What I’m Making

What are you making?

I look up. The speaker is, of course, a woman of at least middle-age. Indeed, since she looks like what I see in the mirror, she’s likely a senior.

I hold up my jumbled lapful of knitting.


A shawl.

I think for a minute.

It’s one of those small ones you wrap around your neck.

As we engage in a short conversation about the colours, the recipient, and her own knitting experience, I also think, not for the first time, that I should have brought the page with the pattern photo. Not everyone on the train or boat or plane cares what I’m making. Well, in truth, most don’t. But for the ones that do, a picture would help immensely in answering this question. Because sometimes the end result is not obvious from the work-in-progress.

What are you making?

These knitting encounters get me to thinking about the other things I do with my time. Blogs. Photos. Gardens. Edited documents. Videos. Biceps. Grandhildren’s memories.

With the exception of the amazing biceps, none are quite as obvious to the passerby as a lapful of knitting. Nor are their pursuits obvious to me.

Yet all would be ways to connect with like-minded folks, if only I had a picture of what I’m making with my life.


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12 Responses to What I’m Making

  1. Tom Watson says:

    Actually, I think that every week you present a picture of what you are “making with your life.”
    And it’s a very nice collage indeed.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Well, that’s an interesting way to look at it. I’d still sorta like to have something to show people encountered casually,and I wish I could see their stuff, too. 🙂

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    I agree with Tom. But then, not being Tom, I find myself taking off on a different metaphor related to knitting. The whole thing in knitting is that each stitch is small, almost inconsequential. But it’s the accumulation of those inconsequential stitches that creates a shawl, a sweater, a… a… oh yes, a thumb warmer. That’s also a picture of your life — no, not that you’re a thumb warmer! — the sense that the little things add up.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Yes, they do add up, that’s for sure. Which is a good thing, really, because I’m a bit late to be tackling any mega-projects, even if I had the capability.

  3. Marilyn Smith says:

    Lovely, Isabel! But I am curious to know how you managed to carry those knitting needles on the plane with you! Or perhaps it’s Scotland, and they know better!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marilyn – Beats me. I carried them onboard starting in Ottawa and Toronto. No questions or raised eyebrows anywhere. They’re circular needles, too, which means they could be used for a garotte. Not that I would ever have that thought. Not that I want security to ever have that thought, either.

  4. Not tackle mega projects? Goodness, Isabel, you are just the person to tackle something enormous! I recommend it. The world is much in need of changing and we have little enough time left. You might as well tackle something that you cannot finish but that brings you great satisfaction for having begun.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Well, after wandering downtown Glasgow for 2 days, I may start a campaign to remove litter. I have never seen such a dirty city.

      • barbara carlson says:

        A young friend just told me she and her partner do not plan to have kids so they have dedicated themselves to cleaning up their “neck of the woods and a park” and are weighing each bag — so far 20 lbs! (mostly plastic water bottles — one had pee in it). No needles so far. Yeah.

        Surprised to hear Glasgow is so littered. Writer David Sedaris said in a 2-miles stretch of woods next to a highway by his house (near Horsham, UK) he collected 60 garbage bags and has continued to pick up litter there when is not on tour — for six hours a day. (He has no kids.)

        What has happened in the UK to make people so disrespectful of nature? Need another DO NO LITTER campaign in schools like I sat through: it stuck. If I see someone litter, I call out to them, “Hey, you dropped something!” Shame often works. Mostly, in Ottawa, people do not litter.

        Saw Sedaris do a Reading and sign his new book Calypso at Chapters on Rideau on Sunday. Hilarious and heartening to see so many people still interested in reading. I’m a big fan.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Barbara – I look after a small community garden around the “community” mailboxes. The developer put it in and I guess the City is supposed to look after it, but they don’t. So I plant (& weed, sometimes) and pick up garbage in the spring. I almost never need to pick up again until the next spring. Litter begets litter, I think. I don’t know whether the litter problem is UK-wide. Aberdeen seemed pretty clean, and Edinburgh was much better than Glasgow. I can’t account for it. It just seems like piggish behaviour, but the folks I met were genuinely nice.

          • barbara carlson says:

            Another wonderful contribution you’ve made to your corner of the world. 😀

            I read somewhere that putting out a trash bin encourages litter?!?
            But certainly litter begets litter.

          • Isabel Gibson says:

            Barbara – 🙂 Well, there is an argument for expecting folks to take their stuff home to deal with it properly. And if a city provides bins, they do need to empty them on a timely basis. Overflowing bins are disgusting, and attract birds that then make the problem even worse.

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