It’s been a while, I confessed to myself as I picked up the knitting needles. I could probably measure time elapsed since my last knit-one, purl-one in decades. But there’s some things you never forget, like which way up the needles go and how to cast on with a deft movement of the thumb.
I’d bought a couple of balls of screamingly bright rainbow wool to take on holiday, making sure the knitting kit didn’t go into the hand luggage. They take exception to that kind of thing these days. I can’t think why, the coffee they serve in-flight is far more sinister and lethal than my innocent hobby.
Fellow occupants of our chalet were mesmerised as they watched a wonky scarf grow before their eyes. Then it shrunk as I unravelled it to uncover the mystery of why there were more stitches than I’d started with. Then it grew again, then it stopped as I ran out of wool.
It grew and shrank again a couple of times once I got home and re-supplied. Finally the starting number tallied with the finishing number, which is more than I can say for my bank account – maybe I should knit my statements.
Scarf completed, I was itching to do something else. I decided on a matching hat, but with no pattern, I made it up as I went along, pretty much like my career, but that’s another story still well short of completion. It seemed to work, but was missing something, that extra touch that would mark it out as unique. Of course, I declared to the cat in a lightbulb moment, a pom pom. The cat’s getting on a bit so doesn’t do that frisky running around chasing bits of wool thing. He’d slept on my lap and the half-completed scarf as I’d knitted without so much as a twitch, but as soon as the pom pom making started, he looked interested.
I can measure the time lapsed since my last pom pom in multiple decades, but again, it all came back. Two cardboard rings with a hole in the middle. The hardest thing, I seemed to remember, was fitting the wool through the rings, so it was important to make them large enough.
In my defence, can I say the wool was very very thick? So the emerging pom pom was more like a demolition ball than a dainty decoration. The first time I wore the ensemble and trotted down the road, I nearly concussed myself. The huge great pom pom smacked me on both sides of the head, then changed track to hit me on the neck and forward to the nose. If I’d ever been a physics student, I could probably have worked out how to harness the huge amount of pom pom energy generated. But I didn’t do physics, or maths. I did journalism, so while I didn’t know what was happening, at least I knew how to write about it.
The hat was a huge hit with my staff, I’ve threatened them with matching team hats before my contract’s up. They liked the idea, though with just one caveat. No pom poms.