Archive for knitting

Gordian Knit

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by javedbabar

Gemma sat knitting in her corner. “Miserable cow,” thought Albert. “She never says hello to anyone, just scowls. Maybe that should be a new type of stitch. The knit from above, the purl from below, and the scowl from the side. Why was she always so grumpy? Others at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre just accepted that they were old and lonely and tried to be cheerful. She must be a good knitter though. Guru Baba’s disciples had asked her to make a dozen hats for them with holy symbols. A pile of them sat beside her, and this looked like the last. I’ll try being nice to her today, thought Albert, even though it’s never worked before.

He said, “Hello Gemma, how are the hats coming along?”

She didn’t look up and said, “I’m still working on them. Can’t you see?”

“Which symbol are you making now? It looks like a black spot.”

Despite his skills as a carpenter, roper, and archer, Albert had never understood the mechanics of knitting. Yes you made a row of loops and then pulled another row of loops through them. But what about shapes and patterns? And how do you make stripes? What about this black circle? How do you make something round in a square piece of fabric?

Gemma responded to his interest. Her speed of knitting doubled and then doubled again. She’s faster than Jesse James drawing, he thought. Before he knew it, she’d finished the final hat, and also completed a pair of red socks and small grey jumper. “Wow!” said Albert. “Lady, you are one mean scowler.”

“What do you mean by that?” she said crossly.

“Oh sorry, I meant that you are one mean knitter and purler. You, know a real fast stitcher.” He was digging himself into a hole here. He’d better stop.

“Shall I show you how?” she said. Nobody expected Gemma to say or do nice things. Albert was ambushed, and the only thing to do was accept.

He proved to be a natural knitter. It seemed that decades of of steer roping and quick draws had lasting effects. His hands responded intuitively to any kind of action. By the end of the morning he had produced a pair of brown trousers and possibly the world’s first knitted cowboy hat. It was a little floppy but sat on his head well.

Irene guided James over to Gemma’s corner. James was unresponsive since his third stroke but he sometimes had bursts of action. He’d performed well in art class recently, making an abstract painting in shitty browns. Maybe he’d take to knitting also. A double-breasted blue jacket and matching overcoat soon graced his shoulders. He was the most sartorially eloquent stroke survivor in Lucerne.

Zoe had finished her shift in the kitchen, and Smuel was on break till it was time to drive people home. They came to try their hand. Both were hard workers and within an hour they had produced a fancy knitted rug filled with Persian lozenge designs, and a pair of curtains. Then they looked at each other, unsure where to place these items. James saw that their thoughts were of a home together, but with Zoe already having a partner, this wasn’t likely, at least yet.

The manager Mr Amin returned from meetings at The Authority. “Thank God that’s over,” he said. “A day of talking and paper-pushing. Lots of time wasted with nothing achieved. It looks like you have all been busy though.”

Gemma was enjoying being the centre of attention for once. She said, “Come on, Mr Amin, you must have a go too. What do you mean, you can’t do it? It’s really easy. Don’t you practice meditation? Just keep your attention focussed. You’ll do it.” Within one hour Mr Amin had produced a lace tablecloth. The next day he made a royal blue cloak filled with the forms of suns, moons and stars. It was a knitted galaxy. “I saw this design once in a French palace,” he said. “It looks quite good.” He decided to send the cloak to the Queen of Canadia.

The next day Gemma brought special yarns. There were scented wools and edible wools, and some with sparkles; water proof, fire proof, and transparent ones too.

“Those look wild,” said Albert. “What shall we do with them?”

Gemma said, “Word got out about Guru Baba’s hats. Now Dr.Bungawalla is interested in using yarns for detox, and my spiritual guide Ozwald Malchizedek (OM) wants to try them for soul cleansing.”

“How will he do that?”

He won’t,” said Gemma. “We will. We will twist seven wools in holy colours and swallow their ends. After cleansing our digestive systems and collecting as balls within us, they will untangle and emerge from our behinds.”

“Are you crazy?” said Albert.

“Not at all. We will knit them all together and create a new fabric for our lives.”

“What kind of fabric?” he said.

“One with an extra dimension.” She jabbed a needle at Albert’s hand, and he jumped back instinctively. “The scowl.”


