ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 3, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ng_moonmoth and [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "zone" square in my 4-1-18 card for the Spring Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to An Army of One series.


"Knitting at the Ready"


Astin has the package
that Shuttlecock ordered, and
it's big but not unbearably heavy
so xe throws it over a shoulder
and goes in search of her.

She has ordered five skeins
of every color of yarn carried
by a certain small supplier, which
added up to a substantial bale.

Astin finds Shuttlecock
in the Agora Park, seated in
a lawn chair on the grass with
her lap full of knitting.

With her are Palmer and
Tink 001, also knitting,
along with a young person
whom Astin does not know.

"I have your order ready,
Astin says as xe takes off
the bale and sets it down.

"Ooo!" Shuttlecock says,
diving into the bale with
both hands. "I've been
looking forward to this!"

She pulls out skein after skein
and holds them up against
the variegated yarn that
some people in the Lacuna
make from recycled lint.

"See, I figured that if we
mix this with our yarn, it'll
make stronger clothes,"
Shuttlecock explains.

This is probably true.

Tink 001 sorts out
the black, white, and gray
then after a moment
adds a deep blue --
starship colors.

Palmer is piling up
pastels, from a pale pink
to a barely-there yellow.

"I like these," she says.
"I'm knitting massage pillows,
and I think the soft colors
will help people relax."

"I've heard of color theory,"
Astin says. "Some people are
really into that. You can find
articles and books about it that
explain how colors influence mood."

"Thanks," Palmer says. "I may
look it up for inspiration later."

"Leor, come here and look at the yarn,"
Shuttlecock invites. "I ordered this assortment
before you arrived, but it has all the colors
that this company makes. Do you think
any of these would work for your tallit?"

The teen's hand roves over the yarn,
choosing one skein and then another.

Astin realizes that Leor is making
a rainbow as the skeins line up,
along with the last of the white.

"You don't mind?" Leor asks,
voice soft and hesitant.

"I really don't mind,"
Shuttlecock says firmly.
"You moved to the Lacuna
for other-gendered paperwork
and a B'nai Mitzvah. We want
to make that happen for you."

"You're new to the Lacuna?"
says Astin. "Welcome home, then.
I hope you like it here. This is
kind of a neutral zone for people
who are different and don't feel
comfortable in the Galactic Arms."

"I'm agender," Leor says softly.
"I didn't want a Bar Mitzvah or
a Bat Mitzvah, and that's all
our old rabbi would do. Then
my family moved here so I could
get other-gendered papers, and
I'm hoping for a B'nai Mitzvah."

"Then I wish you luck with it,"
Astin says. "I'm a trader, so let me
know if you need more supplies.
It may take a while, but I will do
my best to get whatever you need."

"Thank you," Leor says. "I hope
it works out, but ... everything is hard."

"Magic often is," Shuttlecock says.
"You're changing from child to adult,
and that's one kind of magic. Then there's
the religious thing, which is another kind.
I've always thought of knitting as magic,
because you start with a handful of string
and wind up with clothes or pillows or
whatever. You can put your intent into it."

"Knitting is special to us in the Lacuna
because it's something we can do for
ourselves," Palmer adds. "That's why
I got involved after Shuttlecock started it.
I wanted to get a foothold in the future,
instead of staying beholden to the past."

"A lot of us have come here for
that reason," Astin said with a smile.
"If knitting helps, then I'm all for it."

"Can I learn how?" Leor says shyly.
"I've been watching, but I don't know
how you make string into scarves."

So Shuttlecock brings out
a spare pair of knitting needles
made from long metal rods, and
explains how the process works.

Curious, Astin picks up another set
and a skein of the mauve yarn.

"Now, let's all take a deep breath
and forge our way into the future,"
Shuttlecock says, "knitting at the ready."

* * *

Notes:

Astin -- an other-gendered trader, neurotypical, friends with Weavercreep and Operetta. Astin likes clothes of ambiguous colors, such as honey and mauve, with shapes that are easy to customize. Similarly, practical yet attractive furniture of androgynous style is preferred, blending straight and curved lines. Introduced in "Uncounted Colors of the Stars." Astin uses the "xe" set of pronouns: xe is, xyr book, with xyr, of xyrs, and xyrself.

Palmer -- a neurovariant woman who does massage. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Shuttlecock and Astin. She has freckles on her nose. Introduced in "What the Scissors Have Cut Asunder."

Shuttlecock -- a neurovariant woman who makes clothes at a shop called Threads. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Palmer. Introduced in "Umbilical Lines."

Tink 001 -- a neurovariant, other-gendered person who identifies with AYES despite being human. It is a starship mechanic. Introduced in "Mosaic Identities."

