All’s well that ends well

All's well that ends well

Then the darling six-year-old Chinese boy in the middle seat turned to me and said, “What is that? Are you making a glove?” I said, “I’m making a sweater.”  “Wow, that takes a long time.” Nod.

“Did you make this whole sweater all by yourself?” he asked, gesturing toward my Bellows cardigan.

“I did.”

“THIS sweater?” he repeated, pointing more emphatically.

“Yes, I made this sweater.”


After we discussed how long it took (not very long — big stitches) as compared to the one on the needles, he thought for a minute and then asked if there are any colors besides yellow and pink or purple. I clarified that the two sweaters under discussion were actually two different shades of grey, not pink and purple, and grey is all I had with me on the plane (my waste yarn is yellow). Indicating Bellows again, he said, “This could be a different color,” to which I replied, “It can be any color you want if you make it yourself — that’s the beauty of making things.”

We were nearing the end of our flight by this point, and he had already given me tiny lectures about clouds being water (“if I tried to step out onto one, I would fall through to the ground and die”); planes being “hard to people but soft to the ground” (if the wheels hit the ground wrong “the whole plane could go kapow”); and the existential fact of grown-up deaf people who don’t know what their names sound like. “I get curious into everything,” he told me at one point with a bit of sigh of resignation, like it was his burden to bear. So I was not surprised that these were his parting thoughts on the subject of sweater making:

“Once upon a time, you might want to make a sweater a certain color but the King would say [voice of doom and authority], ‘NO. You can only make it THIS color.’ But then they changed the rules.”

I wish I’d taken a picture of him to add to my other favorite moments of the week — an action-packed 48-hour holiday photo shoot with Kathy (which necessitated a visit to Drygoods Design), a quick pilgrimage by ferry to Churchmouse, dinners with good friends, knitting all day Saturday at the Tolt anniversary with the other Farm to Needle book contributors, meeting lots of you, seeing not only the book in 3D for the first time but four Tolt staffers wearing their version of my Anna Vest to the celebration! Including Anna herself (who wore the test knitter’s). All in all, a marvelous trip — despite the bumpy start.

Reading-glasses photo by Kathy Cadigan

29 thoughts on “All’s well that ends well

  1. “I get curious into everything.” Oh, man, is that great. And thanks for the armchair photos of your trip–lush lush lush. Welcome home!

  2. If you ever have doubts about your blog, just know that many many people (especially me) love the way you write and eagerly look forward to your posts! It’s a sad day (rare though) when you don’t post!

  3. I too enjoy your blogs very much and this one today, a rainy day here in NC, made my Monday
    morning! I could sit with that little boy and listen to him for hours! I am sure you made quite
    the impression on him and who knows, one day he may become a knitter and designer! Love to
    see a child so curious about everything!! Oh, and the pictures are wonderful! :)

  4. Ahhhh, children. As much as one might like some peace and quiet, one is usually afraid to ask them to be quiet… After all, you might miss out on some SERIOUS existential truths…. :D I once had a little girl at the park ask me if I was knitting a sweater… I said yes. Her simple respond was “Why?” It caught me so off guard, all I could say was “Uhhh, uhhhh, uhhhh” and finally “I don’t know?” XD I thought about her question for the rest of the day… WHY on earth am I doing this?! Ha!

  5. Love that story. Children say the most wonderful things because they are so candid. Being curious about everything is the best thing that can happen to any child, hoping he keeps that same curiosity alive as he grows up. Your story could be part of a collection with the theme: knitting in public. It’s wonderful.

  6. I had a moment like that is week with a woman on the street. She complimented my rainbow sweater and asked me where I got it and I told her I made it and her shock and awe was adorable. I hope I’ve converted someone else into becoming a knitter :)

  7. Love all your details. I followed posts back to the Bellows ad your great photos. May I ask would you be able to choose a bulky yarn instead of using two strands and any recommendations?

    Thank you!

    • Yeah, you could do it with a bulky — it’s a BT pattern and they didn’t have a bulky in their lineup then. The new Quarry might work nicely. Like anything, you’d just need to swatch with whatever you’re thinking about and see if you can match the pattern gauge and like the fabric.

  8. I am laughing! I have 5 kids (4 adopted from Korea and the youngest from China – she is 7 yr old)
    These are the kinds of questions and flow of commentary I get all the time…. no wonder my knitting suffers …. I can’t keep track of complicated patterns anymore! Kids are funny though. Love the cloud story.
    I am planning to make the Laurus hat — maybe one for each kiddo. :)
    Maybe I will keep track of their commentary and send to you.

  9. That photo of you and Kathy is the best! I can’t thank you enough for coming out and helping us celebrate. Love you, my friend!

  10. Kids are amazing. Thanks for reminding us of their curiosity–may it light our way forward this week.

  11. Kids are amazing. Thanks for reminding us of their incredible curiosity–may it light our way forwards the rest of the week.

  12. Delightful story. What is the name of the fabric store? I don’t think I’ve been there. Probably because I don’t know about it. Thanks.

  13. I hope he never stops being curious or meeting people who are willing to answer his questions! I’m glad that in the end you had a good trip!

  14. Curiosity and able to talk to a stranger is great. I would have been terrified :) Not any more haha

  15. You sure hit all knob of the highlights while you were out here. Glad you had as less stressful journey home.

  16. “Once upon a time, you might want to make a sweater a certain color but the King would say [voice of doom and authority], ‘NO. You can only make it THIS color.’ But then they changed the rules.”

    That one sticks with me because: a) it’s actually totally true – historically, in the sense of only royalty wearing purple, etc, but also still true today in countries like Thailand where yellow is often worn on Mondays for the king, whose color is yellow; and b) because he already has a keen grasp of how power relations, freedom, and oppression seem to work.

  17. Pingback: yarn + water = magic | Fringe Association

  18. Karen, we ended up in Seattle last weekend and at Tolt on Sunday – my dear husband swept me away for a long weekend without the kids – and I’m positive that I saw you! I almost went all fan girl but decided squealing was inappropriate. I succumbed to the yarn fumes and went home with a bagful of luscious knitting love. Good times!

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