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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Knitting Breaks the Language Barrier...

tuscany shawl in indigo moon fingering weight- Aubergine- pattern from We were in our "fence free" yard. I was knitting away, DH was doing the "commentary" for my youngests' individual soccer tournament. (Interestingly enough, he always wins when he plays with invisible opponents- however it's usually a close game ... he's all about the sports drama. ) Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed 3 varied sized potential soccer players, hovering at the invisible line that divides our yards.

"Hey- go ask if they want to play" I called to the soccer meister. 3 "real" players joined him almost immediately. My youngest introduced himself- and they returned in kind. However- my little guy kept asking their names. They were not names he was familiar with. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders and just went with it. An epic game of "make up the rules as you go" soccer soon unfolded. A chair and a soccer net were the goals. Dandelion clumps marked the sidelines. Much cheering and laughing rang out. soccer game

After awhile, the soccer game dissolved, and all of the kiddos were watching me knit. I have a few ideas why watching my knitting was more interesting than the playscape or soccer net. Magic, rhythm and color are kid magnets for sure! But, even I, was surprised by what happened next. "I always wanted to learn to do that! Can you teach me?" Said the doe-eyed female soccer player who had held her own playing against 2 boys.

"Sure can" I went inside to search out needles and yarn that would work for a quick project. In a few minutes, she had caught the basic stitch. She quickly declared she'd "Teach everyone at school." Then she started planning her next projects..."How long will it take to finish? I want to finish this today!" Her excitement was contagious, and soon her older brother wanted in on the fun.

I came back from inside with another set of yarn and needles. He was quick to catch on as well. We all chatted and knit until their mom's voice called from next door. "Time to go!" They were next door visiting Grandma. I told them they could keep the knit supplies, and to keep practicing. It was getting chilly and nearly dark- so my youngets and I went int too.

After a few minutes- I heard happy chatter out back. The staccato of foreign language filled the yard. I went out to find my neighbor- (who speaks little english- I'd assumed) Happily helping her grandkids knit away. The gentleman soccer player was telling Grandma she wasn't do it the way I'd showed him. I went over- and found that yes- actually she was. I learned to knit "middle eastern... eastern uncrossed" or "combination or continental" style. My lovely, Lebanese neighbor knit the same way. Funny- continents-religion and language barriers instantly seemed to melt away.

We've always done the "suburban smile" greeting and said "Hi". However, that has been the extent of our conversation. (If that even counts as conversation) But this day- I heard about a sweater knit for her husband and her enjoyment of knitting with her grandkids. I met her daughter-in law- and found myself sounding like an older female version of my youngest, as I asked and repeated her name several times, before I finally got it right. In the 7 years or so that we've been neighbors, this was the most conversation we've had.

I'm excited about the potential knit- pal I've found. And about the kiddos who'll be coming back to visit, knit and play soccer with my little guy. This week- instead of knitting in my house- or knitting in the backyard- I think I'll move to the porch and see if anyone want to join me;) Amazing, what finding a common interest can do for your neighborhood;)

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