In which RR knits me a hat

I’ve never really had anything knitted for me. My mother was coerced by me to try and knit something for me. In the winters, all my classmates wore at least one item that had been lovingly knitted by some woman in their family. It probably has something to do with growing up in the South, but my mother never really understood the point behind knitting. Why would anyone sit down with yards of yarn and needles and do something that required such great levels of concentration? She never had seen any knitting been done in her family. And these are customs of habit. And familiarity.

She took up knitting one winter. My memory may fail me slightly but the yarn was thick and bright orange. I don’t know if she bought that yarn or if it was gifted to her. But there was enough of it to make two sweaters. She embarked on the project. She gave up in the middle I think. Perhaps a friend of hers finished the job. But what was to be a bright orange full sleeve sweater turned out to be a sleeveless and slightly tight. I also discovered then that I had a strange reaction to certain kinds of wool. It left my face red and puffy, and I constantly wanted to scratch the insides of my throat. She loves me to death.. my mother. But she can’t knit. Actually, being a supermom, she probably CAN knit, but she doesn’t like to.

I associated knitting with a certain kind of afternoon activity. In Delhi, you can see lots of people on extended lunch breaks in the winters. The men sit with their cups of tea and the women drink tea too. But they also knit. A furious vision of flying yarn on needles, automagically becoming something, someone might want to wear. I never really thought much about knitting before I met rr. She knits, and oh! so beautifully!

DSC_0414

Thus it was that rr embarked on the Hat For Neha Project (HFNP). I found the colour I liked and she began knitting furiously. In fact, today I saw her live in action knitting a sock. Perhaps it was the sheer range of colours on the yarn, or maybe it was that complicated process that took four needles. But it was beautiful to just watch her knit away as we were getting back to Central London on a train. She’s changed the way I look at knitting. I am seriously considering learning the art.

And the hat that she knit me? It’s warm, comfortable and I have it on good authority (rr’s) that it makes me look rather nice. I didn’t want to take it off, even when the sun was out.

14 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends, Self

14 Responses to In which RR knits me a hat

  1. rr

    I didn’t say “rather nice”, I said “drop dead gorgeous”. Or if I didn’t I meant to :-) I shall teach you to knit. It’s a fantastic practice that needs to be reclaimed from the waste-basket of gender stereotyping and the post-traumatic stress disorder which many of us have as a result of childhood torture-by-mother’s-knitted-garment. And now look! all your google ads are for lovely knitted goods.

  2. Is it the hat in the photo? It’s gorgeous. Hmmm, wish I had one like that. Even though I could never wear it in Mumbai.

  3. Uma

    rr can I join the knitting class too please

  4. Whoa! rr did all of that???!!! I really have no words….amazing really!!
    The hat is lovely!

    And yeah I can relate to what your saying about not really being far removed from people knitting..but somehow it has a very romantic association in my head…from books mainly…the clickety click that the needles are supposed to make! Great post!

  5. Shivani

    Neha, apologies for writing way off-topic, but I chanced upon this blog whose author has unabashedly plagiarized not just the blog-description but an entire post from yours. You might want to check it out . Ugh !!
    http://chennaigalblogs.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/velli-thirai/

  6. rr: Then drop dead gorgeous it is! Yes, I believe I’ve always glanced away from knitting, because it inadvertently went into the gender basket. But seeing you knit (so beautifully and with such passion!) makes me want to run over to your place with brand new needles and yarn!

    Banno: Yes! Yes! The very same.. but for some reason the colour in the photograph isn’t quite right.. this is the real colour.

    DSC_0004

    Uma: I think we have a knitting class in the making here..

    gooddaysunshine: Yes.. she knitted it all! rr’s knitted stuff is drool-worthy. I only knew her as a person who produced drool-worthy photographs, but somehow this knitting bit has given me a whole new perspective! It’s incredible how a person’s talent can say so much about them.

    Shivani: Yep! That was brought to my attention just a short while back! She’s basically lifted stuff from here and Asal Tamizh Penn’s blog. So bloody annoying!

  7. dipali

    I can identify so strongly with your mother- my attempts at knitting haven’t been uniformly successful. Maybe our generation screwed up on this skill!
    Your hat is scrumptious:)

  8. Uma

    LOL and she has a post there which ends ‘what a loser’! Say no more

  9. mummbaigirl

    Congratulations rr. Neha am sure you look wonderful-what a lovely colour. Knew somebody who made me review my ideao f knitting (retrieve it from the gender basket). There was a whole exhibition of modern day knitting I went to see because of her. It appeared to be a very meditative exercise for some.

  10. Hey, saw this knitting story in the WSJ this morning that reminded me of your post.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/57jhwg

  11. I’m not sure what it is like to knit, but watching someone knitting is a peaceful feeling.

  12. Hi,

    I think God gave needles and an extra dose of patience for women. Only to the women. Poor men were told to praise this as an art, a passion of beauty.

    Thanks. It’s a beautiful snippet to go through.

    Nanda
    http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com
    http://remixoforchid.blogspot.com

  13. dipali: Some of us aren’t inclined towards knitting. :)

    Uma: I went back to the blog and she has dutifully removed the posts. But I think she stands a better chance if she abandons her blog and starts afresh. Maybe she didn’t quite realize what she was doing. (Fat chance.. but benefit of doubt etc!)

    mumbaigirl: I’ve never been more happy with my head! And yes, it’s making me reconsider all my assumptions about knitting and needle work. All that skill not getting credit because it’s a woman’s work.

    Bhel Puri: Thanks for that fabulous link!

    Anil: Yes, I was completely captivated by the gentle click click of those needles. Besides, I’d never seen anyone knit with such delicate needles.

    AN Nanda: Err.. Am not sure if men CAN’T knit, or don’t have patience. If the majority of Indian men have the patience to sit through a 5 day test match, or the patience to wait for others to clean up after them – am sure they can muster enough patience to sit down and knit something.

  14. Hi Neha,
    We did knitting for craft this year and although it was a bit tiring it was fun! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it once you get hooked :P