Yarn Theory

It was like a glitch in the wotsit. Matrix. I thought my eyes were going.

I was in a foul mood that day. I’d asked Kate if she wanted me with her for the birth, and she’d said No. I’d hung up in a huff. Again. The booties I was knitting looked like tea-cosies for dildos. And the girls at work had been cooing “Grandma soon!” till my grin-lines set like cement.

So I took Waffle for a walk down Threadwell Lane. Thought about when I was pregnant. How thirty years can drop like stitches off a needle. I never made booties for Kate. Never had time. 

Then I saw them. Silver strands—thousands—streaming from the hedge. Shimmering. Like I wasn’t looking at the lane, but through, to the web-work underneath. I stood like a scarecrow, staring. But Waffle lollopped down the track, so I followed. Close up, the filaments vanished. 

Doesn’t sound much, I know.

But after that, I started noticing a sort of… stringiness to things. The criss-crossing lines of roads, railways, vapour-trails. Soon I was seeing threads everywhere. Wires, rivers, roots. Clothes-fibres. Words on paper. The paths of birds and stars. Buskers plucking invisible cords in the air. The universe—the whole kaboodle—was one massive intarsia pattern of twisting, twining skeins.

I saw my life, all knotty, like a shonky homemade scarf. Such a mess I’d made. Over time, I learned to fix the worst bits. With a decent pair of straight needles, I could sort out the half-pulled loops, the turn-arounds, the tangle of loose ends.

As for Kate… Three snagging-snarling decades aren’t easy to unpick. I’d yanked some rows too tight, my love drawn taut by fear. Others sagged with ugly holes and unspoken hurts. It’ll take time to mend. I’m working on it still.

Never did finish those god-awful booties.

I’ll go back, one day, to Threadwell Lane. Not for a long while yet. But some quiet evening, before I cast off for good. I know what I’ll do.

I’ll stitch my soul into those silver skeins—the basketweave of the world.

Author: Sarah Royston’s writing often draws inspiration from crafts, folklore and English landscapes. Her short fictions and poetry are published in Popshot Quarterly, Full House Lit, Ellipsis and Crow and Cross Keys, among others. She lives in Hertfordshire and works as a researcher at Anglia Ruskin University. Website: https://hedgeways.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @sarahroyston4

Many thanks to Claire Lamman for the use of her image from her article: Untangling the Cosmic Web.

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