Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I learned to knit today.

I know it seems out there. A little old-fashioned. But it’s actually fun. Or at least soothing. The steady click-click of the needles, the monotony of the stitches, the slow progression of something forming from hundreds of little things that I’ve made, a pattern coming together in front of my eyes. And I’ve always liked scarves and toboggans (or “beanies” as I’ve learned that people not from Kentucky don’t know that a toboggan is also a hat). So why not learn how to make them on my own? Think of all the great Christmas gifts I’ll be able to make. And the fact that you’re not getting a hand-made scarf in a few months. Sorry. I guess that’s the price you pay for breaking up with me, a cost you didn’t realize a couple of weeks ago but which I’m sure you won’t be that heartbroken to discover.

To be honest, awesome scarves and toboggans weren’t the only reason I wanted to learn how to knit. (Not that you’d be surprised by that revelation.) I needed something to keep me busy, to keep me from moping about you. There’s only so much time I can spend sitting in my bedroom in the dark listening to sad songs and mindlessly watching Netflix. I need to feel at least a little productive, keep my hands busy with something crafty. And a few of my girlfriends knit. So I thought why not learn? My mom cross-stitches; I’m going to learn how to knit.

So I called on my friend Lauren for help. She lives on the East Side near me, and we decided to meet in Carl Schurz Park, this fantastically beautiful little park that looks out on the East River. As luck would have it, a couple we know was also planning on picnicking in the park, so we decided to make it a foursome.

I got to the park ready and eager to learn. I was going to borrow knitting materials from Lauren. She had an extra set of needles and half-balls of yarn left over from other projects she’d finished. It’s not like anything I was going to make on my first day at it would be worth keeping to wear, so I wasn’t really worried about the quality or color of the yarn. Whatever scraps she had would do.

Sitting on a blanket at the park, Lauren set forth to teach me how to knit. She taught me the basics of how to hold the needles and then how to cast-on the first row of stitches and begin a scarf. I chose this light blue yarn, an aquamarine kind of color that I thought would really make my eyes pop. I got the first row of stitches on my needles and I started working on my first scarf.

It was my first time knitting, so Lauren only taught me the most basic stitch — the knit. (Later that night she would teach me the purl. But I wasn’t ready for that yet.) It was a pretty easy stitch. Very slowly I set to work, sliding my needle in the loop, knitting and pulling the string tight, continuing on to complete a row and then flipping the needles to start the next row back. Eventually I built up a sort of rhythm, though it still couldn’t be called fast or even efficient. If I took my eyes off the needles I had to stop. But it was a start, and I could tell that I would pick it up eventually.

While I started to knit on my own, Lauren picked up her needles and resumed work on some complicated looking project that I could only dream of one day being able to execute. As we worked, our couple friend (Jane and Bob) handed us drinks and told us about their big news.

They’d gotten engaged! (Which, of course, I had already seen on their Facebook pages.) So there was a lot to celebrate. They now had a wedding to plan and a dress to buy. A venue to book. A date to pick. So many things. I’m really happy for Jane and Bob. They’ve been dating for a pretty long time and I always knew their engagement was just a matter of when. They’re a lovely couple and a perfect match for each other.

But honestly, it was hard to listen to them gushing and happy, glowing with this mutual love. Especially considering that they’d gotten engaged on August 16th…the day you broke up with me. I’d just had my heart broken by you. And seeing someone else doped up on love made me want to scream.

I’m bitter, I know. But I put on a happy face. Luckily I had my knitting to focus on as I listened to their happiness and nodded along.

They’re going to remember Friday, August 16th, 2013 for the rest of their lives. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to forget it.

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