Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knitted in Love

One of my island neighbours knit her husband a toque. Forty years later he still wears it.

She tells him that it has become ugly with age --he wears it. She explains that the yarn has become pilled --he wears it. She says the colours have faded --he wears it.

"You knit it for me. You knit it for me when we...when our love was oh so young," he coos. "I don't want a new toque. I don't want any toque but this one." He draws her into his arms and kisses her.

"Oh, I give up." She laughs.

Later, when he is having an afternoon nap, she confides in me, toque in hand. "I'm going to take this dirty old thing and burn it. You see how ugly it is!" She pauses. "Its just...its just that...he feels the cold so. Maybe if I could make one exactly like it it. The same colour --the same pattern..."

"What's the matter?"

"Well, dear. It just won't work."

"Why not?"

"I lost the pattern years ago and these old hands they just won't hold the needles."

I take the toque from her hands, closely examining it. "I can design a toque exactly like this one."

"Really? Well, that would be wonderful dear." She says, handing me a shopping bag with a skein of yarn. I add the toque.

Arriving home, I set to work. I'm impressed by the clever design. Still, there are things I like to change. I resist the impulse. I replicate the toque. I knit the last stitch, sew the seam, and weave in the ends.

I place the remaining yarn with both toques in the shopping bag, and walk back to my neighbour's. She is pleased to see me and enquires about my progress.

"I'm finished." I hand her the bag.

She takes the new toque out of the bag, hands the bag back to me and examines my work. She grins.

Her husband sails in to the kitchen, grabs the toque and announces, "I'm going for a walk." He kisses her and waves good-bye to me.

Victorious, we wait until he leaves and then we share a laugh.

Later, with the old toque as my muse, I design a new --and I think, better --toque. It quickly becomes my favourite toque pattern. I have knit it for men, women, children and infants. I keep several for myself.

Tomorrow: I share the pattern