The knitter looks at me accusingly. "I've tried it and it's wrong. And, I've got my friend - and she's a knitter too - to do it and she says it is wrong too."
I take a deep breath. I know the pattern is not "wrong". It has been knitted by a great many people now and nobody else has had a problem with it. I doubt that some of the "beginner" knitters who have used the pattern would have been able to knit it if the pattern was "wrong".
I go through it with her - or rather, I try to go through it. She keeps interrupting. I ask her if she can read the chart. Of course she can't. She is trying to follow just the written instructions and work it out from there. I go through the chart and the instructions together. She shakes her head and goes off to "look at it and count the stitches". She comes back triumphantly and tells me "it's still wrong". I doubt anything will convince her but I give her one of my own cards and tell her to try again and then e-mail me if she still has a problem. I seriously hope I don't hear from her.
Yes, one of those days at the craft fair. It was actually rather quiet. My friend and I managed to get some planning in. She has new yarn lines she wants me to knit samples for. That means designing and writing a pattern as well. I also talked to her about planning for the summer school I am teaching at.
Just before people were going off to lunch someone stood in front of me. She is shorter than I am - something of an achievement. She is also a good deal wider. (I almost look anorexic next to her.) She has a mischievous smile which reaches deep into her dark brown eyes.
"You won't remember me but I know who you are," she tells me.
I look carefully at her face and shake my head. I am not good at this game but, in this case, I sense she is sincere.
She tells me who she is - the "little sister" of a girl I went to school with for a short time. And then I did remember her - and I remembered her well.
Her entire family were very kind to me. Her father was a "rough carpenter". He put up the framework for buildings for the Public Buildings Department. Her mother was a "stay at home" Mum. There was the girl I was friendly with, her brother, then the person in front of me and, lastly, another girl who was not even at school then.
They had me there for the evening meal around once a week when I was miserably "homesick" and living in a girls' hostel for two terms. The mother would give me a hug. The father mended my shoes more than once (because I scuffed the toes out frequently). I helped my friend with her English, talked to her brother about his school projects, and listened to this sister struggle through her early readers.
I suppose it was a two way thing but I often felt it was one-way. They were giving me so much. It was a little taste of family life.
I found out what they were all doing - which was much as I expected. She bought some buttons from the stall and went off with a cheerful promise to say hello to her sister from me.
I just wish though that her mother was still around so I could tell her all over again how much those hugs meant.