I have wanted to learn to knit for a long time. My mother knitted, her mother crocheted and they both embroidered. For the first half century of my life, I bluntly refused to touch a needle. Then, out of nowhere, I felt the urge. I googled immediately.
I learnt that once a week, knitters, stitchers, and crocheters from all over London meet and knit together. Stitch by stitch, loop by loop, they aim to take over the world and turn it into a warm, benign, woolly place, where humans knit together, refreshed by cups of tea, glasses of wine, cream cakes, and scones.
Rich and poor ladies, ordinary women, Oxbridge blue-stockings, illiterates, persons of various religious persuasions, and origins gather under one roof to knit and teach the learners. For free! Is that for real? I asked. Come and see, they replied.
Armed with wool and needles, I went. The Festival Hall, bathed in sparkling lights lit up the river; it overflowed with good-natured crowds. The knitters sat clutching their instruments, fingering the wool. Wine flowed, fairy cup-cakes, scones flew into mouths to the tune of clicking needles. I felt lost to alpaca, mohair, merino, cashmere.
I am a beginner, I said. Welcome, they replied. Feeling a huge grin mark my face, I picked up my needles. At last, I had found my way home. Afterwards, it dawned on me: had Penelope really wanted Odysseus back, wouldn’t she have given him a thread to find his way home?