Kathri is the hottest part of the summer season – and it started yesterday! Despite the sun reigning supreme, and the heat conquering all, I have been tempting fate by dealing in wool. It all started because two friends are having babies soon. One lives in London and the other in Kuwait, so fortunately, neither will have to face Kathri. And of course, that’s my excuse for a woolly kathri here!
Actually, to go back a little further, it all started a year and a half ago, when Aditi, my godchild, was born. I wanted to make her something special and settled on knitting booties for her! Knitting has never been a part of my south Indian life at all. Only mad dogs and godmom’s would even think of knitting in Kathri. Its hot for most of the year, and even when it isnt hot, woolies come out for a few weeks in December at most. So I have no fond memories of the click-clack of knitting needles or untangling large skeins of wool or seeing sleeves and sweaters magically emerge from a ball of thick thread. That changed a little bit when I moved upward in altitude – Uttaranchal, briefly, and then the Nilgiris. It was cold and rainy more than hot. Woolies were a vital part of life for about half the year. And so, getting back to the story, before Aditi was born, I learned to knit. Durga taught me patiently, and I was thrilled with Aditi’s pair of cute soft light blue booties. Blue is a favoured colour with her family, since certain members are die-hard Everton fans, and I also enjoyed breaking the stereotype by knitting blue socks for a little girl! However, since Durga kindly did all the hard bits for me, if you’d ask me to knit another pair of anythings, I would be pretty stuck. And it took Kathri and the hottest summer possible to remedy this! Thanks to various people scattered across the globe, I braved Kathri, delved into the world of knitting and produced two sets of babies things
The pen in the picture is to give you an idea of the scale of things. Or to show off some of the knitting parlance I’ve picked up, the Gauge! I learnt this from Tarsh, on the Wildlife Census at Gudalur last year. Of course, in that case, it was something completely different that we were trying to gauge the size of! For some people, tiger scat can be romantic too I guess.
All of this would have been impossible, but for a whole bunch of different people:
Durga, who taught me the basic knit and purl (which until then I thought was pearl, how was I to know?!). Aditi, who was my reason for learning in the first place. Gayathri (and her grandmom and grandfather) who bought me soft baby yellow wool from Bangalore (only 400g’s of it, and I think I’ll still be using it when Gayu has kids!). Sosamama who gave me her needles and other knitting paraphernalia (and made endless fun of me for knitting in summer – just looking at the wool made her feel all hot and bothered!). Three people whose patterns I used from the wonderful worldwide: Emma from Algerian Action, Katie from Cyberseams and Linda from Redheart. Learning to knit and to read knitting patterns is like learning a new language. Once you’ve got a hang of the lingo and jargon, it gets easy. And of course, practice makes perfect, so the more you use it, the better you get! However, a good teacher can always help – and I had an ”ah ha” moment watching tutorial for 2 by 2 ribbing by a gingerly4it.
And of course, the yet-to-be-born little squirming babies, still floating around in amniotic fluid who I hope to meet sometime sometime in the future. May the spirit of Kathri keep you toasty, warm and cosy in your cold climes!
Ps. I’ve been uploading the chronicles of my mother’s trip to Liberia – take a look!