It is easy to figure out the colors of my knitting and sewing projects by the bits of yarn and thread sprinkled across my light beige carpeting. The current colors-of-the-month are #946 burnt orange embroidery floss and a variegated yarn in various shades of blue. I consider them part of my living room décor.
I am knitting hats and scarves to donate for the upcoming winter, alliteratively predicted in the Farmers’ Almanac to be “freezing, frigid, and frosty.” I have also begun the first of the five cross-stitch projects I will be entering at the county fair, just eleven short months away.
During my daily handwork I still have plenty of time to let my mind wander. As a blue scarf grows ever longer from my circular needles, I have been taking mental inventory of our family’s children. There are two layers of them now, the offspring of my siblings and the “grands” they have produced.
I have been concentrating on one brave grand-nephew who recently faced a serious surgical procedure. Our collective prayers were answered when pictures of him on the way to school finally popped up on Facebook.
His cousins have been in school for a few weeks now, at several levels of primary, intermediate, and high school learning. One cousinette, a junior, is actually driving, and the oldest “grand” has joined the military. All their lives are a complicated maze of lessons and rehearsals, play dates and sports activities in addition to new adult responsibilities some are learning to face. Before we blink twice, however, they will have managed to follow in the footsteps of their parents – the crop of nieces and nephews of whom I am so proud. The whole lot of them is quite a bunch!
When the next knitting mistake or sewing error annoys me, I will make myself smile by conjuring up the latest amusing family quotations making the rounds on our cell phones and tablets. The current one comes in two versions and seems to have resulted from the challenges of modern life. “If my mouth doesn’t say it, my face definitely will,” can also be translated as, “My face doesn’t always play along with staying quiet.” But I guess life in this century is not so singular in its stresses and strains. I am certain that my Depression-era parents who became the Greatest Generation and we Boomers have at times experienced the very same facial phenomenon.
Like other knitters and sewers, I occasionally buy supplies. Fortunately, our retail system allows for in-store and online purchases. I divide my time and money evenly between internet sources and brick-and-mortar locations, each possessing equal shares of conveniences and inconveniences.
I consider free shipping the bane of cyber-shopping. It is a tempting incentive that often dissolves into a huge pain in the neck. My closets contain items I bought simply to qualify for free shipping. Although the original order requires little time and a minimum of keystrokes, I have been known to spend much too long poring over computer images to find something I might need or want sometime in the distant future – just to reach that magic number.
And the quick delivery of my orders is sometimes muted by questionable packaging practices. I am often at a loss to understand why the items I buy, ones that could easily be packed into the corner of a shoe box, arrive in a carton more suitable for a big-screen TV, bound with enough tape and filled with enough packing material for an entire Amazon distribution center.
Then there are the porch pirates who steal delivered packages. Any thief making off with my boxes will be sadly disappointed to be the proud new owner of a 7-ounce skein of spring green acrylic yarn, a double length of pearl gray Aida cloth, and a size H crochet hook!
Sometimes when I finally put away my sewing and knitting for the day, I find something on TV that is worth watching, that warms my heart in a tear-inducing sort of way.
Six-year-old Finn Daly, a boy of special abilities, is so enamored by the American flag fluttering in the breeze that he sits for long periods of time mesmerized by Old Glory. When Finn’s neighbor noticed how much the child enjoyed the flag hanging from his front yard tree, Todd Disque built a bench, inscribing it “Finn’s Bench.” The tiny seat now occupies a space near the tree, available for Finn to sit as long as he likes to pay homage to the Stars and Stripes.
Equally heartwarming and tear-inducing was the recent UDC report about retired Urbana firefighter Brian Williams. The Brian I remember was quiet and unassuming. Thus, I was not surprised to read of his participation in the Yellow Springs Stair Climb on September 7 during which he joined 93 others climbing the equivalent of 110 stories to commemorate the 343 firefighters who sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001. Brian chose to climb in full gear, carried badges of fallen New York firefighters, and raised in excess of $1000 for the benefit of firefighters and their families across the country. Bless you, Brian, and thank you for your dedicated service to our community and your special honoring of your fellow firefighters.
So, there. That is what really happens during the hours I spend interlocking yards of yarn and thread for fun and donation!
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.