Sunday, October 03, 2004
When I Grow Up
"Was that you knitting at the Barnes and Nobles last night?" a student asked me. Yes indeed that was me, knitting in public. Come to find out a group of knitters meets twice a month at the local bookstore. I'd heard about the group a month or so ago, and this week I got the work and home schedules smoothed out so I could try out the group-knitting-thing.

As I walked up to the bookstore, my knitting in hand, I briefly wondered if I'd be the youngest knitter at the table. Well yes I was, by a long ways. Knitting hasn't really caught on with the younger set here in Peoria. But the ladies at the bookstore were very welcoming, and I must say they were some darn good knitters. One knitter kept pulling out fabulous shawl after fabulous shawl out of her work basket. Another showed me a poncho she'd knit with a fancy lace design she made up as she went along. These ladies love beautiful yarns and beautiful stitches.

My work-in-progress that night was the Lopi Sweater. I'm finally up to the color yoke section, and my improvised color choices seem to be working out well. The bright gold in the photo looks a little harsher in the photo than in person. Best of all, I think I've figured out how to keep the tension in the two-color section the same as in the body of the sweater. I don't detect any gaps or puckering in the transition between the two areas. Sigh of relief.

Brassy fall colors Posted by Hello

The Barnes and Noble ladies are speed demons with the knitting needles. I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up with their rate of production, but I may sit in the group from time-to-time to see if I can pick up some of their knitting techniques--and some of their grace, too. The ladies in this group embody the wit and humor of the poem by the Peoria poet Jenny Joseph about wearing purple into the Golden Years. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.


By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples' gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


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