Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Of Knitting and Language

Storytime.  Yesterday I was waiting at the skating rink.  I look forward to the kids' ice time because it means knitting time for me.  I was knitting away, lost in thought, oblivious to people coming and going around me.  An elderly man startled me and brought me back to the skating rink.  "India, India," he said to me and made a knitting motion with his hands.

I started to say something only to be cut off with the phrase, "No English."  For a brief moment I was transported back to the days when I worked for a deaf human services organization where the primary form of communication was American Sign Language.  

The man and I proceeded to communicate back and forth with hand gestures.  He had a broad smile and his eyes twinkled as he made the knitting motion again.  He indicated long sleeves and a full body covering.  A sweater.  Ah, knitters in India must make sweaters.  I showed him what I was working on, and he gave me the thumbs up. He wrapped up our exchange with another round of "India, India" and a final knitting motion.  With that, he walked off.  Knitting can bridge even a language barrier.

As an aside, this interaction made me very curious about knitting in India, so I started to poke around.  If you're interested in more information, I came across this article about a vibrant knitting community in the Himalayas.

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