What would you have wished for?

You know. When the fairy godmothers were giving gifts.* Lips as red as rubies, hair that curled without benefit of breadcrusts**, effortless elegance, the inability to get a foot anywhere near your mouth (let alone insert both of them and still be able to speak). Intelligence and the ability to act on it would be nice. As in never opening the door that the monster is hiding behind: it’s so obvious, dammit. Wit would be good, especially if not combined with crushing shyness. A decent sense of intuition and willingness to pay attention to it. The ability to remember the lessons learned from experience. Patience would be marvellous. I mean, who’d want to be able to get things right first time, every time? The entire world would hate you, even if you were always the first one picked for anyone’s sports team. But patience would mean you’d get it right eventually and still have a friend or two.

Patience means taking time to learn how to swim before jumping into the deep end of the pool. Researching the picking-up of stitches for button bands before beginning my first-ever button band. The instructions might say ‘200’, but the books say it’s permissible to pick up the number that’s right for me, which is more than that because my row gauge was off (but still an even number to make the 2×2 rib work. I’m not stupid. At least not today.) Patience means spending all my knitting time this morning ripping out the button band I knitted during my knitting time last knight (that’s a real typo :-) for another attempt at a smooth curve rather than a 135° angle across the collarbones. If this one doesn’t work I might try duplicate stitch on the offending corner. Does that still count as patience? If so, I’m glad I was given the ability to learn from experience. It’s much more useful than effortless elegance.

Really, it is.

Look! Spring!

* Leaving aside those that fate you to fall asleep for ages to be woken by a kiss/the consequences of something much less pleasant

** Didn’t your mother tell you to eat your crusts, they’d make your hair curl? I not only didn’t like breadcrusts, I wanted a shimmering waterfall of straight hair, like Whatshername in Grade Eight. I found the secret – you had to iron it – but my mother wouldn’t let me try.


7 thoughts on “What would you have wished for?

  1. HPNY Knits

    musings of a knitter frogging can lead you far far away! never heard of the bread-crust theory… but knew loads of girls who used the iron.
    I think I’d ask for life without the struggle/ grind/ worry.


  2. sarah

    Trying to think of something other than the time needed to do not-quite-the-same thing again. And again, if necessary. My mother was wrong about the breadcrusts (and the brussels sprouts), but ‘If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right’ was in the gold.

    That’s a good photo of you!


  3. Alice

    Oh Sarah, can’t you post every day? I so enjoy reading whatever you write.

    Your button band sounds like it involves perseverance to me! Keep going. I had problems the first time I picked up stitches on a v-neck. I kept marking out the middle stitch at the bottom of the “v” but the neckline still pulled to one side. Third time, it worked. I still don’t know what I did wrong. Mind you, it didn’t involve hundreds of stitches!

    Me, I would worry less (about everything). And think nice things about everyone and be less selfish with my time. Instead of having so many evil thoughts and being all me, me, me. Ouch!


  4. Debby

    Alice is right — I wish you could post every day. I always enjoy your musings. :)

    Button bands are miserable, but the ribbing is forgiving. I’ve just picked up stitches around a hem, to knit a camisole top up from that border on a circular needle. I can’t stop fussing with a few stitches that look ever so slightly different from the ones next to them. But no way I am ripping out 220 stitches to re-do it. If there were holes or it didn’t lie flat, however, that is a different story, and I’d join you at the frog pond. :)


  5. Beth S.

    The ability to be sure of my own heart and not second- and third-guess every single little thing. I wish I could go back and stand in the line where they were giving that particular ability out.

    I’ve heard that picking up 2 of every 3 stitches is a good formula for button bands (or was it 3 of every 4?)


  6. sarah

    Beth, I tried picking up every stitch first because one of the authors said she preferred the thicker fabric, but it didn’t feel right for this. I’ve ended up doing 2 of every three. As you say, when confidence fails, you end up guessing and trying and worrying. I must remember it’s only knitting…



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