I've been having a field day reading the comments to Kay's and Ann's posts about Ryan, and seeing a thread in the InTurn2's message boards brought to my attention by none other than that sleuth Sandy.
Sometimes I wonder: Can we write at all? How do people read what we write and misunderstand so much? I won't even get started about the Red Scarf Fund and the apparent misunderstandings (well, okay, a very small number, but still..) that that is creating. I saw comments over at Mason-Dixon that said that was MY blanket in their photos. I saw comments saying, "Wonderful that Ryan is a knitter." Of course I saw comments that said, "Who is Norma?" which I love. I do. I love the humbling, humorous aspect of it -- a moment for me to be able to deprecatingly laugh at myself, even though Kay and Ann linked my blog when they said, "Abigail is Norma's Abigail," and on and on. Who, indeed, IS this Norma and why should we care?! It's a question I ask myself on a daily basis.
I know the reason: Skimming. We all do it. Also, we blog writers are guilty of making assumptions that our readers hang on our every word and have been assiduously following along. Of course we know that is not true and not possible, but if we explained every single thing fully, it'd take all the fun out of writing, wouldn't it? I'll speak for myself and say yes, it would. I'm not pointing any fingers -- just getting a little chuckle out of it, is all.
But here is the truth about Ryan and knitting. Are you paying attention?
Ryan is directly responsible for me starting to knit again after having only learned how to cast on and knit and purl and cast off again, back in junior high. I used to crochet a good bit back then. Making little stuffed animals was a big thing then, and I did a lot of it, in good (read: "horrible") acrylic yarn, and hideous colors, and making hook-size and needle-size and yarn substitutions to beat the band. You see, I lived in the boonies in a not-very-well-off home. A shopping trip to the five-and-dime was at least an hour's drive and didn't happen very often. The biggest thing I ever knitted in those days was no more than a glorified swatch. I probably called some of those things "potholders," but if one tried to pick up a hot pot with it, one would suffer third-degree burns, no doubt.
BUT when Abigail first met Ryan and they first started dating, there came the first college Christmas vacation. Abigail came home and said, "I want to learn to knit. I want to knit Ryan a scarf for Christmas."
Well, I couldn't remember squat about knitting, so I said, "Grandma can teach you." We went over to my mother's house and she started teaching Abigail the basics, and darned if I didn't positively YEARN to knit. The rest, as they say, is NOW. I didn't want to use the cliche, ya know.
And when I say the rest is NOW, of course I mean the rest is Now Norma Knits. Because if I did not start knitting, chances are I would not have started blogging...or at least not in the way I did...and I would not have met any of you. NOW I'm getting all misty-eyed.
Abigail did indeed knit Ryan a beautiful scarf, but her desire to knit was forever sucked out of her like a Dementor sucks out a soul. I was an idiot, you see. I knew NOTHING about knitting, and I suggested that she use some yarn I got on eBay. It was very soft, and superwash, SPORTWEIGHT merino, on size US5 needles. I was an even greater idiot: I suggested she make a K2/P2 ribbed scarf, and since he is so tall, I suggested she make it 72 inches long. The poor girl actually did it. It was the first item she ever knitted, and she endured this torturous ordeal. Does this tell you much about my daughter and her tenacity? Any wonder she has zero desire to knit now? But, on the other hand, any wonder that she will succeed in life?
So here we are, four years later. But there is more to the Ryan and knitting story.
The first time Ryan came to our home for an extended visit, I was knitting my Plain Vanilla sweater. Feverishly knitting Plain Vanilla. I didn't know that Ryan was noticing, but he was. At one point he started asking questions about it. Then he said, "I love that. My mom needs something like that to do."
So come the NEXT Christmas, I got an email from Ryan from college. I remember I blogged about it at the time. He wanted me to help him buy a nice start-to-knit kit for his mom. I did. The last I heard on the subject, she was still knitting, too.
And then I'd send occasional handknit items to Abigail at college. Ryan would ooh and ahh about every one. He'd proudly tell people, when Abigail wore her Rogue sweater, "Her mom knit this! I'm not kidding!" When I sent Abigail some wrist-warmers, Abigail got online and wrote to me, "Ryan wants a pair!" He got some. The next time I went to the college to see a performance, he was wearing them. He kept saying his wrists were cold when other college students were asking him WTF he was wearing. Totally endearing.
He told me he wanted me to knit him a sweater. He's six-foot-two. Need I say more? I remember laughing at him even when he said it. The poor boy does not yet have his own handknit sweater. He has very sensitive skin, so if any of you do-gooders are thinking of knitting the poor boy a sweater to wear on the set of ATWT, keep that in mind.
So that, my friends, is the story of Ryan and knitting. He loves his mom. He likes me. He's a good boy, and he doesn't knit, but he loves knitters. For real.