Christmas Knits

Every year, December meant the same thing for Alexa Myers: collecting donations for the shelter where she worked. It also meant the arrival of Mrs. Westover and her armfuls of scarfs, hats, mittens, blankets, and teddy bears. It was as though the woman sat down on December 26th and knit straight through until December 15th when she would come and drop them all off. So, now Alexa sat behind her desk in the donation center going through every item she’d already collected to catalog them while she waited for Mrs. Westover and her knit goods to arrive. Stretching, she stood to go check in the back to make sure her numbers were right. Had they really gotten 5 bicycles this year? She knew the bell would alert her if Mrs. Westover arrived.
Half an hour later, with dozens of counts checked and Alexa preparing to pack up for the night, she found herself wondering if everything was alright. The bell had never rung. Then she stepped back out into the lobby where her desk sat and was stunned. Every surface available was covered in bags of knitting. Relief brightened her features and she picked up one of the small bears, touching the little heart pattern stitched into one foot, just like every year. Picking up her phone, she called one of the volunteers.
“I need a hand down at the donation center. I don’t know how Mrs. Westover does this every year, but she did.”

The next day found Alexa working her way through the pile to get it all sorted and ready to go out to the shelter families. That was when the doorbell rang and a woman stepped inside, looking around curiously. She pulled a knit hat off and tucked it into a pocket before holding out a small bag of scarves.
“My mother made these and told me to make sure I dropped them off here. She made me promise before…” She paused then. “I know she said she usually dropped them off on the 15th, but I couldn’t make it and…”
Alexa looked at the woman and then down at the mittens in her own hands.
“I’m sorry, can I help you?”
The woman scrubbed at her face.
“I’m Marianne Westover. My mother used to knit for your shelter and I promised her I would bring the last of what she brought and…I have a donation for you too. I mean, I don’t know how to knit, but…”
Alexa wasn’t quite sure what she was hearing.
“I…I thought… We got a donation yesterday and I thought…”
Again, she held up the white mittens with the hearts stitched into the backs of the hands. Marianne looked at them, surprised.
“My mother passed away, just after Christmas last year. These scarves, they’re the last of what she made.”

The Chosen One

“You…aren’t exactly what we expected.”
The diminutive Faerie bounced nervously from one foot to the other, gazing up at the woman standing before him. She was a withered old apple of a woman, but with a smile that lit up her face like the sun and made her decades younger. She wore simple enough clothing, just a pair of pants and a shirt with a light jacket over it. She carried a large purse though, with a pair of knitting needles protruding from the top. She reached into the cavernous bag and held out a small sweet wrapped like a spring berry.
“Would you like a bit of candy, dear? Now, what were you expecting? I’m the one who got your letter.”
Other Fae creatures appeared out of the brush, quietly conferring with their emissary. Then he spoke again.
“If you truly received the letter and the door…then we cannot deny that you are the chosen one who can save us.”
He accepted the candy from her with a quiet dignity and sat to unwrap it. Behind the old woman, a much younger woman fidgeted nervously.
“Excuse me, but, Mrs.Ramsey? It’s time to take your medicine.”
The young woman wore scrubs with kittens on them, a pair of sensible white sneakers and carried a small bag under one arm. Her curly black hair was pulled back with a headband, though wisps of it fell to frame her tanned and playful face. The badge she wore on a lanyard had her picture and simply read Gabriella Alvarez.
“What was that? Oh yes, of course. Thank you, Gabby.”
With a skill born of long practice, Gabby counted out the correct pills and held them out to Mrs. Ramsey, along with a bottle of water. The Fae waited patiently, marveling at this strange mortal exercise. As soon as it was done and Mrs. Ramsey had handed the bottle back to her waiting nurse, they spoke again.
“You must come, our King has need to speak with you.”
“Yes, of course.” Mrs. Ramsey adjusted her sweater. “Let’s get a move on then. I wouldn’t want to keep a king waiting.”

