There are two versions to most stories. Often both are true but they paint very different pictures.
Version One or The Pretty Internet Version
Last week, the girls and I decided it was time to finish our knitting needle project. It's a project I found in Kids Knitting, my favourite knitting book for kids. You just take some dowel, cut it to length, sharpen one end in a pencil sharpener and make some Fimo balls for the ends. Quick, easy, fun and, in the end, very useful. We sat around the table for a couple of hours making the Fimo balls while eating cookies and listening to Barenaked Ladies. After a few minutes in the oven and a quick encounter with the hot glue gun, voila. Some cute, functional knitting needles. And it didn't take the girls long to put them to good use.
Version Two or The Ugly Truth
Last week, the girls and I decided it was time to finish our knitting needle project. It's a project we started at least four years ago. I found it in Kids Knitting, my favourite knitting book for kids. When we first started the project, everything went pretty smoothly. We ran out to buy some dowel, cut it to length and ran it through the pencil sharpener. We found some clay, molded it into some fun shapes, painted them with some crazy colours and set off to finish the needles. This is where the story takes a sharp dive. The freshly sharpened dowel needed a quick sanding before finishing them with some Varathane and gluing them into the clay. Two of the three girls, still on the high of a fun new project, sanded theirs up in record time. The third wanted no part of it. Me, imagining the pretty internet version, knew that this wouldn't do. I decided to let this temporary setback in temperament subside and I waited until the following day. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and at the very mention of restarting the project, the scowl would return. First on her face and then on mine. Flash forward two years. I was standing in my new kitchen unpacking the boxes from our move and found the dish of clay balls that were intended for the knitting needles we never finished. I put them in the cupboard because the dish they were in matched the other dishes in the cupboard. For two years, I have been moving them back and forth while retrieving the other bowls from below. Each time, I would vow to finish the project. I would also remember the scowl and I would close the cupboard door. Over the last few weeks there has been a renewed interest in knitting and so the last time that I needed to move the bowl of clay out of the way, I moved it to the dining room table declaring that it was time to finish the four-year project. We tried to put the needles in the clay but it had dried out and didn't fit anymore so the clay balls I had dragged across the country, unpacked and held safe in a bowl that needed to be moved on an almost daily basis were thrown into the garbage in about a half-second flat. We set off to buy some Fimo instead. It was about this time that one of the girls, a different one from before, decided she didn't want any part of it after all. But I learned my lesson the first time. It's best just to have fun when the mood strikes and if there are any stragglers just let them be. Maybe they'll want to do it next time. It's not worth the torture on either side. And I just knew I didn't want to wait another four years for a few knitting needles. For a project that was supposed to be quick, easy and fun I was just hoping it would turn out to be useful. We set aside an afternoon and spent it rolling out the Fimo while eating cookies and listening to Barenaked Ladies. There was a lot of laughter, a lot of singing, a lot of "Eeew, I don't like this song" and a lot of frustration. The frustration melted away and was replaced with pride after all the little balls came out of the oven. And after a quick encounter with the hot glue gun, voila. Some cute, functional knitting needles. It might have taken four hard years to get there but it didn't take long for the girls to put them to good use.
See. The same… only different.