Edit: This article has been re-titled ‘Crochet by any other name’ and published in Passionate Hookers, by Brascoe Publishing.

Moving half-way across the world can be daunting. People look different. They act differently. And they use words in unfamiliar ways.

It was time for our domestic science class. ‘We are going to knit,’ said the teacher, in her African-accented English.

She pointed at me. ‘Do you know how to knit?’

I shook my head. ‘But I can crochet.’

She looked blank. The other girls giggled. They had already established that I didn’t wear head-scarves, didn’t clean my teeth with freshly cut sticks from the bush, and couldn’t balance loads on my head like African girls. And they appeared uninterested in my books and games.

‘I will show you how to knit,’ said the teacher.

She handed round bright balls of wool from her bag. Then she took out the needles. They were shiny, thin, and………… hooked at the end.

I sat dumb.

She showed me how to hold one. I made my hand stiff so she wouldn’t suspect the truth.

She helped me make a starting knot, and then loop, pick-up, loop, pick-up – a chain stitch.

‘Do I hold it like this, or like this?’

‘Like this. Now you take this loop back here.’

She showed me how to do a double-crochet row, then a treble-crochet row. All the while I asked questions that I thought a beginner would ask, and she answered in her halting English.

‘See! You can knit!’

Next week, for domestic science class, we were ‘knitting’ again. The girls were amazed at my sudden proficiency. I had decided to confess.

‘You learn quickly,’ said Laraba.

I tried to explain. ‘We call this ‘crochet’. Knitting, for us, is with two needles. So at first, I didn’t know what the teacher meant. Then, I didn’t know what to say.’

Laraba looked at me strangely. Perhaps she couldn’t understand what had driven me to tell my little lie. Perhaps she didn’t get how knitting could be crochet.

It didn’t matter. I was ‘knitting’ along with the rest of them, and it was pure pleasure.

Don’t know what on earth this post is about? The page “What is the difference between knit and crochet” from WiseGeek may help clear things up.

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  1. I don’t knit! (A story) « Official mkPLANET Blog
  2. Degrees of being published | Musings of a Third Culture Kid

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