Friday, November 6, 2009


“Patience”, my grandmother warned me, when after my n-th unsuccessful attempt at pushing the needle through the stitch, wrapping the wool around the needle, drawing the wool in and slipping the old stitch off, I was ready to throw the pair of knitting needles out of the window. “Knitting is a skill you learn for life. You can’t rush it.”
To be honest, she didn’t exactly use those words, but there was no ambiguity in the tone of her voice.
“Patience”, I muttered to myself, while I tried again. And since this is not a story, I did not succeed that time either. But I did, a couple of days later. And a couple of days after that, I was making knit stitches almost effortlessly. Learning to ‘purl’ was much easier than it had been to learn to ‘knit’, and before I knew it, a whole world of patterns had been laid open for me.

And my grandmother was right. Knitting is a skill I never forgot. My tension would remain inconsistent – sometimes my stitches were so tight, I could barely push the needle through, other times they would be so loose, sunlight could stream through the gaps – reflecting my current mood. But there was no pattern I could not tackle, no garment I could not do.
And yet, none of it would have happened had my grandmother not whispered that magic word in my ear- Patience. In life, as in knitting, patience is all we really need. Genuine patience.

Painting - Francoise Duparc (1726-78) Woman Knitting, n.d.


Anonymous said...

Patience... slowly learning the meaning of this word over here!

How's TED India going? Have you attended lectures? Hope to see you around sometime when you have a little more time?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love the *idea* of knitting and sewing. Unfortunately, I'm incredibly impatient and attempts at needlework have always ended in disaster.

I'm more patient with *people* now. But inanimate objects and I don't get along. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Chary Johnson said...

Love the story, Rayna. I am very impatient when it comes to driving, knitting, shopping in a supermarket, etc.

However, when teaching students or at home with my own children, I have endless patience. I have no idea why? I guess that is just how my brain is programmed.

Love the lesson in this short work!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Fiona - I wish I could claim to be patient. But at least I am gradually understanding the need for patience.
TED is going on in Mysore- boss is naturally there, but it is too far away for me :-(

@ Elizabeth - I personally thing that being patient with people is more difficult.

@ Chary - and it is with my children that I am most impatient :-(
Rather, I am most intolerant of incompetance, and most demanding of my kids. Am really working on the latter, though.

dipali said...

One of the most under-rated yet necessary of virtues! In my case, taught to me by Life:)
Though it's still a work in progress.

Anil P said...

Patience is holding on to a kite in the sky while willing it to stay there.

And stitching must come close to it :-)

Watery Tart said...

Natasha, my twin... I am with you... I can be patient with Both tailes... tasks, for the most part are fine.. I can plug away and perservere... Traffic is okay too--it is completely out of my control, so why bother with impatience. But people are more difficult. I think actually, what I get frustrated with is their frustration. I happen to know if you just keep trying you will get there... so often they don't believe me, though. That is when I blow.

As for 'crafts'--I have the 'patience' but not necessarily the 'care'. I am a person who says "eh, close enough" too often, so I can sew blankets, christmas stockings, drapery... but not clothes... close enough only works hung on a wall, not fitted over a person.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ dipali - in my case, too, it is very much WIP. But the quest is good enough too, I think.

@ Anil - thanks for dropping by. I am not an avid kite flyer, and the only time I held the string, I was overcome with a sense of power. Incredible how that delicate piece of twig, twine and paper holds its own against the might of the four winds.
Maybe I should try flying a kite again, to see if I can grab a bit of what you say.

@ Tami - we are twins after all - the only thing I really get impatient with is people who don't seem to want to get it or get anywhere. Anything else I can deal with.
And I read you too on the difference between patience and care, though I never quite thought of it that way.


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