Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gloves that Nearly Weren't

Winter for Imogen and me means dry peeling fingers, sometimes covered in red and purple chilblains, feeling like hunks of ice. We felt warmth draining out of our hands as they stumbled over the freezing piano keys. Piano practise turned into torture time for our hands and ears. I hate cold hand, so cold that they hurt, and I hate stumbling over the piano keys because my hands are frozen. I wanted a cure so I set out to find one.

For Christmas one year I was given a crocheting book. It, supposedly, would tell me everything I needed to know about crocheting. The truth was I had no idea how to crochet. It was only when Mum took pity on me and taught me to crochet that I learnt. But still the book lay on a shelf, unused.On my hunt for a cure to cold hands I came across my book. It caught my eye. My mind raced as I saw the cover. Could there be a solution in that book? Quickly I pulled it off the shelf. I flipped through pages of beanies, scarves and cushions. Nestled in the middle of the book, between a cushion and a beanie lay a pattern for fingerless gloves. I saw the solution at once.
Wielding my little used crochet hook I nosed out some wool. Being me, lover of all things pink, I predictably chose pale pink wool. A small ball of smokey grey wool grabbed my eye. It sat in the middle of a tangle of soft wool. I thought for a second. Would that tiny ball be enough to make two pairs of gloves? Maybe not. What if I ran out of wool with only one glove made? I'd have to begin again. But the wool went so well with my pale pink wool. Before I could change my mind again I pulled out the wool and began to chain.

After several attempts at making a foundation chain I finally got one that really was twenty chains long. Then I discovered a problem. When I knit I go on auto drive and let my mind do something else, reading perhaps. But whenever I thought about something else I lost chains, gained chains and some of them turned out completely wacky. So, in desperation, I counted every chain as I crocheted scared that I'd make a mistake. I mentally glued my mind to the subject and crocheted as though my life depended on it.

With one evenings work done I went to bed feeling like queen of all crafts and was congratulating myself on a job well done. I vowed to myself that I'd do heaps more crocheting the next day. As it was I got far more crocheting done then I had counted on.

Having been out of bed for less than a quarter of an hour I started to feel rather strange. I ignored it and carried one stirring porridge. My dressing gown started to feel far too hot. I believed the feeling was just heat from the stove at first. I shrugged off my dressing gown and went back to the steaming pan. The porridge finished just as my ears began to ring and things went dark.
"I don't feel very well Dad," I began, though I could hardly hear myself.
Something happened. I can't remember falling but when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was a very pink pajama top. Thing cleared a little and I saw Mum, Dad and Imogen bending over me. Apparently I scared Dad out of his wits. Thankfully I didn't finish falling. Dad caught me as I toppled over.

After I finished scaring everybody I was packed off to bed and ordered to remain there. So, like a good girl I stayed in bed where I couldn't scare anybody. But there is only so long I can stay in bed without getting bored. So I grabbed my crocheting from the floor.
"If I have to stay in bed I might as well do something useful," I told myself and crocheted away.

With all that time on my hands my gloves were finished that day. Thankfully the grey wool was enough to finish my gloves. There was even enough to sew the gloves up with. But I wasn't content just to fix my problem. I wanted to make Imogen gloves as well. So day after day I nagged at her to tell me what colours she wanted. Several weeks went by in this fashion until Imogen finally thought about it.
"I'd like brown gloves with whatever other colour you want," she told me after another nagging session.

And with that I promptly forgot that I was going to start the gloves. It was only when I guiltily remembered Imogen's gloves that I even chose the other colour. So I crocheted a few rows and forgot them again. Imogen though remembered. Having spent all that time thinking about the colours she wasn't about to forget my promise of gloves.

"Are you going to finish my gloves?" She'd ask.

I would countless times remember guiltily that I hadn't worked on them in several days. So I would whip out my crocheting and crochet a stripe or two. It took me several weeks to do hers. I felt so horrible when I remembered her cold hands. Sometimes that would spur me and I'd do a little more. But eventually I ordered myself to finish those gloves. So I sat down with a cat cuddled up on my knee and single mindedly crocheted. My technique worked. I did finish them.

Now Imogen and I play the piano wearing homemade gloves. Our hands are kept above freezing point and I have fulfilled my glove making obligation. But it's a bad idea to ask me to make gloves. But the main point is I finished the gloves that nearly weren't.