Leor -- a Jewish teen who moves to the Lacuna with their family for the sake of gaining other-gendered paperwork. Leor is agender, asexual, and aromantic. They want a B'nai Mitzvah, but their rabbi only offered Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah as options. So they're hoping for something better here. Introduced in "Knitting at the Ready."

* * *

1. Leor. Leor means “My light” in Hebrew, which means it’s an especially appropriate name to give your bundle of joy if they’re born around Hanukkah, as it’s known as the “Festival of Lights.”
https://www.kveller.com/8-hebrew-names-that-are-gender-neutral/

* * *
"Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready."
-- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Sargasso Base has an Agora Park.

See Shuttlecock's yarn assortment.

Color theory explains how they can influence mood through such things as clothes and home decorating.
Pastels are gentle and soothing, a good choice for bodywork rooms. The most popular colors in the tech field are blue, black, white, and red; gray is a related neutral between black and white that also appears fairly often.

Knitting is an art of turning string into cloth. You can learn how to knit with text instructions or a video tutorial. This site offers many videos on basic knitting skills. Browse some easy stitch patterns and free project patterns for beginners.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-04-09 04:54 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
:)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-04-09 06:16 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*flappyhands* Knitty magicks! <3

(I don't grok, but I have enjoyed the results, and am happy to see people pick it up... )

Thank you!

Date: 2018-04-09 06:00 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
The Elizabeth Zimmerman quote choked me up-- I recognized it in the poem, without the notes.

I had an utterly FRUSTRATING time trying to teach my hands to knit, but I finally managed after something like a decade of picking it up, trying for months, and abandoning the idea to save my (remaining) sanity.

Yet now, sidelined with yet another Weird Thing this body is doing, I miss it like /water/.

Crochet is entirely different, and soothes different parts of my soul.

Thanks for letting me 'sit in' with knitters for awhile, even if it's only in my head.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-04-11 02:19 am (UTC)
mama_kestrel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mama_kestrel
This makes me quietly happy.

Looks like it's the other way round

Date: 2018-04-11 11:09 pm (UTC)
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
From: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth
Here I was thinking Astin was going to have been at it longer than Palmer, and might be motivated to make something for her. I wonder if/when Palmer's conception of her relationship with Astin might include making something for Astin now.

I don't know how fast Astin is going to pick knitting up, but I'm pretty sure I know what xe's going to make. There's a technique called dimensional knitting, that creates very interesting folded fabrics, that I'm itching to apply to a tunic sometime soon.

Re: Looks like it's the other way round

Date: 2018-04-14 04:40 pm (UTC)
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
From: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth
>> Probably so. Palmer knows that Astin likes maybe-colored cloth, and I think xe has picked up heather things too. There are muted varigated yarns ... <<

That's good. I've been worrying about the "customer falls in love with touch-based professional" trope ever since I broached the idea. Showing that Astin is sorting out xyr feelings about touch from xyr feelings about Palmer helps. As does Astin showing xyr interest by doing nice things for her, not being too pushy, and finding out what she likes. If Palmer is picking that up enough to feel like reciprocating, that's promising for the relationship.

>> Holler if any of those seem like Astin's style to you. I can save the images. <<

The ones I'm drawn to are the Hayfield Spirit, Squish Like Grape, and Essence of Autumn "October". But that's just me. As is not especially favoring the ones that have a significant amount of outright gray.

>> Those ships don't need a big crew to run. <<

Nothing's been said about any crew in Astin's ship, and I get the impression that xe is the sort of captain who regularly engages with xyr crew. Now, Lacuna runs are likely to bias toward misfits and loners (Astin's likely even more so, as a misfit and loner xyrself), which is why we might not be seeing much of them. Plus, bots and other AIs are probably taking care of much of what is done by people these days. Transoceanic container freighters are running with crews in the twenties these days, so it won't take much learning/automation to cut that further to a pretty small number.

So I'm envisioning something around two or three berths Astin will want filled on a regular basis. One is going to be bot wrangler/repair. Another is "able spacer" -- the kind of crewmember who can be an extra body when something requires more than two hands to deal with. Beyond that, I don't know. Probably one or more cargo wranglers when xe's carrying something that requires tending, such as live cargo.

>> I expect xe will have a decent grasp on basic knitting after a few days, and be ready for more interesting patterns in a few weeks. Wait a few months for complicated stuff. <<

Sounds a lot like my progress. As long as one has patience, and the inclination to follow instructions, even complicated stuff is doable.

>> Feel free to photograph examples if you want to use them as references in poetry. <<

I'll keep an eye out for that.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-07-15 10:55 am (UTC)
callibr8: icon courtesy of Wyld_Dandelyon (Default)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
SQUEEEEE!!!!

Just now saw this. LOVE IT!! Am sending the link to a new acquaintance who's struggling with similar issues. Hope they will decide to read it; I think they might feel *very* at home in the Lacuna.

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