"You're knitting a hat," Nicholas says pointedly, eyeing the stitches on my needles with the practiced eye of a knitter's husband.
"Why, yes, I am knitting a hat," I reply, as innocently as possible. I continue knitting, humming a tuneless tune just to show how innocent this little knitting project really is.
"I thought you were knitting a sweater–you know, that purple one. Is it done? Can I see?"
"Nope." More humming. "It's not finished yet. One more sleeve, then I have to weave in the ends." I continue knitting on the hat, careful not to look him in the eye. (I've heard people can see guilt written all over you if you look them in the eye.)
"So why did you start a hat? Shouldn't you be working?"
"I am working. This is working. This hat, this is work. It's the Blume Hat, from Knitscene, and I'm writing about it on my Interweave blog. It's one of the patterns my readers suggested last week, actually. So, I am working." Still avoiding his eyes. But now I'm starting to really feel the guilt, and I find I'm having to avoid the dog's eyes, too. Everyone's a critic.
"Where did you get that yarn? I don't remember seeing it before."
Now, I'm getting defensive. I know better than to show any signs of weakness, however. Act as though it's all No Big Thang, that's the way to handle these sorts of conversations.
"Oh," I say after a moment, pretending I had to concentrate on some complicated stitch before I could answer him (I'm working 1×1 ribbing right now, oh, yes, quite complicated), "…this? I've had it for months now. It's Kim's yarn, you know, Indigodragonfly, the dyer up in Haliburton? Yep. I blogged about it last spring. Remember that photo of the gargoyle holding the merino/cashmere? That was this skein." I go back to the humming, trying to look for all the world as though I am working intently on a valuable work project that I didn't just go out and buy an armload of yarn for.
"More hand dyed yarn." He is starting to sound resigned, beaten down. Time to go for his weak spot.
"You know how I love to support the indies. And she's local! She sells her yarn through the local yarn shops in town, so it's good all around. Local dyer, local yarn shop, community support, the whole thing." I sneak a rabbit-fast glance at his face, to see if he's taking the bait. Nicholas is passionate about supporting local businesses.
"Uh… Honey, Toronto's where the yarn shops are, and it's an hour away from here." He's a professor. He's very logical. I pretend not to have heard.
"Are you going to finish the purple top?" Sometimes being a knitter's husband tries a guy's patience a bit, especially if one is a guy who is logical and all smart and stuff.
"Of course I'm going to finish it! I'm nearly done. It'll be finished any day now. I'm just taking a little break, that's all. It's like…like cleansing your palette during a really good meal. You eat something with a different flavour to refresh your tastebuds for more of the super-delicious stuff." He's a cook. Food analogies, score!
I look up, confident now that I have won, to see that he is shaking his head, as though I am one of his students who has missed the point of the course entirely.
"Silly you," says he. "You're never going to change, are you? You're always, always going to be working on a zillion projects at once, so that they all take forever to finish. You could have had six purple tops by now, if you'd just focus a bit more."
"But then I wouldn't have this hat, dear." I am triumphant.
He's in the kitchen by now, abandoning this fruitless discussion. From the other room, I hear a light-hearted roar: "ARRrrrrrrrrrrrgggghhhhh! You are hopeless, woman! Cute, but hopeless."
Smiling, I go back to knitting my hat.
Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily every Thursday. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, you can follow her: sandiwiseheart.