Once upon a time I knew 'the way of wool'. I crocheted and knitted, I made jumpers plain and cabled, I made rugs woolly and warm and everywhere there was wool. There was even home-spun and hand-dyed wool from Gwyna the Border Leicester. The world was peaceful and simple, content and cosy.
Then one day in the early days of Laptop, at a very stressful workplace, this young maiden was given a cramped workspace and a tight deadline and she got a very very bad case of RSI (repetitive strain injury).
The wise men of the clinic and white coat gave me a plastic brace and lots of physiotherapy but still my RSI put a stop to knitting. I couldn't hold my arms in the right position to knit and my arms stung each time I tried to pick up needles. I gave up knitting angry that a workplace injury denied me one of my simple pleasures. I guess I assumed that I wouldn't be able to crochet either, in any case I gave up playing with wool and instead channelled my desire to 'make things' into sewing, cooking and gardening.
Many years passed and the other day, drawn to all things textile, I wandered into a wool shop - one of those lovely wool shops where the skeins are stunning, the patterns are not daggy and young women inhabit in threes and ask questions of wise knitting women and chatter about their next project.
I was about to walk out thinking that 'the way of wool' was behind me when the shop's fairy godmother Ruth spoke to me in her calm, soft, European accent. She said, "are you looking for something?".
I told her of my arms and my love of textile and how I wished I could knit again. I said , "I wondered if I might be able to crochet seeing it was a different kind of action to knitting - perhaps I could try a small project, to see if my arms could manage it and to see if I remembered how to read the secret code of crochet". It was as if she drew the words from me.
Fairy godmother Ruth said, "I think you like retro, here - try this pattern book". She must have looked at my clothes, I was looking particularly retro that day. Or, being a fairy godmother, she just 'knew'...
The book was filled with pictures of beautiful women dressed in clothing from the time before Laptop. Beside each picture was the 'secret code' - it looked familiar, but did I still know how to read it?
Not long after I left the shop with six balls of wool, a hook and a pattern book. "Start slowly darling, don't hurt yourself" were the Fairy godmother's parting words. I think she also sprinkled me with fairy dust...
I took the book home and, as if not a single day had past since I had last hooked, the secret code that is only for the initiated - ch, sl st, dc, tr, dt - was again familiar. I wrapped the wool around my left hand in the configuration that is known to all who hook and soon I was trebling (and trembling) with joy.
So far so good, I have made six largish squares and not a twinge, not a twang, not a sting, not a burn. I am still crossing my fingers that I will once again know 'the way of wool'. I am hoping that the fairy dust doesn't wear off.
Here is a square in progress.
I think it's going to be a pretty mad scarf.
I am contributing this to My Creative Space. See what others are doing