Three Line Tales: For my daughter-in-law Julie

TLT week 33: a ball of orange wool

photo by Philip Estrada – you’ll find a bigger version here


Doreen’s knitting flowed over her knee in neat stitches the colour of regurgitated carrot, the yarn shimmering as if spun from finely shredded plastic bags.

She saw me looking and said, ‘For my daughter-in-law, Julie,’ her lip curled as she spoke the name, the smallest bead of spit glistening on her chin. ‘The one who had to have granite worktops in her kitchen and said my backside was shaped like a Space Hopper.’

I eyed a shapeless panel, scratchy as hessian. ‘You mean the one with the terrible psoriasis?’

She nodded and smiled. Revenge, it seems, is best knitted and purled.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales, though of course it isn’t three lines – and I’ve been doing so well recently! See here to join in the fun and to read the other stories.

39 thoughts on “Three Line Tales: For my daughter-in-law Julie

  1. I don’t even know what a Space Hopper is, but I can tell that’s not the type of thing you should compare your mother-in-law to. Seems like Julie has set herself up for this. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, I recognize the toy – sortof – but not the name. The text says it was called a Hippity Hop in the US, but that doesn’t sound familiar either. The ones we had in school were a weird puke-pink color, no face, and had a loop on the top to hold onto instead of two ears.

        But in any version, definitely NOT something to compare your MIL to!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When I was a kid they were always lurid orange (a very 1970s colour!) and had that kind of scary face on the front. I was rubbish at riding them too! And no, I wouldn’t want my backside compared to them – they’re really quite big 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I. Love. This. Story.
    Funny how it made me think of chocolate cake 🙂
    My mother-in-law used to make chocolate cake especially for me, knowing how I loved it…
    I had to force myself to swallow it, even though it was sprinkled with dessicated coconut. she knew dessicated coconut made me feel sick to the stomach.
    I told myself her memory must be failing. Now I finally understand 🙂
    Nora was a rare creature, though a terrifying in-law. I will always think of her with love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It must be mum and daughter in laws, that spiky ‘she’d encroaching on my territory’ attitude, whether the territory is the kitchen or her son! For the story I liked the idea of a low level, rumbling resentment rather than a relationship that bubbled over into arguments. What better revenge than to do something that on the surface seems kind but is really cruel? Nora’s cake didn’t change your mind about coconut then?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Her cake was made from a boxed cake mix – and the coconut came with it – so there was nothing appealing about it. When I told my MIL I liked chocolate cake, I meant my mum’s, which was always one of the first to disappear at the local fetes.
        So no, she didn’t change my mind – though these days I love coconut in curry.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooh, yes coconut in curry … mmm. Doing a stir fry tonight with coconut milk. Yum. My mum always used cake mixes on the rare occasions she made cake. Mind you, everything she made was out of a packet, just add water – custard, white sauce, cake, Pot Noodle. She’s got a lot better as she’s got older, I must say 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, that’s a good thing! I have a problem with chips these days because I eat so few. Used to be fed them all the time when I was a kid, now even oven chips sit like a bowling ball in my stomach – not nice. Give me a jacket potato any day.
        On the odd occasion I’ve tried to give my son a ready meal he’s turned his nose up at it – too used to the ‘real’ thing. I take it as a good sign that I’ve done the odd thing right as a parent 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think an appreciation of good, healthy food is one of the best things you can give a kid. It may not stop them from queuing up with their friends at MacDirties when they hit their mid-teens, but they’re more likely to return to the real thing later.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow I agree with KittyKat. Saying those things or whatever not nice, but psoarisis sucks. I’ve never had it really badly but what I did have wasn’t fun and took years to go away. Doing this to someone who suffers from it badly is a really bitchy move. No class in this old lady at all. Great write!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I think there are some people who can’t handle actually confronting someone and would rather do something that seems kind but really isn’t instead. She wants her revenge but probably doesn’t want to upset her son, wants to look like the kind mother. Let’s hope Julie never has to wear that jumper! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I think there’s a good chance it gets worn once and never again 🙂 just once to please the mother-in-law.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the description of the colour – tells me straight away that Doreen isn’t knitting out of the goodness of her heart 😀


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