Tuesday, February 8, 2011

KNITTING TIPS FROM THE VILLAGE IDIOT....

I'll try to get through this with a straight face, though trust me it's not going to be easy.   I'm the one who just can't scramble through a normal knitting pattern.  I simply find it tedious and irritating for some mysterious unknown reason, and would rather reinvent the wheel, than follow someone else's wheel merrily rolling down the hill in all it's perfected glory.  So I make up my own pattern as I go along.   Those PURIST KNITTERS (yes, Zimmerman fans you're included in that lot :}  )  had better stop reading right here, the rest of this post may be hazardous to your mental health.


I pick designs from this book.

My mother taught me to knit when I was around seven or eight.  My grandmother had taught my sister to crochet.  My mother could never learn to crochet.  I cannot crochet either.  I think it's a genetic flaw.   When I was around twelve I decided I had it in me to knit my Dad a sweater.  Mainly because all of our known relatives were by now draped in scarves I had been crankin' out since learning to knit.   My mother took me to the LSY where I picked out a gorgeous shade of forest green, and because I can never do anything simply, I shopped on, finding a shade of medium tan for a snowflake pattern across the top, and down the sleeves, visions of Norway dancing in my head.  The sweater turned out great, if you consider one sleeve was about four inches longer than the other... I think I may have been caught up in a particular episode of Ben Casey and forgotten to mark rows, never the less my father, when presented the sweater, rolled up the one mutant sleeve, and wore the thing for the rest of his natural life.     Or so it seemed to me.    It never wore out so I'm thinkin' now he may have been racing to the closet and yanking it out before my arrival during cold weather visits...  I seem to recall my mother teaching this bit of graciousness to my sister and me.  It may or may not have emerged from Eleanor Roosevelt's Post-War edition of  the BOOK OF COMMON SENSE ETIQUETTE.  This of course, was way before the new wave of  'return or re-gifting.'



I began with metal knitting needles back in the day. 


 When the joints in my fingers became bad in later years I stopped knitting for a long time. Then someone invented bamboo needles which I decided to try, not because they are planet friendly, though they are, but because they give a bit and it didn't cause pain to knit with them.   They also have a tendency to warp when held in a death grip.

Please
pay no attention to my kitchen curtain fabric which has yet to be transformed into curtains.

  I have been using wooden needles since.   Which my great-grandmother would have loved.    These came down the family tree from a relative who was a whaling captain on what must have been a particularly boring sail.   He carved the needles from rosewood,  the tips are carved ivory   (No, I don't condone whaling, nor ivory they are simply relics  :} ).






One day I was flipping through a knitting magazine searching for inspiration, when I came across an ad for SQUARE knitting needles.  Whoa, now that's odd.  There would come the time, before Christmas, when I would need to race out to the brand-spanking-new LYS that opened a few miles away.   (  http://www.newenglandyarn.com/ )  It's not like I needed anything concrete, I just had to go and have a nice old fashioned look-see.  It's a great shop, the woman who owns it even spins some of her own yarn.

Hardcore yarn addict that I am, I had to look at everything, including a yarn that actually includes possum hair.  Its from New Zealand, where apparently there is a possum population explosion going on, and some fiber addict figured out possum hair is moisture resistant, so they mix it with wool   ( http://murrbrewster.blogspot.com/ take this and run with it!).    Well anyway, while perusing the small notions section, I spotted the square needles I had seen advertised.



They they were, all coppery, definitely square, though metal, and calling my name.  Well, I couldn't resist and bought a set of DP N's, even if they didn't work out, they are still gorgeous...

In between big stuff, I knit socks to clear my head, it's sort of like an 'eating the melon slice in between courses to clear one's palette' thing I have going, only with knitting.   So I thought now would be the time to try out the square needles.  Oh, wait for it, here comes my knitting tip....  For Socks...


On top of my 'pattern' as I go along making it up.....

As I cast on, I add needles, so by the time I have the amount of stitches I need, they are already on the needles, and I simply have to knit four stitches from needle # 3, to needle # 1, and I am all set to start whizzing around the sock cuff.    It's never a heart-ache being 'careful not to twist' either.    And just because some poor soul might have actually searched for knitting tips, and believed  this post would be useful...   my  Knitting Tip for Knitting with DP N's...  When traveling from needle to needle, always begin the new needle with a knit stitch, even if you have to distort rework the whole pattern to do it.   It prevents having to worry about holes in the work due to not keeping the DP N's close together while switching needles.    Well, I warned you above I am the Village Idiot Knitter didn't I?  But you'll find nary a darn holey space in my socks.    If you wanna see some really snazzy knitting, you should check out this site  http://www.annielarson.com/, she does it with a knitting machine, which is even more mind boggling for someone as clue-less as me.


