Know the feeling? You select the appropriate size circular twin pin, remove the paper band from a fresh, new ball of yarn, cast on stitches for what seems like forever and finally join to start knitting. Oh, the joyous moment of beginning a new project in sweet dreams of just how great it will fit you, how nice it will be to wear et c.
And then sometimes this happens: Several hundred stitches further on – here that’s just some five rows – you discover that you twisted it despite all efforts to avoid it. Instead of a waist band you’re knitting a Möebius band.
That is the point at which you sigh, perhaps swear a bit, and then begin to tink.
And no I don’t mean think. Because the thing to do is go back stitch by stitch to at least not have to cast on anew. And what is knit in reverse?
Shocks can take many forms. I was just on holiday with a friend and very keen knitter with whom I went to see her local yarn shop. That shop was where I bought the yarn for my red sweater (see previous posts for snaps of said beauty), and I was duly admired for the job by the owner. Both these women – friend and shop owner – have a tendency to hoard yarn, the latter making it a sideline job. When they learned that I refused to be tempted by something specific in her stock though sorely tempted I was, they wondered why.
I told them I’m trying to finish my (small) stash. All of it or as near as possible. Both were incredulous. The owner used the term “scraping the bottom”. My friend thought it highly unwise to use up so much there was nothing around for inspiration. I dream of the extra space it will give me as I plan to change parts of my wardrobe as I finish new things for myself.
The current portion of stash in the process of elimination is my sock yarn stash. Down to enough for two pairs + the one on the needles right now. And they are part of another type of shock:
One would hardly think it possible to dye wool in such vibrant neon colours, yet there it is. 80% wool. The 100 gr. ball proved enough for 1 whole pair and the parts on the needles. The rest will be black for biggest contrast. They are for my daughter who will no doubt wear them proudly. And to the danger of everyone else’s eyes.
Oh yes and for steady followers: I finished the embroidery. And forgot to take a snap. Sorry.
My red sweater is finally done! This includes the silken neckband that I had to go to a specialised shop to get. It was worth it just like it was worth the work. It turned out exactly the way I hoped it would.
So why did I caption this post with the words “goodnight, hot night”? Because this is a night sweater. Yes, I’m serious: Women used to sleep in sweaters like this. It was what you wore to bed some 150 years ago and before. In fact you would go to bed dressed in a linen slip and a sweater like this (more or less), sleep in something akin to a cupboard, cover yourself with a woolen sack stuffed with feathers and down and lined with a linen sheet. And you would half sit instead of lying down.
This was how every peasant woman slept for easily 200 years. Whenever I go to the open-air museum or think about it I wonder how they ever made all the children they had.
Hay must have something to do with it. Somehow. Because nice and warm as a sweater like this one is in those drafty, unheated-at-night houses, sex is the furthest away on my mind when I imagine the sleeping arrangement.
Of course, I’ll just wear this to keep warm. (And look … nice)
Yes I know I did not post for a long time. The main reason is that my work life has been in chaos for just as long. It’s finally settling into some sort of order and I can muster the oomph to do things other than work.
The one thing I was able to do was take up a sweater that’s been on hold for several months. Most likely to give myself something mindless to do and an idea that something was moving towards a definable target. And look now how close to finished it is:
The first two snaps are details of pattern and of the – if I may say so myself – rather brilliant way I went about not having to sew on the sleeves by picking up cast-off-stitches and knitting them together with the edge stitches at the sides.
The pattern is my take on a theme of regional variations of the so-called night sweater worn by women in Denmark in the 16-17-18-hundreds. The sweaters were more or less hidden away for festive occasions but visible when they worked. The crossed double bars and the eight-point stars were more or less standard, but some had only patterned sleeves, some had a patterne likes angles or V’s in rows on the trunk et c. I could find a partial pattern for the sleeves alone, and the stars had to grow with the sleeve to keep the same number pattern row by pattern row. I ended up with 6 pieces of A4-sized checkered paper taped together to make sure I got it right.
Those women did without pattern. Just skill. This sweater has given me enormous respect for them. Nowadays you really only see sweaters like these with folk-dancers performing in costumes. I call taht a pity: Let’s give this pattern a revival. Show our skills.
There’s a good deal of debate going on currently about youngsters sharing nude snaps of (mainly) girls without any form of consent from the victims. One thread in the debate is that parents have a part of the blame for two reasons:
The obvious one is upbringing. As parents we teach or at least try to teach our children about decent behaviour though the individual concepts of that phenomenon has variations.
The other reason is the fact that we parents sharesnaps of our children. Including cute nude snaps of happy toddlers in paddling pools et c.
So I decided to not photograph my daughter’s head to display the swater I finished for her and which so obviously fits her snugly. She is very good at only sharing pictures of herself where she may look a bit silly, but never drunk or nude. Doubt she ever sent anything like it in private to anyone; she’s not the type to do so.
In fact she’s a nerd. Which is why the sweater has the design it has: She studies geology and wanted it to display layers of dirt disrupted by e.g. earthquake. And the head? Just a container for her brain.
Is washing a craft? Hardly. It used to be tough work whaen it came to cotton and linen and delicate work when dealing with wool. When I was younger I still washed wool by hand because there was no other way. I was never very good at it, got it felted no matter how hard I tried to avoid it. As a result I wore precious little pure wool if any at all and sorely missed this fantastic fibre that keeps you warm at minimal weight.
So when the old washer gave up on us and we had to get a new one my one demand was that it had to have a hand-wash cycle. My husband found it easy to comply with this a bought Ms. Miele who still serves us loyally.
As a scout and the mother of another AND a keen knitter I took advantage of it as soon as possible. It’s been several years now and we gathered us a good collection:
Two items visible here aren’t wool but left from washing black the day before. Five pieces aren’t from my needles. The rest is.
I’m proud to be a woolcoholic!
Thanks to a dear friend I know to words for the annoying craft of taking back knitting: If you painstakingly take it back one stitch at a time, the word is “to tink”. For the simple reason that “tink” is “knit” spelled backwards. The other word is “to frog” or “frogging”, bacause you just pull out the needes and rib it. And frogs say “ribbit” in English. Both ways leave the already used yarn curly.
(As an aside, the sounds of animals are not universal when translated into human. Danish frogs say “kvæk” or “kvak”. Pigs may say “oink” in English; they say “øf” in Danish, “grunz” in German and “hrum” in Polish. When there was a scandal ablout maltreatment of pigs bound for slaughter and transported for far too long including a long stop at the German-Danish border, a stand-up comedian mused that the stop just possibly was to make sure every pig switched from “øf” to “grunz”.)
So where am I getting with all this? To a cuff. A sweater in progress has a pattern of three stripes, each its own colour. The blue stripe is the thinnest of the three which means there’s a good deal of blue left. Did my darling daughter and recipint want a blue stripe on the sleeves? She’d think about it.
While she thought I began to knit sleeve one and stopped after the cuff. Which was when she chose – blue cuffs. Right then. Blue cuffs it is, I’ll just rib what I already finished. And get curly yarn.