Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 3!
We’re on day 3 of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. All this week, bloggers are writing posts with given topics. I’ll be doing a week-long story, using the topics to shape the story. Did you miss the posts from Monday and Tuesday? If so, go back and read the beginning of the story. Today’s challenge is to blog about someone in the fiber crafts who truly inspires you. We pick up Agent K’s adventure as she returns to Agency Headquarters with the mysterious code on the ball bands…
Agent K sat watching the Agency’s top code breaking team puzzle over the strange symbols on the ball band she had been given by the mysterious color theory teacher. They had been at it for hours now, and no one appeared to be any closer to the solution then they had been when Agent K had arrived. Right now they were arguing over whether the symbols might be Sumerian or Comic Sans. Okay, maybe they weren’t such a crack team of code breakers after all.
Agent K got up from the metal stool she had been sitting on with a groan and a stretch. A race up a mountain and back down again had left her muscles sore and tight, a condition which hadn’t been improved by sitting on a cold metal stool. She wandered around the code breakers’ room, randomly picking up and putting down books, drawings, and inscribed amulets. (The amulets had turned out to be a gift from a code breaker’s mother and had no significance whatsoever, despite days of code breaking attention.)
As she ran her fingers along the bookshelf, she came across a section of Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries. She’d always loved flipping through these, and a little Barbara might make the time pass more quickly while she was waiting for the code breakers.
She flipped slowly through the first treasury, with the stitch patterns passing under her gaze like old friends. She remembered when she had first had the epiphany. Knitting patterns were really just blank canvases on which could be painted just about anything the artist wanted. Designers weren’t really gods and goddesses from on high, they were just humans who picked a silhouette and picked a picture to draw on that silhouette. Barbara Walker had taught her that there really were infinite possibilities, and you could do almost anything you could dream. All you needed was a swatch to determine how the stitch pattern affected gauge.
Agent K set the first treasury back on the shelf and picked up the second. More stitch patterns, when it seemed that there couldn’t possibly be any other way to combine knits and purls.
Then she picked up the third treasury: Charted Knitting Designs. This was her favorite. This was the first of the treasuries to chart out the stitch patterns. Agent K was a very visual person and the charts made much more sense than the lines of knitting code that Barbara had presented in previous volumes. Feeling like she was visiting an old friend, she paged slowly through the book.
She stopped. She flipped back to the front of the book. She blinked. She shut the book, then opened it again.
She snatched up the ball bands and held them next to the book. She could have smacked her forehead, and thought very seriously about cracking the heads of the code breakers together. The symbols weren’t ancient Sumerian or Comic Sans.
They were knitting symbols.
Of course, many of the symbols in Barbara Walker’s books were hand-drawn, not like the slick computer-generated and standardized symbols that most modern knitters were familiar with. The Agency had long-ago standardized symbols for the codes used in official documents and communications, but these standard symbols were based on the earlier hand-drawn symbols used by an earlier generation.
Using the cable crossing reference guide and the list of symbols in the treasury, Agent K had the code broken in no time. It was an old code, one that had not been used in nearly forty years. Once she realized what the key was, it was easy to translate the symbols into letters and words.
On second thought, WINTER COLD WOOL WARM IGLOO HELP was perhaps not quite so helpful. At least she had translated it into English, which was more than could be said for the bozos in the code breaking department.
Agent K and the code breakers looked at the semi-sentence in dismay. What was she going to do with this? Everyone knew that winter was cold, and that wool was warm. And obviously someone needed help. But igloo? What did it mean?
“Time for a coffee break!” said one of the code breakers. Agent K sighed in exasperation. They had been taking coffee breaks all afternoon, and then taking bathroom breaks. It was no wonder that they hadn’t gotten anywhere. When she had confronted one of them with the time they were wasting in coffee and bathroom breaks, he had said “But I do my best thinking in the bathroom!” Trying to get THAT picture out of her head, she concentrated on the igloo problem instead.
“What if IGLOO is a code name of some sort?” she said to the coffee-sipping code breakers, who blinked stupidly back at her. “Does it mean a location, maybe?”
“You could check the archives,” one of the said doubtfully. “There’s all these papers and stuff downstairs next to the Strategic Wool Reserve. I don’t think anyone goes down there anymore. There aren’t any computers down there.”
“Right,” said Agent K, snapping shut Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs in decision. “I’m off to the basement. Enjoy your coffee.”
The code breaking team sighed a breath of relief as she left the room, and they turned back to their Sudoku games.
To be continued…