Quote from Source Unknown:
“Name: Nicky-Jack Marshall (Aged 96)
Comment: Well firstly I like to add flour to my palms as this gives a great grip on the needles. Also it’s best to keep your cat away from the wool!”
I dearly wish I could remember from where I got this excerpt so I could credit the source. [If it is you, please, let me know, and I will re-post with your reference.] This is knitting advice from Nicky-Jack Marshall. She provides us with tips to get a great grip on knitting needles.
And Nicky-Jack helps us to guard against prowling felines who mess up your knitting. We all know what kind of cat she is talking about. As you are gently jerking away at the ball of yarn at your feet, the cat pounces, and YOW! There go those talons into your thin-skinned ankle that is the backdrop for that dancing, fuzzy string of yarn. Nicky-Jack knows what to do to keep your Zen while knitting. This woman is one to whom we might want to listen.
I love this woman, and I have never even met her. In an age where people buybuybuy the best and the most beautiful supplies and tools in order to prepare to take on a new interest or hobby, Nicky-Jack just gets out her bin of flour and gets a great grip on those needles. Cheap, clean, available. She gives the cat a toss outside, and sits to knit. So beautiful.
The simplicity of this is what I want my life to reflect. To hell with the fancy needles, the row counters, the tips for the needles to keep errant stitches from bustin’ a move off your needles in transit. Like Nicky-Jack would say: just flour up those mitts and commence to knittin’.
There is so much wisdom in simplicity. I have dyed fleece with chemical- and natural-dyes, made my own mordants, hunted lichen in the woods, saved onion skins, spun wool, dog, rabbit, and goat. I have plied skeins of yarn, niddy-noddied them, balanced them, and knitted with them. I have felted wool and spun cotton. I have made a silk cap out of a worm’s cocoon. All of this cool stuff while Nicky-Jack was producing the goods.
I do believe that my productivity sometimes gets sidetracked by process and the hunt for technique, variety, nuance, and research. I have experimented with dye baths of lichen and with Kool-Aid. And I have done quite a bit of knitting. But if I transfer her wisdom to other areas of my life, I feel pretty convicted.
Like Nicky-Jack’s needles, it’s time to dust up my chi and get a grip on that which is important to me. On that which I hope to prioritize because it makes me happy on the inside and on the outside. No one wants to be the teacup that looks happy on the outside but unhappy on the inside. Dust up my my mandolin, my laptop’s keyboard, my fiddle, my running shoes, my piano, my sometimes-overwhelming research project . . . and toss that cat of distraction that is such a convenient excuse that disallows creativity and flow.