Melyngoch learns to knit
She sits on the floor in furious concentration; the tension is palpable. The needles are tiny – ridiculously so – and the yarn – well, thread – is no better. But a leper bandage demands such delicate work, and lepers are not known to scrutinize their dressings for dropped stitches or uneven rows.
I am bewildered as to the source of the fury. In my hands, the needles are friendly, soft and warm. They methodically guide the yarn into place, contemplatively, almost meditatively bringing order (if not quite theoretical perfection) to the unformed skein. The rows of purl gleam like tiny pearls.
She explains that she is competing against the yarn. It is a fight to see who will be in control of whom. She does not know if the needles are on her side or not. (Perhaps they have their own agenda? Perhaps they are waiting to choose sides? Perhaps they are obsessively neutral, like Switzerland?)
She balks when I offer to teach her to purl. In the last hour she has already mastered three forms of armed combat (knitting, casting off and casting on) – the day has been full for the young warrior.
I had not known that knitting was a battle.