Her Three Favorite Skeins

She knit because she loved to.  She enjoyed sitting in her chair, her mind and body calm and quiet and still, with the exception of her hands, which moved furiously back and forth, clicking and clacking and whirling.  She loved the way the needles tinged and pinged, and the fibers twisted and twined, and she could not get enough of her hobby that embodied the essence of the yin and the yang.  She appreciated fibers of all colors and textures, but she was particularly fond of three particular skeins of flaxen thread.

One was a tightly wound orb with a cool blue complexion.  The color reminded her of a maritime tide that rolled rhythmically in and out, consistent and predictable and beautiful, a tide that always felt a little bit colder than expected when you dipped your toes into it, turning them into icy blocks if you left them submerged too long.   The thread was perfect for creating a quilt comprised of squares of equal size, neat and tidy with sharp ninety degree edges, perhaps one that would be placed over the back of a chair or sofa, perfectly capable of keeping one warm, but often unused, for fear of mussing it up.  The yarn sat neatly in the basket, a perfect sphere, its knitting needles poking out, held nicely upright.

Another was a bit more loosey-goosey, composed of wavy, filamentous tendrils that jumped and danced, and could not be contained.  It was a ball of blazing orange, hot to the touch, perfect for producing a project of passion, something fanciful, perhaps a gown, a decoration, or a romantic ornament.  It was beautiful enough to be crafted into a stunning lace, yet strong enough to endure rigorous wear, due to its immense tensile strength.  It was a bit difficult to coil up this yarn when it was not in use, it’s unbound threads could never be shaped into a perfect orb, but it still stood proudly when stacked with the others, even if it looked a bit lopsided, the needles poking out at slightly awkward angles.

The third was able to be wound tightly into an orderly sphere, yet it could easily be snagged, often becoming unraveled, its cords becoming messy and tangled until it was wound up neatly once again.  It was the color of cut grass, an earthy green, that reminded her of an ebb and flow, though the pattern was less like that of the ocean, but more akin to rolling fields: irregularly scattered zones of steep inclines and descents, plots of level ground, and the occasional divot that appeared out of nowhere and required one to watch their step.  This thread was perfect for constructing cozy comforters, insulating pot-holders and other projects that were made to be used on a regular basis, ones that were only put away when guests were coming over, the infrequent ones, who would frown upon the stained and frayed edges.  When this yarn was put away, it sometimes looked neat, and other times looked a mess, and when it did, its needles poked out defiantly, as if to dare anyone to judge it for its superficial appearance.

The fibre artist created projects of all kinds, carefully choosing the threads to meet the needs of her creations.  She found that it was rare that the blue, orange and green threads could be used on the same project.  It was as if the blue one didn’t want to touch, get snagged, or dirtied by the other yarns.  It seemed that the orange one wanted to wrap itself around the others, but it’s radiating heat would make the other yarns feverish. The green one seemed to poke the others with its needles, a gentle prod, a little tickle, when it was in a teasing mood, or a sharp stab when it was feeling low. While she would never have admitted this, she felt as if her favorite threads bickered like siblings.  A silly thought, she knew.

Every now and again, the knitter would make something very special.  Something that was simultaneously neat, professional, dramatic, and comforting.  These were always her favorite pieces to make, the ones that were most admired by others, the ones that endured, no matter how much they were used, or how often they were laundered. They were her showcase pieces, the ones that utilized her three favorite fibers, all together. When these threads were intertwined, the results were exquisite.

For my sisters. I’m the green one (they already know this).


16 thoughts on “Her Three Favorite Skeins

  1. Brilliant writing! I really loved reading this, especially “its needles poked out defiantly, as if to dare anyone to judge it” and “the occasional divot that appeared out of nowhere and required one to watch their step”. Great stuff…

    1. Thanks Carol. I knew it needed a bit of an explanation, so added the caption to the photo after I published. Makes me winder what the people thought who read it without the caption!

  2. Oh…..my……I didn’t even see the caption to the photograph, but I knew…..I just KNEW. I’ve read this 3 times now, and each time the layers become deeper and more apparent. Or transparent maybe, as I’m gently forced to look at the colors and threads that weave throughout. Stunning, Grouch, and beautiful. I needed this today!

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