There are persons out there who feel somehow alone. They are beautiful, wonderful, good-hearted individuals, who deserve a strong and supportive community like we have forged, and yet they feel isolated, perhaps even shunted to the side. Odds are you know someone like this. Often they’re quiet, withdrawn – sometimes they seem a little puzzled by the strange bond that unites knitters worldwide, but they too are excited and able to form instant bonds of deep frienship when they encounter someone who shares their peculiar qualities, someone sympathetic to their situation. They are not quite “muggles” — They are our parteners. I think they too should have a community. They could call themselves Significant Others of Compulsive Knitters (SOCKs). (Spouses Of Compulsive Knitters is smoother sounding, but it isn’t inclusive enough.)

Last weekend my husband was at a writer’s convention in Toronto. Before he left he said he knew perfectly well that he would see people there knitting. I said “of course you will, probably several”. He’s been saying for ages that knitting is a virus, and that if it mutates and goes airbourn we’re all doomed (his words – “we’ll all have warm hats” is how I’d put it). Recently he’s been moaning because several of the editors and agents whose blogs he reads have contracted knitting, and “now all they talk about is wool and knitting patterns.”

So, of course, at one of the evening parties, he found a woman knitting. He went up to her directly (see? knitting is an invitation to meet new people!) and said “ah hah! I knew there’d be someone! You can’t stop, can you?”

“I know”, she said, “it’s a virus”.

He was so happy that she’d said it first. This is one of the first things he told me when he called on Monday.

Now, about that clump of wool. I managed to spin it, sort of – I mean, it came out looking like something you could pay a lot of money for in a yarn store, actually, except that if I bought it what I would want to do is tie it to my head, not knit with it.

That was one of the better sections.

Jodi told me once, when I was reminiscing about my first encounter with a drop spindle, that I should cherish this horrible lumpy big stage and make as much of it as possible, on the grounds that “it’s really hard to do that once you learn to do it properly”. I expect she was being nice. Anyway I’m slightly allergic to wool (and everything else on the freakin’ planet) and so actually have to tie artificial fibres only to my head, so I really haven’t much use for scads of this stuff. Fortunately I already seem to be getting the hang of it – I tried some other wool today and got a much less archetectural result:

Pardon my pudgy pink hand.

Ok, now if all the real spinners there have done giggling, I’ve got a couple of questions. First – should I be planning to ply? What’s the difference? Obviously if I ply that stuff in the pic above, it’s still going to end up huge – but it’s a kind of huge I can deal with, so if I ought to, I don’t mind. I’m not plying the clump, it’s going to be felted. Which leads to question number two:

I have knit the clump into a swatch.

That’s kool-aid colour, by the way, for the usual reason – I had some of that in the house. If you look close, you can see that I did improve (a little) even over the course of the clump – it is not just perspective, the yarn closest to you in the swatch is much bigger and looser than the latter part. Sorry the pictures are so dark today – it IS dark. We’ve been plunged back into the dead of winter for some reason.

So my plan is now to felt the swatch, and then make something of or around the result. The only felting I’ve done before is the kind where you squish wool into muslin (violence and bubble wrap – twice the fun for your money!) which really isn’t the same thing at all. I have soap, I have a washboard, I have even got hot water – these things in combination should get me felt, right? So what I’m concerned about is – how thick is it going to be? Is it going to gain in depth some of what it loses in length and breadth?

If the answer is yes, it may stop bullets. I might have to consider making a book cover out of it. I suppose it could be a small pot holder… or a very large, very sturdy coaster. I could cut it and roll it and make a pincushion…