reclaimed sweater

Castiel starts knitting one winter when they’re snowed into the apartment; he was painting the park across the street but he runs out of the shades he likes for the trees, even runs out of the proper colours to blend the right shades and there’s only so many other things he can do to keep himself occupied. He reads and rereads the poetry books with his favourites dogeared, helps Sam at his laptop and his big printer but nothing’s going out on account of the weather, and after he snaps two strings on his guitar tuning it high, he’s out of options.

He watches and rewatches a tutorial online while unraveling a thrift store sweater (he watches a tutorial about reclaiming yarn from old sweaters too, since the sidewalk is still impassible and no one is going anywhere to buy anything let alone yarn) and winding it into a ball with a center-pull (another tutorial, who knew there were so many?) and he doesn’t have needles, but they have plenty of dowels and sandpaper, so in an hour, he’s got a set of straight wooden needles with elastics on the dull ends to keep his stitches from slipping off.

The first day is rough going; his fingers, although vastly coordinated for other tasks like painting and playing the guitar and jerking Sam off with perfect precision, are clumsy and big with the bright purple yarn and the grabby wooden needles. More than once, he’s sitting cross-legged on the floor, watching the video guide again with such a scowl on his face that Sam stops what he’s doing to brush a kiss against his forehead or rub the tension away from his shoulders, to tell him he can’t wait to wear whatever the hell he ends up making.

The encouragement helps; later, Cas is tucked up between Sam’s legs on the couch while they watch a movie, old and silent with a snowy climax that mirrors the howling weather outside, and Cas has all the basics down by then, although he still has to look down at his fingers while they move the needles with much more ease than even hours before. He gnaws his lip less while pushing the right needle through the loop on the left, and the yarn in his right hand feels almost natural, woven through his fingers for the correct tension, and he rarely drops it anymore, easily swoops it over the needle, pulls the stitch through and slides it to the other needle. By the end of the movie, he holds up a ragged rectangle, full of holes from the beginning rows, but the subsequent ones are perfect garter stitch, and even his bind off is tensioned just right.

“So we got a nice new potholder,” Sam beams at him, gently setting all the handmade accoutrements of Cas’s new hobby aside to pull his boyfriend up into his lap and slide the shaggy hair off his face, kissing him all gently in the black and white tv glow, in the similar grey-white light from the snow blanketing the world outside.

By the time the snow clears enough for everything to get back to normal, Cas has two great long scarves to his name, the first from the unraveled thrift sweater, a bright ugly purple but it’s warm and cushy and he wears it wrapped three times around his neck while he works on the other one, the one for Sam. It’s still straight garter stitch, row after row of the plain knit stitch, in-around-through-off, and he doesn’t even have to look anymore, he can tell from the way the reclaimed yarn (another of their thrift store sweaters, this one way oversized so he gets a ton of yarn), sky blue, slips through his fingers that everything is going to plan.

He finishes Sam’s while they’re watching another silent movie, pleased he can actually watch the movie and not miss the title cards this time, (also pleased the movie takes place in a warmer clime so he doesn’t have to think about fucking snow any more) finishes it sometime in the middle of the movie and casts off perfectly again, shifting around on the couch to grin at his boyfriend, straddling his lap while he winds the warm length around Sam’s neck again and again and again, until Sam’s long neck is swallowed up in it and they’re both laughing. Sam tugs Cas forward with his own scarf, still on because he swore he’d never take it off, tugs him so they’re chest to chest and Sam’s big arms hold Cas tight against him, nuzzling their noses together, beaming against Cas’s lips, thanking him with words and with kisses and later, with unhurried sex on the couch, everything painted in greys from inside and out, except for the scarves draped over the coffee table, purple and blue twisting together in matched homemade perfection.