Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Bloomin' Knitwit!

I don't do domestic.

I say this for the start, in case someone gets the wrong idea.

When I used to cook for the Scout troop, they reckoned that my middle L stood for Lucretia. I was asked to leave Domestic Science at school; the teacher refused to teach me. I made a pair of pyjamas with both sleeves and both legs set in backwards.

Later, I made ball-gowns from scratch, building them like engineering projects. They were pretty good - mind you, I need engineering rather than dressmaking, being on a larger scale.....I learned to knit out of bloody-mindedness.

Now, being a bit arthritic, I need to keep my joints warm, otherwise I grind to a horrible stop. I've found the ideal thing for my wrists and knuckles - "mitten-thingies".
These are basically tubular with a hole for the thumb, simple, practical and effective. A friend and I discussed how they might be knitted. Seemed simple.

Can you see the flaws yet?

So I was at Mum's place, and needing to do something... she has plenty of spare wool from old Fair Isle sweaters. Ideal!
I acquired wool and round needles. These make life incredibly simple by allowing you to just knit on and on and on round and round.

I cast on 76 stitches, and knitted.

After a couple of rounds, I realised things were not going quite to plan... somewhere in joining up the threads, I'd managed to turn the thing, and had now managed to knit the beginnings of a wonderful Moebius glove.
Stop. Unravel. Knit back. Start again.
Cast on 76 stitches and knit three successful rounds. Try the thing against my wrist. Hmmmmmm. Too big.
Unravel. Start again. Discover that 76 stitches is the minimum the round needle will hold. Ah. Too big.

Oh hell. I need to try to do this with 4 needles. How much do I REALLY want to do this?
Come on. It's just wool and stuff. How fearsome can it be? It's not french seams, or white sauce, for heaven's sake!

So here we go. I reckon 50 stitches. Cast on. Ok.
K2P2 for about 15 rows (I'm knitting stripes, so about 3 rows per colour at this point).

AUGH!! How the heck do you shift from one needle to another? After a while it becomes clear, and I decide I need to knit at least 4 stitches on from the previous 'changeover' each round, in order to prevent holes at the corners. Yes. I think I'm smart, huh? Smart is not having the left needle stuck up your right nostril...

So here I am, knitting with 4 needles for the first time. It is not going well.

For a start, my eyes want to focus on the needle I have just deserted and which is waving around loosely under my nose. and threatening to insert itself in that same organ. I need to focus on the business end of the thing, not being one who can watch TV and knit at the same time - I need to see what the needles are doing, as they are inclined to do random stuff if I take my attention off them. There is also another needle waving about errantly, likely to get stuck in my ear, or my jumper. Do NOT wear knitted jumper whilst knitting. Everything ends up stuck in the stitches...or your underwear.... I am knitting with 2 active needles and have 2 'hangers-on', most of the time. My decision to carry stitches forward means that sometimes I only have 3 needles in play. The spare I stick in my mouth, as a convenient place.

The only trouble is, I tend to forget the needle in my gob. If I'm not talking to Mum, particularly. If I am, it's still likely to get overlooked, our conversation being of the muffled kind. Which means that - on occasion - I'm likely to end up with all the knitting on two needles, and a problem turning the corners.....

And so it progresses. Knit one, purl one, slip one, drop one, scream as half the last 10 stitches fall off the needle, change colour, discover a new stitch where one has failed to slide the stitch last time round, count the stitches and find an extra 4, cast off extra 4, knit another round, discover one is 3 stitches under target....

The whole thing is a bloody mystery to me. It's a women's thing, and despite gender, I just don't get it. I knit the bloody thing, and end up with a tube of the right size and shape, finally cast off the k1p1 top end (see, I do know technical!) and then... oh shit. I have to do another one the same. Including the bit early on where it all went inside out and the knit became purl and I ended up with an inside out bit, which I thought I'd wound back but when I knitted the next couple of rounds I found there was still a reverse row there..augh....And the bits where I missed stitches and will have to tie them in again. Gods, why did I start this???

They're pretty, though, and they're warm. Mum's modelling them here...

I am not designed for domesticity.


Tats said...

I wonder what it would have looked like if you'd continued the Mobius knit?! They do actually look quite snazzy, but I won't ask for a pair!

Oh - and the word is "idnes".

mad said...

Moebius mittens, they reach back through time...ideal for the Doctor....

Mackie said...


first, they DO look good. lovely colours, and looking at them you think the stitches are meant precisely like that.
second, your writing about it is so wonderful that even though you probably disagree, it would have been a pity if you hadn't done the knitting :smooch:

Girl from Mars said...

Moebius knit :lol: Hehe, how wonderful to see you actually did knit them! And your mom has great nails!

j. said...

mum's got lovely hands and those look great. i don't suppose you want to knit me a pair... =P

Anonymous said...

They did turn out beautifully after all. I would ask for a pair if I didn't think it would send you 'round the bend. LOL.
This is why I just crochet afghans....1 hook & straight lines.

The word is tatof!


CreativeSTAR said...

I noticed you were wearing "wrist gaiters" - the techno term for your invention at the last FEI meeting. To buy what you've knitted in a shop like Ragamuffin in Edinburgh would set you back £18 minimum.

Wrist gaiters are the best thing for outdoor work with children - way better and warmer than fingerless mittens. I cheat and wear a double pair on each hand/wrist.

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