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A cautionary tale

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Sheffield) there lived a knitter (me) and her other half (OH). Being further north than we are now we could afford to rent a bigger flat than we can here. It had two bedrooms, a whole kitchen, a bathroom with a bath (can you believe it?) and a vast expanse of cream carpeted living room.

Our story begins the morning after my birthday. OH was in the shower and I was sat on the sofa in pyjamas and dressing gown with a big cup of tea, happily reading my birthday present from my parents: Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. This is a hefty tome of a cookery book by one of the best cookery writers around, covering everything from how to bone a chicken to baking bread. Think of it like a volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and you get an idea of the size and weight.

All that reading about food was making me hungry and I put the book down to do some knitting. I was attempting to knit a jumper from a ‘Learn to knit’ book – it was a unisex stocking stitch raglan jumper made from 4 ply cotton on 3mm needles. This was before I started knitting with circular needles and I had some long, metal, pointy, 3mm needles. Just before I picked up the needles I took a quick peek into my mug and realised I’d run out of tea. Knitting without tea is not something I ever do and was not something I was about to start doing then. I got up to go make us some more tea, tripped over Mary Berry and landed on – have you guessed it? – my knitting.

My left foot landed on the end of one of the needles and then the somehow the end wasn’t under my foot but in my foot. It went in between my big toe and my next toe along (index toe?), just under the skin, about 2 inches deep. Now, I wear spectacles but I wasn’t wearing them at that moment. Without them I can’t see things as thin as that knitting needle when they’re as far away as my foot. I just felt pain.

I start screaming, OH hops out the shower to see what’s going on (also without his spectacles, also unable to see anything) and manages to understand that I have a needle lodged in my foot. There’s blood dripping and I’m actually screaming that we can’t get any blood on the amazing cream carpet, but he ignores me and pulls it out. The needle was bent in a right angle so it must have gone in with some force. OH can’t drive but we decide having a large stick of metal in your foot probably requires a visit to the hospital and since it was my left foot and I drive an automatic I could actually drive myself. OH gets dressed and then spends 20 farcical minutes trying to help me get dressed while I hop about crying and worrying that my hair is all over the place.

By the time we have done all this the bleeding has stopped and though very swollen my foot doesn’t actually look too bad. I can still wiggle my toes and I have stopped crying. We decide not to go to the hospital after all. OH helps me hobble back into the living room and plonks me on the sofa. He brings me a cup of tea. I sit there. I look at the tea. I look at the TV. I look at my foot. I look at my mangled knitting now safely out of harm’s way on the table. I realise that I can’t walk on my foot or go anywhere or do anything other than sit on the sofa with a cup of tea. Normally, this would be great, normally I could knit away for a whole weekend and be happy. But one of my long, pointy, metal, 3mm needles is bent and I am unable to knit.

OH, valiant man that he is, takes the bent needle, washes the blood off it and tries to straighten it with some pliers. It doesn’t work and only scrapes off the paint. I was most unhappy that this hadn’t solved my no needle issue and OH, realising he was stuck with me in the living room being this grumpy all weekend unless something was done, headed down the road to our local knitting shop and bought me some new needles.

I spent the whole weekend knitting and finished a section of my jumper. It turned out once I’d done all the sections that none of them were the same size and even when I re-knitted them they still came out different sizes. In the end I kept it hidden for 4 years and then finally gave it away to another knitter on the understanding they could do whatever they wanted with it as long as they didn’t show it to me.

My foot was fine and still is, though when I swim front crawl the toes nearest to where the needle went in move of their own accord. I can live with that.

The End.

Oh, no, wait, I’ve forgotten my moral. And the moral of the story is… don’t leave your knitting lying on the floor, instead put it away in a bag and then you won’t tread on it by mistake. Or maybe it’s don’t knit anything involving thin cotton yarn when you’re a beginner knitter? Or perhaps make sure you live with someone who’s willing to source needles for you if you can’t knit and can’t get to a yarn shop? Nope, I know what it is – don’t live somewhere with cream carpet.

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