So, here’s the situation: I was out of town for a few days, visiting Ashland, Oregon. I brought along a knitting project I’m working on, just in case I had a little down time to knit a few rows. All well and good, except the project also involves some stuff I haven’t done in a long time, like doing single crochets and French knots.
Before I left home, I actually sought out instruction on how to do a single crochet and make a French knot on YouTube. (Of course, you can find these things on YouTube.) What I couldn’t find, though, was a LEFT-HANDED person doing the demonstrating. I just wasn’t able to make the shift as I watched. And when I tried to imitate what I’d seen, what I thought were going to be French knots turned out not to be knots at all. I needed a real person watching me and showing me the error of my ways.
I’ve been to Ashland before and knew exactly where to go for some help: the local yarn store. I figured I could go in and ask someone to give me a few pointers. I took my work into the store and the all-knowing crochet master was summoned from the back. We sat down together and I watched her do what I had been struggling with. It looked so easy when she did it! I did a practice round under her watchful eye, and it all seemed to make sense. Then we moved on to the French knots. She admitted that she was a little rusty too, and fussed over the first few she tried. But her muscle memory kicked in and she did several perfect knots with my needle and yarn. Then it was my turn, and I felt completely turned around. I had to adapt what she’d done, using my left and right hands in the opposite way. What she was telling me with words wasn’t filtering through. I watched her again and tried it myself. Not a knot, again. Brain to hand: do you read me?
“What I ought to do,” I told my patient instructor, “is take a picture of what I’m doing.” And then I whipped out my cell phone and asked her if she would take a picture of my hands in action. She was unfamiliar with the whole phone as camera thing, so I had the chance to teach her something too! We took a few pictures of a knot in progress, doing it my way with my left hand. Even if I hesitated later, when I tried to do one on my own, I could look at the starting position, the next step, and finally, at a completed knot to see if it looked right. For the first few times, until I knew I was on the right track, the visual aids were a big help in untangling the mysteries of those #@&!! knots. (Pardon my French!)
- Risa Nye
Risa is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, which means she has a whole lot of letters after her name now. She is a neophyte blogger at zerotosixtyinoneyear.com.