Two Sticks & a Ball of Yarn

photo: @brooklyngeneralstore

Knitting came into my life

with the first baby sweater my grandmother crafted.

The creamy white sweater

boasts three small buttons

and a spray of spring flowers — candy pink, lemon yellow, sky blue.

The flowers rest on perfectly knit rows

like iced decorations on a petit four.

When I turned ten,

my grandmother presented me

with two long wooden sticks and a rosy red ball of yarn.

It was time I learned to knit.

My first efforts were weak.

Holes dotted my early scarves,

where I let stray stitches wander away.

My grandmother chatted amiably as we knit —

about new plants in her garden,

purchasing corn for the ducks of the nearby pond,

plans for a family mystery trip on the weekend.

Occasionally, she would reach over

to examine my stitches.

She was generous with praise,

but quick to school me on corrections.

“You only get better with practice.”

I did not knit through my middle and high school years.

When a college roommate wanted to learn,

I picked up wooden needles

and my hands fell into

familiar rhythms – knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one.

This evening, I will sit on the couch —

soft, silky cashmerino wool in shades of smoky gray

dancing across my needles

as I knit the lace pattern of a muffler

to guard against an early spring chill.

I can almost hear my grandmother’s voice

regaling me with stories of the ordinary,

woven with two sticks and a ball of yarn.

5 thoughts on “Two Sticks & a Ball of Yarn

  1. I love reading stories of how people learned to knit. It is amazing what we can do with two sticks and a ball of yarn. I have knit more this past year during the pandemic than anytime in my life. I learned to knot just after college. My husband’s grandmother taught me. I am now teaching my daughter-in-law.


  2. I love how you wrote this going from a young child to now. I don’t knit but I can understand the feeling of…”I can almost hear my grandmother’s voice.” That line describes exactly how I feel when I am washing dishes that she gave me. You may have inspired my slice for tomorrow.


  3. Stories woven with two sticks and a ball – I love this play on words. What a wonderful scene you draw us into. Beautiful imagery and so soothing and peaceful One this month is over, maybe there will be more time for those two stick and that ball. I hope so!
    Thank you for a lovely slice.


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