Am currently attempting to knit some anklets from a pattern that would make SO much more sense if the authors would just go ahead and admit in the instructions, “Oops-sorry. Here’s the part where we accidentally smoked some crack.”
Harnessing the healing power of snark
It all started off so beautifully, didn’t it?
I wasn’t even looking for you-I was completely happy with all the projects I had on my needles. But then there you were, just waiting for me in the pages of the new knitting book.
And isn’t that always the way of things, that when you stop looking, a new love finds you?
I was sucked in by your easy instructions-just a simple garter stitch for 72 rows. I could knit you and watch TV, or listen to the radio, and not even have to think at all.
I was seduced by the fuzzy softness of the mohair, and the deep, rich purple tones of the yarn.
We had one, glorious month together, and then it all went down in flames.
After all that time together, after all our hopes and dreams, after all those stitches, how could you betray me like that?
The itching, dude, the itching WILL NOT STOP!
How could you just stand by and let me work on you for an entire month with no problem at all, only to turn on me at the moment of completion and cause me to break out in a painful, itchy rash? (How can every single part of my body except my hands be allergic to mohair?!)
I’m sorry to have to say this, but I just don’t think we should see each other anymore. I really think it’s for the best.
Wondering where it all went wrong,
As I believe I’ve mentioned here before, last spring I took up knitting in an attempt to entertain myself during my ex-tre-me-ly lengthy (and currently still ongoing) recovery from The Attack Of The Hostile Alien Bacteria. It has also proven to be an excellent distraction during all the times I have wanted to throw myself in front of a bus, given that my contribution to the world over the past year has pretty much consisted of participating in the conversion of oxygen into CO2, limited as I have been, to lying on the couch and breathing.
(A friend of mine who has been dealing with her own chronic health challenge over the past 5 years summed up this situation quite well when she was commiserating with me and was all, “Oh man, I know. It’s like, ‘give me a purpose or gimme a gun!’ “)
Right now I am working on a simple pattern that basically consists of the following three steps:
1. Cast on 108 stitches
2. Knit every stitch for 72 rows.
3. Bind off all stitches.
As far as difficulty level goes, this is pretty much the knitting equivalent of “falling off a log”.
But knitting patterns are not always so easy, or so enjoyable, and this is due to the unfortunate fact (about which I was grievously uninformed ahead of time) that knitting involves copious amounts of math. And math? Is pretty much my mortal enemy.
Now for some people (and here I’m specifically thinking of my mother), this is not a problem.
A while ago my mom inherited some yarn from a knitter who was moving overseas, and when said knitter then became pregnant, my mom decided to use that yarn to make her a baby blanket. The only problem was that her pattern called for 1,000 yards of yarn, but her skein only consisted of 600 yards.
“That’s no problem,” she thought. “It’s just a baby blanket, so I’ll just make it half as big.” (She thinks these kinds of thoughts because she majored in math. We liberal arts majors know better.)
Such was her dedication to this project, and her belief in the power of numbers, that she then performed an extensive series of mathematical computations including (but not limited to) the formula for finding the area of a rectangle, square roots (SQUARE ROOTS!!), rewriting an entirely new chart of the pattern, and something involving multiples of 7. She then took the revised pattern into work to consult with her other knitting friends, and they all agreed that this project was a go, because-AND I QUOTE-“The math was certainly there.”
And of course, that is the exact moment that, despite her meticulous calculations, despite all her years as a math educator, and despite her devotion to the pursuit of higher mathematics as evidenced by the attainment of her Master’s Degree, math laughed manically, spit in her face, and then flipped her the bird.
Can you see where I’m going with this? That’s right. After all that, it didn’t work.
So despite the “assistance” of the cats yesterday, I was able to dive right in with my trusty knitting needles, yarn, and two knitting instruction books. And the most important thing I learned yesterday was, that I am apparently NOT a person who can learn how to knit from a book.
Fortunately I found a yarn store that was open today, where I planned to go and throw myself on their mercy, or quite possibly throw myself on the floor, whatever it took if only someone would please, please show me how to do a knit stitch.
Unfazed by my dramatic entrance (which apparently happens there quite a bit), the owner of the shop was more than happy to teach me the basics. Soon I was easily casting on, knitting, and binding off, right up until the time when I accidentally unraveled an entire row.
There was a knitting circle working in the store while I was there, and one of the nice ladies jumped right up to help me repair the damage.
“I do have a few holes here and there,” I said as she worked to recover my stitches.
“Oh no, honey,” The Nice Lady quickly corrected me. “Those aren’t holes. Those are design elements.”