Day Four (Thursday 15th May): Conversations Between Workers.
Start by writing a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. this might be a spinning wheel, crochet hook, pair of scissors or your knitting bag. These first few lines should include a description of this tool’s task and usage. If you are feeling particularly in tune with this item you might assign it feelings.
Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item. It might describe your relationships, the annoyances that you have felt for this item at some point (or could it have possible ever have felt annoyances with you) and the wonderful work that you have created together.
6″ ruler: Hello? Am I supposed to talk now? I’m not sure what to say. Um, okay, I’m a 6″ ruler. My formal name is Singer Sewing & Knitting Gauge. I’m different from standard rulers because of the slider that can be set to mark a particular length. I was manufactured in the 1970’s, and was originally part of a learn to sew kit. Basically, well, I measure things. Knitting usually, sometimes crochet. I can’t measure the long pieces, of course, nothing over 6″, but I do a good job with smaller pieces. The work is pretty easy. I get taken out of the notions bag to measure things, maybe hang out on a table for a while, measure something else, eventually get put back in the notions bag.
Me: Hi. I’m the person who got that learn to sew kit way back when I was little. You’re a tie to my childhood. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the measuring.
6″ ruler: No complaints here. Really, when we first met, I figured you were going to be into sewing and that I’d be permanently fixed at ⅝”. Instead—oh, and you were still a little girl back then—you learned to crochet and knit, and you hardly ever sew nowadays.
Me: And you’re more or less fixed at 4″ (10 cm) instead. I hope that’s all right with you.
6″ ruler: 10 cm?
Me: Yeah, the metric equiv- you don’t know what that means, do you?
6″ ruler: I’ve heard about it from the tape measure, and the crochet hooks tell me they’re sized in millimeters. But I can’t do metric measurements myself. Metric wasn’t used much in the USA when I was made. By the way, 4″ is fine. I’m into the measuring itself—it doesn’t have to be a different distance each time. And there’s variety in the work. You were just measuring a 1″ collar a few days ago, for instance, and the bottom ribbings of your sweaters are all sorts of lengths. Plus, you still sew something every few years.
Me: Yeah. Drawstring bags, usually. So, any thoughts about the future?
6″ ruler: No, not really. I plan to just keep on measuring things. Oh, and the tape measure has offered to teach me metric. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to measure in it, but I’m hoping to at least understand it when I run into it, like when you said 10 cm. Maybe then I could at least tell those crochet hooks apart.
Me: By the way, how are you and the tape measure getting along? Is it like a familial relationship? I hope I’m not prying!
6″ ruler: No, no, it’s all right. We definitely have more in common with each other than either of us does with anything else in your notions bag. Well, except the needle sizer. It mostly speaks metric, being German and all, but it’s quite polite and precise. Since the tape measure was made in Germany as well, and is bilingual, it translates when we talk. That tape measure really is an impressive length. It’s too bad it’s so flexible. I mean, I don’t want to badmouth it—I know it does the best it can—but I think it may have fudged a few measurements. Not deliberately, of course…it’s just that it’s so pliable…
Me: I’ll keep that in mind. It does confirm some of my suspicions about problems I’ve had with some of my projects, like measuring armhole depths… You know, I should introduce you to my tape rule someday. I think the two of you would get along splendidly. It has a certain rigidity you’ll love. And if you thought the tape measure was impressive at 5′, well, the tape rule comes in at 12′. And that’s considered small for its type!
6″ ruler: [speechless in awe]