Thursday, January 5, 2006

Spreading like a virus, it is

I dressed my knitting bag in layers today. Since we were heading to the park for our weekly homeschool get-together, there were a few principles to pack by. It's just like making certain that everyone has a backup sweater in the car. You just never know.

For instance, I hoped (but didn't know) that:

Someone might hold the baby if she slept.
I might get some help on the sticky parts of my Clock Vest.
I would want some easy knitting in case the sleeping baby thing didn't happen.
And, I should probably finish that dratted mittlet.

Last night I noticed that one of the cables on the vest had gotten wonky. Just something odd. Then, I notied that the central cable, while a thing of beauty, might have, you know, just moved one stitch to the side. I tried to tell myself that I could manage that, and just ignore it and reshape the shoulders to accomodate that later on.

But, I also cast on a simple little baby hat, in Knit Picks Merino Style, for the teeny little guy born to my neighbors. I figured a little color work would keep me from gnashing my teeth in boredom, and some simplicity would help me not make a complete hash of it, as I have clearly wandered into some Bad Knitting place. I haven't yet chosen the colorwork pattern, but I'm thinking. I wish I could do teeny seahorses, because his name translates as "seahorse," but the gauge is too big.

Back at the park, however, the baby I carry around did fall asleep, and there are enough post-small-children mothers there that I practically get a line of people saying, "Sleeping baby? Yes! I will hold." They clearly remember their children's babyhoods well, though, as any child is better asleep.

So I whipped out the troublesome vest, and with the moral support and chart holding of my friend Jenny, ripped back five rows of the Bad Cable A and reknit it while she talked me through it. Gratifyingly enough, she did murmur things like, "I would be in tears by now" as I said, "Now, which way does that stitch go? Front? Back?" over and over again.

The neat part is that I did it. Really and truly -- yanked those puppies out and redid them, made them behave and everything. But you know what the best part of it was?

I was knitting in a circle of, oh, conservatively, twenty, women, and all but maybe four were knitting away. It's not a knitting group. Knitting just happens there as a side effect of being together with not a lot to do for about three or four hours every week.

But, two years ago, I was the Lone Knitter at the group. Some of the women knew how to knit, some had even learned from their mothers or grandmothers. Yet, no one knit. Ever. Well, I did. And it was weird, at first. Sort of like having a vaguely embarassing disorder. They were. . . polite . . . about it. One said she'd really rather quilt. Others just weren't at all interested. I didn't talk about it (too much).

Then. . . someone showed up with a novelty yarn scarf. Someone sheepishly asked if I could show them how to bind off. Someone brought yarn and let others fondle it.

As though it was the most natural thing in the world, nearly all of them picked up needles and started to do their own thing. Some have pretty much stayed with little scarves. Some are getting completely inspired, whipping out socks and sweaters and lace and cables oh my. The holiday season was rife with knitted items showing up on doorsteps all over town.

Just today, two new members, who haven't knitted before, shyly pulled out scarves they made, just to surprise me.

Somehow, and just based on being first, I'm known as one of the "better knitters" in the group. I have evidence (had it there today, in fact) that if that's true, we're all in trouble. I still feel like I ought to live up to it, though. So today, I brought a little finishing needle to get the mittlets wearable. I pulled up the two dropped stitches and used the tail to secure them, figuring it's warmth, not art, where these are concerned. I turned the troublesome left one inside out and got all the ends squared away, then triumphantly turned to show them to my buddy.

"See?" I squealed, "They've got these great gussets. . . oh no! I made two right ones again! Argh argh argh. Drat it."

She looked at me sympathetically and I stomped off to stow them in my bag and pulled out the little baby hat. My baby, bless her, was still asleep. My friend made encouraging noises about the hat, but I wasn't listening. Finally, I looked her in the eyes and said, "Hold on."

Got the mittlets.

Looked at the repaired one.

Turned it right side out.

Hey, presto. Right and left.


Emano said...

I just read your post on the knittyboard and wanted you to know that I am a reader that hasn't left comments. It was your blog title that first intrigued me-- can you really read while knitting? If I could manage that, I could do two of my favorite things at once!

Barbara said...

I love it! You just turned it inside out. I was wondering what in the heck a "mitlett" was ... thank you for showing me!