Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Let us call her Scheherezade.  In Arabia of long ago, she is the latest in the series of one day brides chosen by the King.  In the morning, when the honeymoon night is over, she will be put to death.  But Scheherezade is a wily one.  Before going to sleep, she pulls something out of her knitting bag.  "A gift for you," she says to the King as she hands him a very nice Aran sweater.  The King is impressed with the quality of the work and the beauty of the design.  He thanks her.  But he has had a long day and he is soon fast asleep. Out of her knitting bag Scheherezade pulls out some new yarn.  Yarn more radiant than that used for the previous sweater.  Early the next morning, when the King wakes, he sees a half finished sweater on Scherezade's nighstand.  He inspects it and is quite taken with it.  "Fair Isle," he mutters softly.  He rouses Scheherezade from her feigned slumber and tells her that he will postpone her death for one day so that she may finish the sweater.  That night, the very same thing happens.  The finished sweater is humbly presented to the King and as soon as he is asleep, a new one is begun ... but not completed.  The next morning, the King once again delays the execution.  The sweaters begin to accumulate and one day the King realizes that he is the distinguished owner of 1,001 glorious sweaters, each more astonishing than the previous one and he decides to finally ...

Okay.  I've had my little fun.  We all know that the yarns Scheherezade provided on those 1,001 nights were of the story kind, not of the knitting kind.  And what incredible stories.  I guess when your life is at stake, you don't hold back.  Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad, Magic Carpets, Genies, Barbara Eden.  All are small literary gems and when viewed as a whole, they turn into the greatest collection of stories in the history of literature.  So now we get to the main theme of this particular essay.  The magic lamp or bottle with the genie inside.  The genie who, grateful for finally being released from his imprisonment, will grant you three wishes.

Everybody has played this game at some point in their life.  If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would those wishes be?  But let's put a tiny twist into this harmless diversion.  What if this genie was a knitter and he was only capable of granting knitting related wishes.  So no wishing for riches or immortality or a new washing machine or anything like that.  Nosiree.  The wishes must have a connection to knitting.  And this genie is no dummy.  He firmly states that one of the wishes cannot be to have a finished product instantly appear.  "Where's the fun in that?" he would ask.  "The glory of knitting is in the actual process," he would correctly point out.  So what to wish for then?  Allow me to share my personal choices.

I think almost all knitters, if given this precious gift from a genie, would choose the following as their first wish.  I WILL NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE.  How wonderful life would be if we could begin a project knowing ahead of time that there will not be any ripping of rows or dealing with dropped stitches or even going back a few stitches to change a knit into a purl.  That was the easy wish.  The next one took me some time to come up with.  ALL KNITTING PROJECTS WILL NEVER CURL AND THEREFORE WILL NEVER NEED BLOCKING.  Everytime I seek out a new pattern for a flat project I always look to see if the following instruction is included:  "Purl all even rows".  It doesn't take long for even a beginning knitter to realize that when you see this particular instruction or even a variation of it, the project will refuse to lie flat.  Even after a thorough blocking, the project will, with time, begin to curl again.  It would be heaven to never have to worry about this when knitting a scarf or a shawl.  And now we come to the most difficult of the three wishes - the last one.  The genie reminds us that he is obligated by law to tell us that you cannot wish for three more wishes.  So what is my last wish?  I DON'T KNOW!  So many options.  Some might have unintended negative affects.  I wouldn't wish for an endless supply of beautiful yarn.  Cathy and every other yarn store owner would be out of business if people had this particular power.  Knitting needles made from gold?  Nah! I'd be constantly worried that someone might steal them.  How about no physical ailments whatsoever from the physical process of knitting?  That might be tempting.  But I'd hate to waste it on that when there are other steps one can take to achieve pain-free knitting.  So, at this point, I will leave the last wish open.  Suggestions are welcome, though. 

Cathy and I used to go antique stores, hunting for treasures quite a bit.  Not as much anymore.  Ebay can be a wonderful thing but it has drastically changed the rules of the game when it comes to antiques.  Nevertheless, on occasion, I will stop by an antique store.  And when I'm there, I always keep an eye out for old Arabian oil lamps.  One day I might actually have to make up my mind on that third wish.     

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