I didn’t get much Christmas knitting done this season. It isn’t that I’ve had less time than I did last year (when I made all sorts of presents for teachers, friends, relatives, etc.). On the contrary, my husband retired from his full-time teaching job this past June, and even though his help with chauffeuring children and cooking and laundry has freed up a great deal of my time, my new found sense of liberation has not resulted in leisurely hours for me to knit away, but, rather, in a kind of acquisitive exuberance for new experiences (or exuberant acquisitiveness?) on my part to do all sorts of things I wasn’t able to before—take a college class in web page design, apply for grants for my Fiber Arts Club and for a possible trip overseas this summer, and to host a get-together this past weekend—a real holiday party with candles and silver and decorations . . . and knitting, of course.
Rather than emerging from my Saturday-morning party and its requisite serving and polishing and teaching (of knitting) as an exhausted, stressed-out Christmas season overachiever, I have to say that while my back ached horribly last Friday night--when I did last-minute cooking and set out serving platters, china, and flatware--on Sunday morning, after the dishes were washed and the guests long gone, I actually felt reinvigorated and renewed. As someone who rushes to and from work each day and rarely has time for domestic niceties, it was so pleasant to have candles burning, food emitting a wonderful aroma, and a whole passel of women talking to me—without having to leave the comfort of home. The flattering compliments of my guests made me a bit puffed up--a nice sensation.
|I had to show another view of the dining room table--an article of|
furniture that's rarely in use.
|I didn't make these petit-fours, but Harris Teeter did a great job.|
|My mother-in-law has a small pecan orchard, so I used some of her crop to|
While I get absolutely filled up sometimes with the end-of-semester trying-to-teach-disinterested-teenagers-English blues, for some reason instructing the women and young girls who attended my event how to knit was immensely satisfying. Repeating the mantra, “In through the front door, out around the back, peek through the window, off jumps jack,” over and over while demonstrating to my pupils had a soothing, cozy effect—nothing like the struggles of attempting to dissect poetry or review vocabulary with students in my classroom. Maybe if I'd serve my high school students brunch accompanied by strong coffee followed by fancy desserts they’d have been a little more enthusiastic at the end of the semester. . . . Of course, young people, no matter in what context, are similar in many ways--the two twelve-year-olds at my brunch were a little giddy with the excitement of the festivities and while they quickly learned how to cast on and knit were, later in the day, running about using bamboo needles as fencing swords. In the future, though, when they are a little older—and stiller--their new found knitting skills may provide them with a rewarding hobby.
|Camille, a junior in high school, learned|
to knit a few years ago but hadn't picked
up needles since then. She'd completed
seven or eight inches of a scarf by the
time she went home.
|Danielle and Emily caught on immediately.|
|Shelby, a fourth-grader, is a champion knitter|
who, aside from taking a break to eat, spent
the rest of the party knitting away.
Some of my guests are not knitting newbies, however, and these women spent their time working away and helping those learning to knit. Watching them ply their needles added a bit of calm to a hectic, but rewarding day. Now, however, I have to catch up with my own projects. I don’t know where to begin, but even though I have a slew of works in progress on various sets of needles, I have just cast on an oversized collar made with some gorgeous yarn I received in the mail yesterday in a package from a blogger friend in England. The rich colors called to me and maybe to my nature (that I’m beginning to think has a bit of ADHD in it) and I couldn’t resist. It isn’t in the forecast, but maybe we’ll have some cold days here in North Carolina over Christmas break and I can stay in, sit still, and complete a few items . . .