The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Friday, September 15, 2006


I love Autumn. Not just the colored leaves, but all of it—the whole wood-smoke scented, warm-blankets on the bed, crisp appley goodness of it. Okay, not so much the spiders—those little buggers have meetings, I swear, where they map out my location and make plans for maximum scaring. (No, I’m not paranoid. Why—did someone tell you that?) I even loved Autumn best when I was a child, and all my fellow munchkins positively ached for Spring when they could get outside again. The reality, though, was that this attraction to “outside” typically had something to do with sports-like activities, often involving the hitting of a ludicrously small ball with some unlikely object. And I, sadly, have such poor hand-eye coordination that it’s a full-on miracle that I haven’t ever put out my eye while combing my hair (I mostly credit the round brush for this particular miracle).
Oh, I know that some of you do not believe me. Some of you, in your boundless generosity are thinking “Oh, it can’t be THAT bad. She’s just being too hard on herself!” To which I reply: okay, then. Next time you’re in town, grab your racquetball racquet and stop on by. Don’t forget your health insurance card. We’ll go get down. But remember this conversation later, when you’re sobbing in disbelief in the corner of the racquetball court wondering how in the world anyone can possibly MISS in a room where every single wall and even the ceiling are acceptable targets, and when the bruise might possibly be expected to fade. (It will take a few days, I’m afraid….but try wearing a hat pulled down quite low on your forehead. I’m sure no one will notice. Really.)
Still not convinced? Okay, I’m bringing out the big guns. Picture the 10-year-old Ms. Knitingale. It is a Spring day. My teacher, in a moment of what I can only think of as evil (a strong word? Yes….but you never knew Sister Mary Kevin) decreed that we would all play softball. Even at this tender age, I already understand that my relationship with projectiles is a tenuous one at best. I come up to bat already knowing that I have a slightly greater chance of becoming the crown princess of Fnorkindal than I have of hitting this ball. I am not concerned. I go up, I swing. I stand there. It is only when my teammates begin helpfully shouting out words of support and encouragement (“Run, Stupid!!”) that I realize that I have hit the ball. I am astonished. It takes a few more loving comments from my teammates, but I finally get the hint and run. I am in ecstasy. Perhaps the world is changing for me. Perhaps I am becoming…..coordinated. Perhaps…perhaps….perhaps I should not still have the bat in my hand. At least, that seems to be the gist of the continued kind comments coming my way. Fair enough. I toss the bat behind me with what I feel certain is a jaunty gesture, I finish my run to first base, I bask in the glory. Glory that is sadly short-lived as I become aware of the silence. It is not just any silence—no. It is the silence that can only be made by a horde of children gathered around the catcher who is now lying on the ground behind home plate, another senseless victim of a thoughtless, aluminum batting. Yep. Took him right out. Patrick Murphy, wherever you are…..well….I’m sorry about the whole bat/stomach thing. I really am. And I swear it had nothing whatever to do with that time the week before when you dropped a grasshopper down my back at recess (not that I wouldn’t have….but c’mon. Like I have anywhere NEAR the skill to plan something like that.)
You’re believers now, aren’t you? Told ‘ja. Anyhow, Fall is safe. I know that fall sports are dangerous, but they’re not dangerous to me and, since I don’t play them, they are somewhat less dangerous to everyone else. I’m pretty sure football is a better place for my continued presence on the couch, screaming happily and not holding any sort of dangerous object.

Since knitting doesn’t involve any sort of ball (other than yarn, and that’s comparatively soft), I seem to do all right with it. As a result, I’ve finally finished pink sweater.

I did try it on because, although I am taller than my mother by 4 inches, we are the same distance from shoulder to hip (the cause, I fear, of a number of ill-advised dachshund jokes made by my sweet but oh so reckless father). I would have had Mr. K take a picture of me modeling it but….well….height isn’t the only place I have more inches than my mother. Suffice it to say that the picture would pretty much have been of a pair of cashmere encased breasts with a person behind them. Mr. K liked it….but I think I’ll pass on sharing that one, if you know what I mean.

Anyhow, I’ve started working on the Bianca Jacket, using the new/old needles that I recently got. SOOOO much nicer than I even imagined. The tips are metal with a comforting weight to them, the join is flawless, and the cord perfectly slick. The really amazing thing is that I decided to initially try knitting without using the key to tighten the screw-on tips. Amazingly, some 17 rows later, they haven’t budged. Which is awesome, because I was really worried about not being able to get the tips back off and then having a lovely, 50 piece set of one needle. For yarn, I vacillated between two, but am finding myself drawn to a rustic sort of wool in two shades of a kind of goldy color (think of the "goldenrod" crayon in the big box when you were a kid) with little tweedy bits in chocolate brown, red brown, and burnt orange. The other option is a light alpaca blend in a sort of indigo color...but this gold stuff is calling to me. What do you think?

By the way, has anyone else ever had Blogger suddenly lose the internet connection and toss them out of explorer? I've had this happen two days in a row, both times completely losing my entire post, of course. This, it goes without saying, has not made things terribly pleasant here at the Hotel Pottymouth. When I rewrote it today, I put it in word and then copied and pasted it in quickly before I could be tossed back off....only to find that it won't let you link photos in until you type something directly into the posting form (not just paste). This is no big deal....once you know that's the problem. If you're trying to drive me nuts, Blogger, it's too late.


  • At 4:04 AM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Oh Flo!, I love the goldy yarn, from here it's a lovely kinda subdued colour,(and if you can wear that, let's just say you are one of the lucky ones) and actually I love the two colours together...the indigo looks to have more of a muted purply colour to it and I've always loved that colour combination. some sunrises, sunsets.
    The sweater is beautiful, when does your mom get it? Good Job, the making it up looks like it went very well...I don't remember that they actually made us play softball in gradeschool but thereafter I always had the option of running laps instead, I 'had' really great legs, I was always getting hit with the ball and decided it wasn't a friendly game for me.

  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    Ms. Knitingale, I have to tell you that the spiders are out in force here in Ireland too. Had to get DH to remove a gigantic mother-and-daughter team from the bedroom only an instant ago (it's almost midnight here in case you were wondering but I'm afraid to go back in the bedroom). And I'm glad I'm not the only one with a serious grudge to work out against nuns from schooldays...


  • At 4:24 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Jo, I feel for you--they're double-teaming you! I'm shuddering in sympathy! And oh, yes, on the Catholic school nuns. Sister Clara actually jumped up and down when she was angry!


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