Over the next two days, I was bleary eyed - almost cross-eyed - with the effort of trying to create the 10 inch by 10 inch patch. The various problems were as follows -
* I was out of touch with knitting and had no rhythm whatsoever.
* The wool and knitting needles, as mentioned before, were just too thin. It was like working with needle and thread. Almost.
* Pickle and Papad kept unravelling it while Peanut kept asking when it was going to be ready - every 5 minutes.
* I misjudged everything while making the first row -and what I thought was a 10 inch row eventually turned out to be almost two feet long. Therefore, every subsequent row took as long. Longer, as I grew more bleary eyed and cranky.
* Let's be frank. I suck at knitting.
I was doing very intricate and beautiful work for about the first four rows. Then a feeling of despair set in as I realized this was taking way too long and I wouldn't be able to finish it, and all the other interruptions started to set in. The next four rows therefore were terribly patchy - I was distracted and started to drop stitches and then try and recover, leaving some gaping holes in the middle. Then, when I took a close look at the work so far, I felt really guilty about the patchy work and so the last four rows I did were also intricate and beautiful. All in all, I put in about six hours on the patch over two days, and that's all I could do - twelve rows.
I told myself - and Vijay and Peanut - that maybe it didn't really HAVE to be a square patch and a rectangular one would do just as well. I privately imagined that the teachers would be quite horrified but perhaps the community blanket could have my little pathetic patch sewn on in one corner - almost like a label or something on which they could say 'With love from Nursery E' or something sweet like that. I convinced myself that this would be fine and that it was really ALMOST square anyway. I closed the stitches. And sat back. In horror.
I had made a patch that was not just two feet wide, but also a mere 4 inches in height. I had thought once I remove the knitting needles I would be able to stretch the patch somehow to make it look square, but there is a slight difference between 10 inches by 10 inches and 24 inches by 4 inches. To top it all, it wasn't even consistently pretty. It had that four rows right in the middle which were sure to allow cold air in during harsh winters for the poor person who got to eventually use it. It was not good. It was just...weird.
I was depressed and guilty and Vijay swayed between mocking and sympathetic. But Peanut was quite happy about the whole thing - she cheerfully snatched the finished product from me and took it to school. I asked her anxiously later what her teacher had said and she said -
''She said it's ooookayyyy'.
From the tone I could gather - Peanut is a very good mimic - that her class teacher had been disgusted but recognized that since it was not Peanut's fault but her errant mother's, some amount of damage control was necessary and thus, she had basically used her most comforting and sympathetic tone while talking to my child. Fair enough.
My children can probably use all the comfort and sympathy they get.
In my defense, I must conclude by saying that all of this will probably teach them to be strong and self-reliant individuals in the future.
P.S - also, nothing much has changed since my childhood. I STILL HATE SCHOOL.