April 1, 2011

Tina's Knitting Journey: 0-60 in 3 seconds

My friend Tina is a hottie. No, really.

Several of us knitters work at the same dental office here in Vancouver (how that came to be is another story, but I digress …) We wear scrubs. Every day. Every single, blessed ever-lovin’ day. On workdays, we are all what I am going to call “Scrub Sallys,” women who all begin to look alike as though we were throwbacks from Mr. Roger’s “Planet Purple.” We are a sea of brown or black in lab coat white wrappers.

When we are not working, we become ourselves again and break out into different categories: Business Bonnies, Dowdy Daisies, Suzy Sports and the coveted, the prized: Hottie Harriets. While people naturally fall in and out of these categories in fluctuation, depending on what each day calls for, I frequently—and unfortunately for those who must associate with me— could be called a Dowdy Daisy. Especially lately.

I have been developing a bad habit of going everywhere in outfits the folks on “What Not to Wear” would love to secretly videotape and play back to me during a humiliating public display. Until that fateful day—and the $5,000 shopping spree from the show—I remain a Dowdy Daisy. Even now I have on yesterday’s hurriedly applied makeup and sweats that I slept in. Yes, I may be doomed. But not everyone does this.

Other girls, like Tina, absolutely transform in “Hottie Harriets” instead and turn heads everywhere they go. Tina has decided that her days off are an opportunity to express herself. She shows up to Wednesday morning knitting meetings freely tossing around long, lovely and thick chestnut hair and flashing a bright smile from a perfectly peachy, creamy complexion. She is quick with a smile or a laugh, and she is infectiously youthful.

She wears great clothes. Tina can pull off knee-high leather boots over tasteful indigo jeans and top it off with a knitted babydoll top that dances around the rest of the outfit as if to say, “Doesn’t this look great?” And it does.

Tina is also a great mom and wife and has a husband and 13-year-old son at home, John. John and his mom are close and it is evident to anyone who sees them. He is a good kid and does what his mom says, working on his grades, dutifully doing homework and chores. Tina loves to make her family things, and one day at work, she became curious about my recent (at the time) obsession with knitting.

We were in the lunchroom where I, and some other converts, were knitting. It’s what we love to do on our breaks—knit, talk about knitting, examine each others projects, look at patterns on the Internet. Tina wanted me to show her what I was doing. She has a technical mind and was fascinated by the precision of knitting. (Well, mine wasn’t very precise, I think she could just see that it was a possibility.)

I showed Tina a little bit that day, and she took off. She went home and hit it hard. She worked for 8 hours on casting on and off, she stayed up late into the night with a YouTube video figuring out the difference between knitting and purling. She spent hours at my house working on a scarf with ribbing, committed completely to learning the stitches. That last part may have been the blind leading the blind, but she figured it out anyway.

People she loved rapidly became the recipients of her work. Other ladies at work got wraps, she sent her mother in Texas a really great hat that was a vintage-style throwback to the old rain bonnets like the plastic ones my grandma used to carry in her purse for emergencies. Most of all, Tina was excited to make things for her husband and son. She bought yarn for them and made John hats and scarves with such skilled exactness that they looked machine made. It was an incredible feat of skill and determination. All of us at work who watched it were amazed.

Her son, who had been quietly watching this activity, had said nothing. His mom had been working hard and he noticed. Still, he dutifully did his chores and homework, said very little, while his young mother was working her fingers over and over stitches and needles.

Until one day when Tina was sitting on the couch with another scarf pattern, which would allow her to practice another new stitch. She was absorbed in her work. He was absorbed in her. He stood for several minutes in the doorway to her left where she could not see him. Then he meandered into the room and slowly, still watching, sat next his mother on the couch. He watched for several more seconds. Then his demeanor changed.

John sat up straighter, made an adult expression of approval. She saw him out of the corner of her eye. The moment was coming when he would tell her, she guessed, that he wanted to acknowledge her work. To thank her for the hours she spent on him. Tina waited for her son to congratulate her on learning such a beautiful skill so quickly, deepening their relationship with his hearfelt appreciation.

John turned to his mother so that now he faced her squarely. He said, “Good. Now my children will have a traditional grandmother.”


The Knitting Muse said...

Tina's going to be so embarrassed. : )

Christina said...

Flattered and embarrassed. You did a wonderful job, Chickadee! I'm so honored.

Norm&Judy said...

This is my DIL-I am so proud that she is developing the skills that will help her be a "traditional grandmother"! A great piece of writing about a wonderful and beautiful woman. My son and grandson are sooooo blessed to have her, and so are we! Eileen

The Knitting Muse said...

Eileen, we love her too! : ) Tina is a great person and friend and I treasure every minute I spend with her. She's definitely a friend for life!