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The Sweater Chronicles, continued--
The Sweater has grown to almost 8 inches over the last week. The ribbing is done, the furrowed washboard and sentinel-like appearance belayed by the softness of the dark yarn. Above it I place the first pattern, simple so as not to upstage the extravagant yoke; the first opportunity to work with two colors. Awkward after all this time, I snake the yarn through my fingers, dove gray to one hand, and the fierce charcoal to the other. As the pattern presents itself I knit, one stitch in gray here, two in black there. Slow at first, my hands struggle to work the yarn, until the muscles remember their task and the dance begins between right and left, dark and light.
Squeaker the cat remembers, too. She was a kitten when last I knit, and she would sit in the yarn basket and chew in half the ever moving strand of yarn while I knit it. I guard the yarn close to my feet, keeping in my consciousness Squeaker's location in the room to prevent a repeat of earlier days.
When the pattern, no more than a zigzag, is done, I move on to the plain knitting that will add almost a foot to the length of the sweater.
I like best to knit in the morning. I rise, and examine the previous day's knitting over my morning coffee. Then, with the cats cared for and welcomed to the day and the daily Mass streaming over the computer, I take up the needles. Time is measured in rows completed. Load a stitch; wrap the yarn; pull the stitch through and send it on its way down the needle--230 stitches around the circular needle, tightly packed and ready to spring off the left needle, then worked onto the right and sent down the length to begin its journey back around. The rhythm is accented every few minutes as I unwind a length of yarn from the ever decreasing skein at my feet and puddle it into my lap. The sweater will use over 2500 yards of heathery yarn. How many stitches, I wonder? How many soft, easy breaths? I knit, watchful of each stitch but somehow detached from any harsher a reality than the clicking of two needles in the hazy morning sun. The rest of the day will be colored by the peace of a morning's knitting.