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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fear and loathing in knitting class

I hate needles. When I was five it took three nurses, two doctors and my mother in order to administer my flu shot.
My mom bought me Oreo cookies after the ordeal but I still hate needles.
I thought the aversion was confined to medical establishments but last Wednesday I encountered the phobia within an academic atmosphere -- I decided to take a knitting class.
The impetus was my publishers’ request to step outside my daily bounds and learn a new skill.
As I perused through the catalog of extending learning classes offered by Sheridan College, I came upon the description for Beginning Knitting. I found the wording agreeable and concluded that the art would be miles outside my comfort zone. Perfect.
Then came the first day of class.
True to my fashion, I sat in the back. I looked upon my classmates and noticed they were all women, they had all brought bags filled with yarn and they were all currently knitting as they waited for the teacher.
I was lost and the instructions hadn’t even begun.
The teacher walked in, chronicled her infatuation with knitting, showed us some samples of her work and began to assign materials.
I picked out some classy Marino wool and waited to receive my needle designation.
The teacher looked at me and pulled out the big guns. Size fourteen needles, I could barely hold the things. They were like shovel handles.
I went back to my seat and tried to figure out how I could make a sweater out of two steroid-laden chopsticks and a small ball of wool.
“Let’s learn to cast on.”
She showed us the knot to use and I was able to tie it quickly — this isn’t so hard.
“Now put it on your needle and hold your yarn like this.”
It appeared as if her middle finger and pointer finger were doing some kind of yoga that I couldn’t understand.
“Ok, now cross under once, twice, and split between. Do fifteen of these and you have your first row.”
I was still trying to get my fingers in the right position.
“Alright, now let’s go on to the second row. Go between the knot, wrap the yarn around and pull through.”
I hadn’t even started row one.
“Our time is up, if you missed anything come and see me after class.”
As the rest of the students formed a line to ask guidance and show off their work, I made a quick exit and went to the Mint bar.
As I set my needles and yarn down in front of my beer the bartender gave me a quizzical glance.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I won’t tease you.”
“Thanks,” I responded.
“Because it would be way too easy.”
I hope next week goes better.


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