Knitting Anthology to Days Of The Guardian – Volume One

The Red String

The beginning of an addiction…

…she had become addicted to a very unusual drug- knitting. She blamed Nurse Cheng for that. One day, she was walking through the atrium area of a hospital wing and noticed Nurse Cheng teaching another patient how to wrap a string around a needle, slide it down, create a loop, and then slide it off. She moved along loop by loop, magically creating fabric. Ainsling was fascinated by it, so she begged Nurse Cheng to teach her too. Now she was addicted! Scarves, blankets, hats, and even socks were in abundance in their tiny apartment, created by the skilled movement of her own two hands.

Knitting for charity in dystopian novels…

Because of her unproductive status, she had never personally purchased the yarn she knitted with now. It was all passed on to her through E.C.C.O.’s Distribution Network with the stipulation she made items out of it for charity. She never had the luxury of choosing green over blue, or wool over acrylic yarn. Whatever they sent her was what she had to work with. It forced her to be creative and frugal.

“Unproductive”?

Ainsling had never gone shopping for anything. She wasn’t given an implanted chip when she turned twelve, like everyone else. Nurse Cheng always commented that the many blankets, shawls, slippers and sweaters Ainsling had produced made the term “unproductive” an oxymoron, whatever that meant. Ainsling was more than happy to give away her knitted creations. Although, she did pity the poor person who received her first attempt at socks.

Relaxation knitting…

Ainsling got up and stretched. She picked up a box with a knitted blanket in progress lying in it. She pulled out the instructions and found her place. The repetitious movements were soothing to her.

Teaching…

“Should I teach you something now?” she asked playfully.

“What? Knitting? Please!” He rolled his eyes.

“Oh, yeah, you probably couldn’t do it anyway,” she said, prodding at his ego.

“Fine- if it’ll get you to be quiet and stop asking me annoying questions- I’ll do it. Once.”

Ainsling smiled mischievously to herself.

Knitting takes smarts…

Today Ainsling’s mind wandered back to the picture of Li’s long fingers dexterously maneuvering wooden needles and white yarn. She smiled to herself. He had become quite proficient. It must be because he is smart, also like his father. Li had recently remarked to her how some of her knitting patterns involved complex algebra skills and must have attributed to her surprisingly high math scores.

Knitting is freeing…

“Maybe. But what if it’s worth it? Just think- after your surgery, you will be free to knit things for yourself. You can pick the color, the fiber, everything. Doesn’t that make you happy?”

Knitting is comfort…

Li wrapped himself up in one of her many blankets, knitted from random leftover yarn. He tried to relax. It was over. She was all right now.

The yarn shop…

Li followed the woman for a few blocks and found himself in an old store that had walls loaded with displays of yarn. It was spilling out from every crevice. The nurse led him over to a whole wall dedicated to the color red. Fuzzy rouge red mohair, shiny ruby silk, and warm, russet red wool were waiting to be touched and knitted into something special. Ellen smiled at his eyes widening, taking it all in.

Warmth…

Li rolled his eyes and then shivered. Ellen was wrapped in Ainsling’s handmade scarf and felt badly for Li.

“Look, I know it’s cold here. If you want, I could teach you how to knit yourself a hat someday.”

“I might take you up on that. It’s more than cold- it’s freezing here! Hey- how many people are on this ship, anyway?”

Mistakes and frogs…

“No, Li, this row should be all knitting, not purling. When you work in the round, the right side is always facing you. Some people dislike purling, so they knit everything in the round.”

“So, I have to undo all this?” Li looked up at Ellen in frustration. She responded by trying to make a joke.

”Do you know what knitters call it when they undo lots of stitches? ‘Frogging’- because they ‘rip-it, rip-it.’“ Li rolled his eyes as Ellen did a lame imitation of a frog’s ‘rib-bit.’

“I know, it’s silly. Look, we all make mistakes! Don’t get too upset about it. Knitters are always learning.” Li smirked as she continued, “Knitting, like many skills, has a way of keeping you humble.”

Good distraction…

Plus, knitting distracted him. It also strengthened his connection to Ainsling. Ellen noticed he often toyed with a red string tied securely around his ankle.

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