There is a world of plant and animal to twist into fiber: comb bamboo, gather the underbelly tufts from an Arctic Ox to spin into light thread, stroke away the hair of a rabbit and knit. The cottonwood wisps of spring would make fine garments. The harvest of fibers does no harm to any living creature, except perhaps the cut bamboo cane. Yarn tells its story through the fingers of women.
The shop is closing, the one on the ground floor of an old house bordering campus. It is painted soft green with a deep porch wrapping around the front overlooking rose bushes. Inside the small rooms were shelves spilling over with merino, silk, and wool in all colors and none. An antique oak table in what was once a dining room hosted knitting classes. I came to learn late in life, but my beginner’s class was canceled. Not to be dissuaded. I taught myself to knit watching videos on the internet. Long-tail cast-on, yarn over, purl, make two-together, cast off—a coded language of loops and knots akin to conjuring.
Angora is coaxed from contented hares and spun around a core of silk thread. Cashmere comes from the belly hair of goats. Alpaca is strong and warm and soft. I abandoned my needles for many seasons. Projects languished in baskets and paper bags, which often happens in summer until they’re taken up again at Samhain when the days grow dark. I left much undone.
I sat at the table for a day with a mill-end ball of wool and cast-on a thousand stitches and ripped them out again. I knitted and purled a dozen rows, binding off but for the last stitch and ripped it out again. Join in the round, left slanting decrease, each knot recalled in the hand. I unraveled the unfinished cowl and wound it up again. In the telling of the yarn, nothing is ever lost.