I am entering the Ballroom feeling rather sheepish today. Apparently, someone forgot it was her turn to host Saturday Salon, and apparently that someone was… er… me. I just realized it, just now. Yeah.
Thank you, disapproving lamb. Your wool will go to good use today.
There is nothing to be done but apologize to you all and to Lady B, and I’ve come early today to do just that, and…
“But you aren’t Lady B.”
Poised before me is an straight-spined, regal lady of middle age, dressed in a gown of the finest watered silk. I know her at once from her elegant sweep of silver hair and the thick rope of rubies draped around her pale neck.
But I should know her anywhere. I created her, after all. She’s the Duchess of Halford. Or the Dowager Duchess, now that Any Duchess Will Do has come out.
“Your Grace.” I make my best attempt at a curtsy.
She inclines her head a quarter-inch. “Miss Dare.”
“Are you here to pay a call on Lady B?”
“Heliotrope is an old friend, as you know.”
I do know. And I also notice that the duchess is attempting to hide a strange, lumpy satchel behind her back. I spy the glint of a slender, silver needle protruding from the top.
“How is the knitting coming along?” I ask.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
Not a flicker of emotion passes her face. Oh, she’s good.
“Of course you know what I mean. You can’t keep secrets from me. I made up all your secrets. I’m the one who made you a secret, compulsive knitter.”
A delicate scowl. “Knitting is common. Duchesses do not knit.”
“Duchesses don’t knit very well, you mean.” I dart forward and pluck something fuzzy and shapeless from her bag. “Oh, look. It’s an adorable pink-and-yellow whatsit.”
At last, she gives up the pretense, putting one hand to her aristocratic brow. “It’s appalling. Everything I make is appalling.”
“No, no. I think you’re improving. By the time actual grandchildren make their appearance, you just might have something usable.” I twist the pink-and-yellow fluff this way and that. “Is it meant to be a plaything in the shape of a cuttlefish?”
“It’s a cap,” she moans.
“Oh. Of course! Take heart, your grace. I made you a bad knitter because I am a bad knitter. I don’t even have the patience to attempt caps or cuttlefish. I just make shockingly bad scarves. See, look.”
“These are the last two scarves–or mufflers–I made for my own children. See how one is much too thick, and the other is much too thin, and neither one is particularly even? And they’re not properly finished at the ends?”
‘They are dreadful,” the duchess agrees.
“Yes. And to top it off, we live in Southern California, where they might actually need a scarf one week out of the year. If that. I am a poor knitter. But I made these with love, and my children love them, and that is what matters. Your grandchild will adore his cuttlefish cap one day, too.”
Are there things you do or make just for the love of it, even though you’re not very good? Any crafting (or baking/sewing/artistic) disasters in your past to make the duchess feel less alone? Feel free to post photos.
Side note? I’m now obsessed with the idea of knitting a cuttlefish cap.