Mining Data

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by javedbabar

Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak. Gemma’s knitting was getting on his nerves today, and Mr Amin wondered why. She was usually a quiet presence in the corner of the lounge and her daily knitting was reassuring – something small and progressive in a huge unstable world. He liked to watch her knitting and purling, creating new patterns on new garments to enrich people’s lives. There were hats and socks and sometimes jumpers. Mr Amin saw that her knitting style was changing. Each stitch was smaller and tighter, as if pulled into itself, and she was working faster. He wondered whether she was working towards some crazy knitting goal, or it was just natural progression of skill

James seemed to be unsettled. Mr Amin said, “How are you doing today?” James didn’t respond directly but rolled his eyes and his head gave a shudder. Something was bothering him. When someone is the victim of a serious stroke, it’s hard to say what. Mr Amin held his hand briefly and said, “Be well, James. Be well.” He wondered what people did to end up like this. Was Karma just?

“What are you doing to him?” said Gemma, looking up from her knitting without speed or rhythm wavering. “He won’t respond to you. Why do you bother?”

Her insensitivity annoyed Mr Amin but she couldn’t rile a trained diplomat so easily. He said, “It’s always worth bothering with people, Gemma. You never really know how you will affect them, so I feel it is best to treat people kindly, and what happens after that is beyond my control.”

Gemma said, “Huh!” and clicked her needles more loudly. Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK-Tik-TAK.

He felt that he had better sooth her too, saying, “What are you making Gemma? Is it a hat?”

She brightened at the opportunity to talk about herself. “Yes it is. I sell them to Guru Baba’s disciples. Because of my career as a math teacher, I know about sacred geometry, it’s just combinations of shapes. They want a set of twelve hats with holy symbols. This one has OM.”

“What about the others? What’s on those?”

“Well, here’s my list. There’s OM right here, then a Cross, Star of David, Crescent Moon, Dharma Wheel, Khanda, Taijitu, Water symbol, Torii Gate, Bahai Star, Pentagram, and Black Sun, the symbol of mystics.”

Mr Amin thought back to his father’s funeral forty two years ago, with OM’s and swastikas chalked around the pyre. His father had risen from a small village to become Northern India’s Minister of Culture, a wonderful model for social mobility. He had become very wealthy and had the ability to get anything done, even the impossible – like freeing up land for power projects. Imagine if the dams and drilling hadn’t gone through – India’s development would have been hampered. Despite Mr Amin and his brothers finding daily blackouts exciting, in later years he felt sad that his nation couldn’t even keep its fridges running.

He was proud of his father’s achievements and had entered politics at an early age. He had risen in the diplomatic service before being himself appointed Minister of Culture upon his father’s death. He was shocked when he examined his father’s files though. Many were missing and the ones present bore great holes. Financial ones. His father had not been as noble as he had thought. It was India after all. Everybody was corrupt. His discovery shouldn’t take anything away from his father’s achievements. His administration was just tempered by practicality. Mr Amin wondered why he was thinking about this now. He hadn’t done so in years.


James too was thinking about his father, who’d run a mining company in BC. He’d come from Ireland with nothing and spent ten years searching for gold. His claim near Golden had eventually yielded rich results and he had become very wealthy. Rather than squander his gains though, he had used them to build up his business, expanding from Golden into other parts of BC. James had loved the extraction operations. He’d operated trucks and crushers from an early age, mining copper, silver, nickel, and zinc. His father was especially proud when James made his own discoveries.

On James’s 21st birthday, his father had said “Son you are ready to take over from me. I’ve spend much of my life here, and now I’m going out to see the world. He had travelled to the world’s great holy places – its great excavations and constructions – Rome, Delphi, Jerusalem, Giza, Petra, Moenjodaro, and the Taj Mahal. In India he’d heard about a big mining company behaving badly. He’d discovered that to secure extraction rights they were destroying an ancient temple and forcing poor villagers from their homes. He’d started a campaign to save the village and temple. The big mining company had complained to Mr Amin Sr., the Minister of Culture, who decided that this foreigner was a threat to the development of his nation’s resources, and also to his fat commission. James’s father disappeared one day on a site visit, and his body was never found.

Now at Open Hearts seniors daycare centre it was Mr Amin’s duty to care for James. Karma was more complex than straight addition and subtraction. Fathers’ sins were also visited upon sons. Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak-Tik-Tak.