Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.
Yarns for a Summer Evening
Little Maybelline and I were sitting on the porch swing as the dusk drew in like gently felted wool. I was knitting something; I can’t remember what. Perhaps it was a new penwiper for old Mrs. Pennyfeather across the way; she had lost hers that year in the spring gale and mourned it ostentatiously.
Maybelline drained the last of her lemonade and said petulantly, “Sing to me, Uncle Franklin.”
It was a peculiar request, as I had never sung to her before; and in fact I am well known to have the worst voice in three counties. I declined, politely as I could. But Maybelline has never been one to let go of an idea without a fight.
“Sing to me,” she insisted, the bow in her hair shaking in a threatening fashion. I recalled the grim fate of a rather introverted doll of hers, by the name of Ophelia, who had obstinately refused Maybelline’s repeated summons to a tea party. The heliotrope in that corner of the garden has yet to fully recover.
Therefore I began to sing.
* * * *
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To fetch some merino in blue.
But when she got there
The cupboard was bare
And so Mother Hubbard screamed,
“How many times do I have to
Tell you all to stay out of my stash?”
Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pattern,
And called for his yarn,
And called for his hook, size E.
Three little kittens,
They lost their mittens,
And they began to cry.
And all I could think was
What possessed me to knit clothes
For the cats?
Should I seek professional help?¬
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of yarn,
And another pocket full of yarn.
Has anybody seen my knitting bag?
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your sweater grow?
I asked you please to shut your mouth
’Til I get to the end of this row.
There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so much yarn,
She had to store most of it in the second shoe.
Good thing shoes come in pairs
Hey, raddle heddle,
The cat and the treadle,
The cow jumped over the loom.
The little dog said
I told you we didn’t have
Space in the living room
For that thing.
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, knitter man,
Knit me a sweater as fast as you can.
Cabled and bobbled, like that one in the store,
I will totally pay you fifty bucks
Plus the cost of the yarn.
Baa, baa black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for $7.50 per skein, and
The other two are on sale
At twenty percent off
Because the colors are being discontinued
So it seems this is your lucky day.
Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse has knit one sock.
The other one
Will never be done.
Hickory, dickory, @#!$*.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty was knitting a shawl.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Asked him so many questions about it
That he lost his place in the chart
Messed up sixteen long rows
And had to rip out and
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.
She made the lamb into a shrug,
And wore it to the fair.
The color looked divine on her,
But the neckline was wonky.
To market, to market
To buy a fat hen.
Home again, home again,
With enough yarn for
And ten pairs of socks.
And I forgot
Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book (Soho Publishing, 2016) and It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. His publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Ply Magazine, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and Knitty.com.
He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, Stitches Events, Squam Arts Workshops, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned. Visit him at www.franklinhabit.com
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