While I was whizzing through the first rows of a roll cuff for slipper socks for my son, I noticed that not only were my fingers not bothered by the metal, but the square needles are easier for my fingers (suffering from occupational traumatic osteoarthritis) to grasp.  I might add, the more I keep them moving, the slower it will take my finger joints to weld themselves together due to lack of cartilage. I am afraid of this.  I don't think my toes are long enough to hold the needles.


Well these babies are not only a joy to use, they are fast.  The first slipper sock is nearly half done in two days, using size 3.  Which means they definitely will be done in time for my son to use when he has his surgery on the 15th of this month (by a competent surgeon, phew).    This also means using my normal favorite size 0 or 1's, I may be able to complete a few pairs of real socks before Jesus returns. 

NEWS-E NOTES

The news is chock full of roofs collapsing these days, so we see a lot of this...





We woke up to this ...  a squall that left two more inches...


And yes, those are cat tracks...   When the old gentleman that lived in the strange house across the street passed away, his relatives came, cleared out the house, and shoved the cat outdoors.  He/She is mistrustful now of humans so it's taking me a while leaving food out for it, to even get it this close, at night.

So tonight, with the wind doing 50 mph gusts and howling to beat the ban, I sit with the new square needles, whizzing toward toe # 1.

10 comments:

  1. A comment popped up immediately after I posted this then disappeared, strange...

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  2. It wasn't mine; I just got here. Well, good for you that you are knitting again. I used to knit when I was a kid, but eventually stopped when I got tired of getting a stiff neck from constant bending of my neck over the yarn.

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  3. Wooden needles? that is cool...My mom use to knit and crochet.. sweaters, scarves, no socks tho.. she crocheted a great afghan...btw she no longer does either she swears arthritis got to her..

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  4. I never heard of square needles before. I took up knitting again last year, but I've now got lots of unfinished projects sitting around and for some reason I can't get interested in them right now. After reading this, maybe I will. Those slipper socks are a lovely color!

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  5. Power just came back on, a human ic cube sits here before you, might be time to watch the two seasons of Everest and Beyond again on NetFlix, I can be right there with them and their ice covered eyebrows.... The wooden needles are great, but the bamboo gives a bit too much,most that I have are too warped to use now. I found a place that sells Ebony needles *sigh* I'd probably frame them and never put them to good use if I did get them. Socks are easy, y'all should try em!

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  6. I had a relative who loved to knit and gave us all kinds of "gifts" that she had made. They looked awful and we never wore/used them. I don't think she noticed, thankfully.

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  7. Oh Robert I am reminded once again of why I so love this 'blogging' thing. You have brought to my frontal lobe the enormous, crocheted cornucopia my sister made for me years ago, to fit on the huge farm table I had at the time. It had individual fruits and veggies made to cascade out of it, and matched the table runner she had made the year before... Something about yarn and food just doesn't gel with me. So I took a picture of the whole ensemble, then put it on top of a bookcase where the cat couldn't get to it and keep dragging fruits off to play with. My daughter still has it in a box of mothballs somewhere! There is something definately to be said about carrying on 'polite' though, so little of it in the real world, so much of it here in blog-land.

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  8. Hi Joni! You ALWAYS crack me up...you're so funny!...I've never heard of square knitting needles either...Your son's sock is looking beautiful, but as I read about casting on and adding needles, my eyes began to glaze over...unlike you, I don't have that wonderful gift for knitting, and it all sounds so hard!
    ...Oh, that poor kitty from across the street. How can anyone boot a house cat out like that. Makes my blood boil! You're so kind to leave him food. I'm doing the same for an outside kitty that comes around...Just yesterday I saw a few guys shoveling snow off the roof of a hanger at our small local airport. I was afraid to look, in fear of seeing one of them sliding off!...Hope your son's surgery goes well and he's back to 100% real soon. (I got your message...You are such a sweetie. look for my coming email) xo Paulette :D

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  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhDJxEPRDek&feature=fvst

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