New Hobbies – Winning Entry

Throughout January we asked you to send in flash submissions on the topic of New Hobbies. We’re delighted to share the winning entry of Finola Scott, aged 71, with you.

Finola Scott’s poetry and short stories have appeared in anthologies and journals including GutterNew Writing ScotlandThe Fenland ReedLighthouse, RAUM and The Ofi Press. Her work has won and been placed in UK competitions. She is also a prize-winning performance poet and was the 2020 Federation of Writers (Scotland) Makar.

Finola’s recent poetry pamphlet, Count The Ways (Dreich, 2021) is being launched alongside Ruth Aylett’s new collection in an upcoming event on February 24th.

Casting Off

A pal visits, snug and stylish in Fair Isle. ‘Oh, I can give you the pattern.’ 

A Scots granny, I’m embarrassed confessing I don’t knit, can’t knit. 

Image by Zoe Scott of Zoe Scott Designs

I do have vague recollections of knotted wool, sharp pins in primary school. Lip chewing, fretting over tangled homework. Mummy couldn’t help. Not her thing. Her family were dressmakers, tailors. She grew up in lengths of Irish tweed, fine linens. A mother, in her own home she craved the luxury of shop bought. So alone I knitted socks without turning heels, mittens without thumbs. 

But remembering relaxation and fulfilment among dropped stitches, I embrace this lockdown challenge. Carol, another pal, gives me extra big needles, bulky wool, casts on for me. Once she finishes laughing, she helps me find my rhythm and I’m off! Even if my brain doesn’t remember, my hands do. I sit all that long summer soothing care with click, clack, slip, wind, under, off. Before I know it there is a woollen thing on my lap. I never name it Hat, Headband, Jumper. This pet coorying on my sofa is simply Knitting. 

As grandchildren are curious, I christen it Scarf. Of course, my daughter teases, calls me Doctor Who. Watching my wildflower garden flourish, I keep piling up the inches, restless hands now gentled in Zen. Candy Crush, Mah-jong abandoned.

In the midst of lockdowns, masks, distancing, not visiting, Carol dies. After the funeral I help her daughter clear the house. When I open a cupboard a kaleidoscope of yarn swirls. Squares wait to become blankets, yellow cotton an almost finished teddy. It is decreed that it is mine. 

Now here I am, casting on for my grandchildren as one after the other falls under the calming spell of knitting. Don’t ask what we’re making. Suffice to say a lot of long thin rainbows spiral my home. This will be a cosy winter for dollies and their pals. Perhaps one day I will learn to purl.

Finola Scott

Read Finola Scott’s answers to her Quick & Quirky Questions from last year!

Our monthly flash theme for February was Love Languages

Our flash competition this month honours our ‘love languages’ theme. If you are aged 60 and over, and want to write a short piece about your own love of language, we’d love to hear from you! This could be a poem, flash fiction or flash memoir about any language at all (that might even include computer languages!). We’re especially keen to hear from you if you are an older person new to the UK, and have learned English or one of the UK’s other spoken languages for the first time. We’re also keen to hear from people who have discovered a love for learning languages for the first time as a person over 60.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on February 28th, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive a copy of Chuckies Fir The Cairn. This is a collection of poems in Scots and Gaelic, edited by Rab Wilson and kindly donated as a prize by Luath Press.

One thought on “New Hobbies – Winning Entry”

  1. Ooh, socks are difficult – especially heels! But mittens, easy peasy (but not if you try fairisle). Interesting theme. Thanks.

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