Just Another Inch

It was a deep shade of purple. That purple that’s almost black. There were only a few skeins left and it was a light-weight merino, silk and cashmere yarn. So, of course, Natalie bought two skeins to see about making a pair of socks for herself. She’d seen a new pattern that she was absolutely dying to try out, so it made sense. Tucking it into her knitting bag, she couldn’t wait to show everyone in her knit group when they met next Tuesday.
Tuesday night came and Natalie was eager to show them her progress. She was nearly done with the first sock. She’d already turned the heel and was in the home stretch. Everything was perfect. The women sitting around the cafe table with their iced coffees oohed and aahed as she pulled the socks out and laid them on her bag.
“Looks like you’ve only got a few inches left.”
“I know, I’m so excited.”
“How’s the yarn?”
Natalie passed them to Laura, sitting on her left.
“It’s a dream. Silky soft and I swear the gauge is perfect. I’ve never gotten it perfect before.”
There were laughs all around at that. Everyone passed the socks around, eager to see and feel. Jenny brushed her fingers across the finished portion.
“I don’t know how you did it. I can’t even feel the stitches.”
Natalie grinned.
“I swear, it’s the yarn. It’s amazing.”
For the rest of the night, she worked and worked, eager to finish the second sock. Just another inch…just another inch. After what seemed like forever, a teenage boy came over to quietly tell them it was closing time. With a sad sigh, the knitting circle began to pack their bags.
“So, almost done?”
“Should be soon…”
Natalie held up the sock to look it over.
“Looks like another inch or so, right?”
She frowned then.
“No…it should be less…” Then Natalie shrugged. “I’ll measure it when I get home.”
“Well, you make sure you bring the finished product next week, alright?”

All week long, Natalie took every free moment she had, trying desperately to finish that last inch. But it seemed like every time she measured, she was short an inch from where she needed to be. Hours and hours passed, chores went undone. Still, the sock was an inch away from being done.

Laura slid into her seat.
“Sorry, I’m late! Had to drop the kids off at soccer first. Did I miss anything?”
“We were just talking about Natalie.”
They were all busily working on their projects as they spoke, their conversation underpinned by the constant clicking of needles.
“Did something happen?”
“Oh! No, no. Or at least, nothing we know about.”
“She’s not here and she wasn’t at the library yesterday either.”
That was Jenny, leaning forward almost conspiratorially.
“You know her, she’s always there.”

Months passed and there was snow falling lightly as Jenny walked up the steps towards the library. She heard a strange murmuring behind her and turned, nearly jumping as she saw a bedraggled woman there shivering in the cold. She was filthy and looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks. Strangest of all, she seemed to be covered in a nearly black yarn that seemed just slightly purple. Clutched tightly in her hands was a pair of socks that was almost done.
And then the woman fell forward onto the steps, unmoving in the freshly fallen snow.

Knitting Gothic

  • K1 P1 K1 P1 K1 M1 P1 K1 P1 K1 P1 Sacrifice your first born K1 P1 K1 P1. Make sure to follow the pattern precisely.

  • You walk into the yarn store. Just one skein. You only need one skein to finish the sweater. You have the dye lot written down, marked on the original wrapper from the old skeins. You can’t find the dye lot. It never existed. It was never real. The arcane sigils mean nothing and pain your eyes to look upon.

  • The pattern takes a size 7 needle. Going through the roll, you have all but a 7. 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,10.5,11,12,13. There is no 7. You change patterns. The pattern takes a size 5 needle. Going through the roll, you have all but a 5. 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,10.5,11,12,13. There is no 5.

  • Finally, after years, you have found your way to Webs. No more will you buy your yarn from the big box craft store, you swear. As you reach for the 100% alpaca, it melts away. The sock yarn. The cashmere. The bamboo silk. They all fade away to nothing, leaving behind only Red Heart.

  • As the stitch drops, you can hear the screaming rush of the universe. The hole in your project grows larger and larger, a gaping maw that calls to you from the abyss. There is no escaping what you have wrought.

  • As you approach the counter to pay for your single skein, you look down and realize that you are holding two. Three. Yarn just appears in your hands. Money streams out of your wallet. There will only be yarn. You will be yarn.

  • You click to open your email. Ravelry opens. You click on Google. Ravelry opens. You click on Facebook. Ravelry opens. Finally, you click on Ravelry. Webs opens. Your cart is full.