Then the darling six-year-old Chinese boy in the middle seat turned to me and said, “What is that? Are you making a glove?” I said, “I’m making a sweater.” “Wow, that takes a long time.” Nod.
“Did you make this whole sweater all by yourself?” he asked, gesturing toward my Bellows cardigan.
“THIS sweater?” he repeated, pointing more emphatically.
“Yes, I made this sweater.”
After we discussed how long it took (not very long — big stitches) as compared to the one on the needles, he thought for a minute and then asked if there are any colors besides yellow and pink or purple. I clarified that the two sweaters under discussion were actually two different shades of grey, not pink and purple, and grey is all I had with me on the plane (my waste yarn is yellow). Indicating Bellows again, he said, “This could be a different color,” to which I replied, “It can be any color you want if you make it yourself — that’s the beauty of making things.”
We were nearing the end of our flight by this point, and he had already given me tiny lectures about clouds being water (“if I tried to step out onto one, I would fall through to the ground and die”); planes being “hard to people but soft to the ground” (if the wheels hit the ground wrong “the whole plane could go kapow”); and the existential fact of grown-up deaf people who don’t know what their names sound like. “I get curious into everything,” he told me at one point with a bit of sigh of resignation, like it was his burden to bear. So I was not surprised that these were his parting thoughts on the subject of sweater making:
“Once upon a time, you might want to make a sweater a certain color but the King would say [voice of doom and authority], ‘NO. You can only make it THIS color.’ But then they changed the rules.”
I wish I’d taken a picture of him to add to my other favorite moments of the week — an action-packed 48-hour holiday photo shoot with Kathy (which necessitated a visit to Drygoods Design), a quick pilgrimage by ferry to Churchmouse, dinners with good friends, knitting all day Saturday at the Tolt anniversary with the other Farm to Needle book contributors, meeting lots of you, seeing not only the book in 3D for the first time but four Tolt staffers wearing their version of my Anna Vest to the celebration! Including Anna herself (who wore the test knitter’s). All in all, a marvelous trip — despite the bumpy start.
Reading-glasses photo by Kathy Cadigan