Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tension

I never thought I'd remember fondly the days when my knitting was so tight that K2tog was a positively herculean feat, but pulling my sock out of its bag this morning and having one needle stay in the bag, releasing its stitches to wave about clearly enjoying their newfound freedom, definitely brought a wistful tear to one eye. It's definitely a reminder of how far my knitting has come in the last couple of years; it's not just technical ability that's changed, but also the little things, like relaxing a bit while knitting. I no longer feel, however unconsciously, that if I don't give each stitch that extra little (or big, as the case may be) tug, they'll all be uneven or funky or out-of-control. I think I must have learned to trust my fingers. (You'd think this would have come sooner, given all the years that I played piano, but I guess I'm a slow learner.)

(Side note here: Some of you were flatteringly impressed by the whole reading while knitting thing. I say flatteringly because honestly, you can do it, too. In a lot of ways, I can do no better than to refer you to EZ's description of reading while knitting in her Knitter's Almanac. She advises closing your eyes, making a stitch, and opening your eyes again to check it -- yup, it's there. Then close your eyes, make two stitches, check again. Of course, her writing is much more charming, and she points out that falling off a log is harder than knitting without looking. For me, the whole knitting without looking thing happened when I started knitting at meetings and wanted to be able to look at folks who were talking without stopping my knitting; it reminded me a lot of learning to play piano without looking at my fingers, except that I didn't have a tea towel tied between my neck and a piano to prevent me from looking, and no-one was poking me in the back to make me sit up straight. Once I knew I could knit while looking at a person, knitting while reading was no trouble at all -- barring the whole question of how to keep the darned book open, but that's another post.)

In any case, there will be some fiddling with stitches to correct those which have run away up the tiny bit of sock I have achieved thus far. Alas. I started these socks in the car on the way home Sunday afternoon, and I can tell you that knitting a picot edge while plowing through L.A. on the 405 at 80 mph is no joke. I'm impressed I didn't put an eye out. And I definitely didn't knit as fast as I might otherwise have done. Here's how far I got.
The yarn is from The Knittery (ordered from The Loopy Ewe some time ago), and I love the pink and green together. While I should be a good and generous mom and knit these socks for one of the girls, they're for me me me! I'm knitting them up like the pair I did for Younger Daughter a while ago, with a picot edge, and just a little lacework clock down each side. I'm using size 0 KnitPicks Harmony needles. Simple, mindless, soothing knitting. Just what the doctor ordered. I would have gotten further last night, piles of laundry to be folded notwithstanding, except that this came in the mail:
(I would like to point out here that I ordered this on Thursday afternoon. And there it was waiting for me yesterday. No spinning wheel yet, though. Grump grump grump.) This is the kit for the boy's Tulip Cardigan, the purchase of which was greatly facilitated by some encouragement from people who shall remained unnamed (coughEllencough). I called the Coldwater Collaborative and they immediately shipped the kit out, in the size I wanted, with instructions included, and the woman I spoke to was very friendly and helpful. If you're thinking of knitting this one, I definitely recommend checking these guys out for the kit.

I cast on last night, and made it through the first stripe. We'll see how far I get with it tonight. Meanwhile, I still haven't sent the booties and socks off; the post office and I aren't friends at the best of times, and I have not had a moment to get there. Must. Send. Socks.

9 comments:

Anne said...

um, were you the driver during the knitting-while-plowing-through-the-
405-at-80 m.p.h. scene you just described? If so, I *am* surprised you didn't put an eye out.

Marianne said...

Heh, that's what I was wondering also :^)

Pretty sock yarn and yay!! on the tulip sweater yarn, gorgeous colours.

Willow said...

I completely agree that knitting without looking is easy to do. I learned to do it when I wanted to finish a row in the car and it got too dark to see. I taught my hands to FEEL the stitches--then I'd hold the knitting up to the street lights as we went past, to check the accuracy.

Knitting while reading is easier because if you want you can look down at your stitches.

Knitting while driving: my kids have accused me of that. I wish to point out that I have never done that. Knitting at stop lights does not count.

And knitting on the 405 in LA: it's better to knit than scream, better to knit than jab the needles into the car seats or throw them at other drivers through the open windows.

Willow said...

Is the Tulip Cardigan knitted from the neck down?

twinsetellen said...

I think the Tulips Cardigan should have been called The Borg Cardigan, because, you know, resistance is futile.

Tension changes are so informative. It's clear you are far more confident in your knitting than previously. The fact that my Fair Isle mittens (which I recently knit before and after a vacation) are two different sizes tells you a lot about how much I needed that break!

I'm looking forward to watching your progress on sweater and socks. And I am sure that wheel will arrive in time for the weekend.

Alwen said...

I'm not usually big on pink but I love that yarn! Especially with the picot-point edge.

Bea said...

I love to combine reading and knitting. I usually don't do so while driving though. I'm with you on how to keep the book open. I tend to knit while walking from and to my car at the office. Its a good walk and then the elevator to the top floor of the building so I just started practicing without looking and its surprisingly easy to manage it. Its not good for lace though. No not at all...

Margaret said...

Love the colors for the tulip cardi! And a very Spring-y sock! Sign up for a USPS account online and you can print shipping labels with postage. Priority mail only now, no first class. But still, better than a trip to the PO.

Lynne said...

Knitting and reading is only slightly more difficult than knitting and watching TV. The problem is keeping the book open and turning the pages, not to mention where to position the book so as not to get a crick in the neck!

Knitting while walking is fun too [best done with a small project on straight or circular needles; dpns tend to be a bit unruly!! LOL]