When I realised what I’d done, I’m certain my heart stopped for a moment. I was on a bus — stuck on a bus for an hour — and I’d forgotten my knitting. And I know no one else around me understood what I was going through. They were all staring at their phones, filling their minds with texts and tweets and pixels and nothingness, while I sat and tried to keep my hands from twitching. No one else on that bus understood, but I know you do.
I pulled out my phone and tried to join in the tiny-screen distraction but… urghhhh… it felt pointless, a sorry substitution. I stuffed the phone back in my handbag and turned to stare out the window instead, past the streaks of rain obscuring the view, and realised with a start that the bus was about to drive past a local yarn shop. Right past it — no slowing, no stopping, no sympathy. And as the shop came into view and then passed away again, I fell a pull right from my guts. There were needles and yarn in there! That’s all I needed — just two sticks and some string — and the next hour could be filled with that that physical satisfaction of beautiful yarn moving through my fingers, the righteousness of softly clicking needles.
But instead… ughhhhh. I turned away from the window, pulled out my phone again — what else was I to do? — and tweeted out my despair to people who would get it. And you did.
And there, on that bus in the rain, with twitchy fingers and that horrid sensation of empty uselessness, I suddenly felt warmed by the cyber-support of my kin and kind, the sympathy of virtual companions when those around me showed none.
Why did I forget my knitting?!? Because I have been working my socks off getting ready for Rhinebeck — and apparently turning my brain into mush the in process! (What else could possibly explain allowing myself to get into a pickle like that?) I asked a friend, how much yarn do I think I’ll need to have ready? And her sobering reply: “More than you ever thought possible“.
And so I’ve been dyeing from sun up to sun down — oh, and wellllll beyond sundown too . Thick yarns, thin yarns, laceweight and bulky. Cashmere, sparkles, linen, and silk. There are yarns hanging from every possible space waiting to be tied, waiting to be tagged, waiting to be twisted (and my fingers ache already in anticipation of all that twisting!).
But for all the effort it’s taking to do all this dyeing, I am loving it. There is a real bliss that comes from from dyeing at speed, when you don’t have time to overthink it — you don’t have time to think at all — and you just do it. You dye from instinct, putting colours together with honesty and spontaneity. For all the hours I’m putting in, I am so enjoying this! I don’t know, when all is said and done, if I’ll have enough for Rhinebeck, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Or lack of passion.
When I got home, I barely stopped to take off my jacket — I needed a fiber fix and I needed it fast. There was my knitting, lying forlorn in its bag near the door, but to start on it would have meant counting rows and checking the chart. No time! Instead I pulled a chair up to my Lendrum, make two quick adjustments, and set the wheel into its hypnotic rhythm. Letting fiber slip through my fingers, that gentle whir and the smell of the wool, I felt my insides gently decompress.
After a few minutes, I let the wheel slow, and then stop. And then I went into the kitchen to put on the kettle, everything right in my world again.