The love issue

February 2018 was when Cyclone Hartmut dubbed the Beast from the East, brought England and Wales to a virtual halt with unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall.

In spite of the sub-zero weather and slippery pavements, this knitter had other things on her mind. The second Wednesday of that February was the 14th meaning that our monthly knit night was going to collide with Valentine’s Day.

‘How about a knitters’ speed dating night?’ suggested a helpful knit-night regular that I was lamenting about the situation with. ‘It could be great!’.

Could it? Really? I mean how many knitters do you know who go out with knitters? How many couples are there where both are serious about knitting? Now before you answer that, I know there are one or two. And at least one couple have even been known to come together to the knit night, but let’s be honest, its rare. On the whole, most knitters I know are in relationships with non-knitters who love their knitter partners, and their knitwear too, but are happy to leave the knitting to the other party.

“OK, so if knitters don’t go out with knitters, what about a joint thing with a pottery group, or that place where everyone’s learning how to bake sourdough? We could explore the knitter-baker, knitter-potter nexus – it could be quite sexy?’

And there’s the rub. The more I thought about it the more it felt like that was the real problem: not that knitters don’t go out with knitters, but that whoever they go out with or fall in love with, or glance at in the hope that eye contact will be returned, they’re not doing it at the knit night. There was plenty of tension (too little, too much, and just the right amount) to talk about, just not the sexual kind. Love is something else we weren’t short of. It just wasn’t the romantic, neurotic anxiety-ridden, does she? or doesn’t he? type.

And that’s when it struck me that there were very few other grown-up evening activities that you could say that about: book clubs, yoga, amatuer dramatics, choir practice, French conversation. Obviously they’re not all about sex, but I’d wager that there’s a good chance that they’re at least a little bit about it (or dreaming of it) for some of the participants.  In a world rich with messages that tell us we should be having better and more beautiful and more romantic and just more sex, I began to think that what we needed on our Valentine’s knit night was not a new way to make it sexy, but to keep it as it always was – complete with as much wool, wine, cake, and love as you could possibly squeeze into a little wool shop.

So how did it end up? Well thanks to the Beast from the East outside and the abundance of warm-hearted knitters inside, we had the steamiest windows on Lower Clapton Road and possibly the busiest knit night of the year.

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