask innocently for a box of assorted knitting needles (or however they come) and then be asked something like what sort of kneedle flux are you looking for…. is there a particular needle gauge you need… do you need one with extillator hoops or would you rather have the new ones with pointillators instead?
But good customer service people apparently are hard to find, even in the current job market. I went to a well-known hobby store and asked a woman in the fabrics department where I might find knitting needles. Now, I’m distinctly uncomfortable in fabrics departments. I’d so much rather be on my own turf, which in this case would have been in the electronics section at Best Buy (where, come to think of it, I haven’t been in a very long time due to having no money with which to purchase said electronics). I used to date a part-time seamstress and I have memories of being dragged kicking and screaming into Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, and sitting quietly at a table for what seemed like months at a time while she perused patterns and cloth and other fabric-related stuff. So when I enter a fabrics department, voluntarily or not, my eyes glaze over and my mind goes numb.
Anyway, there I was in the fabrics department and, of course, I asked the lady there where I might find knitting needles. She pointed me down an aisle, and a few seconds later came after me. “Sir!” she said. “Are you looking for the needles that go in a sewing machine?”
“No,” I replied, “As I said, I am looking for knitting needles. The kind of needles you use for, y’know, knitting.” She looked at me with a confused expression on her face and said — and I swear I’m not making this up — this helpful fabric department lady said, “You mean the kind of needle you use to sew on a button?”
This is like walking into the aforementioned Best Buy and asking to see dryers, and having the customer service assistant ask if you mean the kind of dryer you use to check your email.
“No,” I said, “The kind you use to knit a sweater.” She looked at me with that odd expression on her face again. Then she led me a bit farther down the aisle and pointed. “You mean these?”
I meant those. I bought a pair of what seemed to be moderate-sized knitting needles… nothing fancy or ostentatious (there was actually a pair of rosewood knitting needles in there with mother-of-pearl inlays). I proudly took them home. My wife was pleased with my selection. I looked at them last night, and there is some yarn attached to them now. The yarn is in a configuration that seems to indicate the formation of something that may some day become something recognizable. If it turns out to be a pair of pants, though, I hope it’s for someone else.