Once upon a time there were three pigs–siblings, as it happened–who went forth from the security of their mother’s straw-filled pen to seek their fortunes.
The first little pig, Wilma, was elegant and neat as a new pin. She loved arranging things tidily in rows: shoes, books, other pigs. She loved pleasant journeys that began at A and ended at Z. She was always a tiny bit chilly, even when it was ninety-six degrees in July and she was standing on a beach in Florida. Wilma liked to dress in layers, and felt a draped silhouette was by far the most flattering to her figure. Wilma loved to spend lots of money on yarn.
Wilma learned to knit.
The second little pig, Bertram, was thoroughly charming–some, indeed, called him downright eccentric. Bertram was fond of journeys that might suddenly change direction. He liked to challenge the tyranny of the expected. He liked to make the ordinary into the extraordinary, odds and ends into works of art. He liked things that looked like other things. Bertram loved to spend lots of money on yarn.
Bertram learned to crochet.
The third little pig, Hamish, was dreamy-eyed but fastidious to a fault. He loved to argue fine points and debate picayune details. He loved journeys that were carefully planned, often spending more time in the planning than in the traveling. Hamish loved things with many parts, especially parts that moved; and he loved all the tools and oils and manuals and gewgaws necessary to make the parts run smoothly. Hamish loved to spend lots of money on yarn.
Hamish learned to weave.
When the three little pigs were no longer apprentices, nor yet journeymen, but indeed were accepted by all as masters of their crafts, they joined forces to purchase a handsome parcel of land and establish upon it their several workshops.
“I shall knit my workshop from the strongest, warmest wool. What a feast of pattern! What a delight of drape! I shall have stout walls of double knitting, a floor in crisp intarsia, a skylight of finest lace. I shall have steeks for my doors and windows, to open and close as I please with ranks of dainty one-row buttonholes. Mine shall be, dare I say it, the perfect workshop.”
“I shall crochet my workshop from pure, gleaming cotton. It shall stand proud and independent. It shall be strong, yet delicate. Practical, yet beautiful. I shall carpet it with granny squares and festoon it with doilies. And when it is seen from the end of the driveway, it will appear not as a humble shed but–lo!–a graceful swan. Or…a pineapple? Or perhaps…better still…the gown of a fancy lady. Yes. My word, what a proclamation of my art! Mine shall be, dare I say it, the perfect workshop.”
“I shall weave my workshop from,” and here he paused to leaf through the battered notebook that he carried in his satchel. “Ah, yes,” he continued, having found the page, “from a strong warp of cotton crossed with a primary weft of 10/2 silk/wool blend to give me warmth and drape, but then–take a look at this swatch from the round robin workshop I took last weekend–I was thinking of maybe working in a supplemental weft about every six inches so really, what we’ve got going on is a kind of a summer-and-winter thing as the basis, but then–”
And here the narrator fell asleep for an hour or so, but as he awoke Hamish was saying,
“Mine shall be, dare I say it, the perfect workshop.”
So the three little pigs martialed their yarns and built their shops, each to his or her own grand design. The folk of counties all around agreed that no finer sight had yet been seen than these very different, but equally cheerful, workshops rising from green lawn at the end of the drive.
All was well until word of the happy enclosure reached the furry ears of a wolf, miles away, whose own den was foul and unfashionable. He might have made it lovely, had he chosen; but this wolf had no industry of his own. He lived to prey upon others.
This shameless wolf lifted one ear to the breeze, and detected the faintest clank, clank, clank.
“Aha!” he thought. “Those are the shafts of a loom!” And he ran eagerly toward the distant sound.
After some time, he paused and lifted his ear again. “Click, click, click,” said the breeze.
“Knitting needles!” muttered the wolf. “This is certainly the right direction!”
Still later, he paused and listened. “Sheewsh, sheewsh, sheewsh,” said the breeze.
“The unmistakable sound of crochet!” muttered the wolf, whose hearing was indeed remarkable.
With just another bound or two, the wolf crested the final hill and there before him, pristine in the noonday sun, stood the yarn-clad workshops of Wilma, Bertram, and Hamish.
The wolf licked his lips. And spread his claws.
End of Part One
(Part Two will appear in one month.)
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