Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Knitting is magic

In most areas of my life, I like things to make sense. I want to know the reasons behind things, I'm happier that way. At work, I can be a cog, I can do my little bit, but I like to know the big picture, I like to understand how what I do is part of what everyone else does, how it fits together, how it all works. I'm like the little kid* who won't stop asking why; I don't always ask it, but when I learn a 'why', there's that 'ahhh' moment of great satisfaction.

*That's not the only way I'm like a kid: for some reason, seeing a train go by makes me smile, and often even say "choo-choo train", and if that's not baring my soul to the web-world I don't know what is. I don't know what it is about trains...

Only in knitting is this different. In knitting, I don't seem to need to understand how something works. It's okay. The answer can be 'magic' and I'm perfectly fine with that. I don't know why that is: the meditative quality of the needles moving together? Something about it removes my 'why' gene, and I watch what happens and think 'how neat' instead of 'how is that working?'

At Represent, Melissa (sadly blogless) showed me how to knit a tube on two straight needles. The idea is that it could be the toe of a sock, knit toe-up of course, though I don't know (yet) what to do next, for the heel and so on. I'm still too entranced to care. Looky!

It looks much like plain, flat knitting:

But if you pull it off the needles and look closer:

It's got an inside! Two-sided! Is that the coolest thing ever? For some reason it's making me think of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, where Calvin is showing Hobbes the toaster: you put bread inside, wait a minute, and look what comes out: toast! "Where does the bread go?" asks Hobbes. "Beats me. Isn't that weird?" says Calvin.

It's really simple, and I'm sure it's nothing earth-shattering; there's nothing new in knitting, it's just new to me. You knit one, then slip one as if to purl, all the way across, every row (you have to cast on in multiples of two, so that on the second row, you're knitting the slipped stitches from the previous row). That's it. I haven't the slightest idea how it works. It seems like you're using less yarn, because you're slipping half the stitches, not knitting them. But what you end up with should have used twice as much yarn, because it has two pieces. Totally illogical. It's like when I picked up a stitch on my first sock, and it left a hole. It would make more sense to me if a hole was where you dropped a stitch, not picked one up. Magic. Gnomes!

The only trouble I had was slipping as if to purl, but not purling. I did in fact purl two stitches, which is why the photo doesn't show the tube open all the way across: I messed it up a little. But that's okay, I was only trying it out. I'm not surprised, given how often I stopped myself from purling, that I did in fact purl a couple. I'm kind of surprised I only purled two out of all of them. In any case, this whatever-you-call-it is certainly something to add to the repertoire. Fun!

I finished the Ruffles scarf for the auction at work, if by finished you mean knit until the deadline and declared it to be done. It's a respectable length, anyway, and they were happy to have it, so all's well, etc.

The auction starts next week; I'll let you know how it goes with my contributions (I'm sure you're going to be on tenterhooks).

Now I can move on to other things. Still socking along:

The second, heel photo is much better for showing the true color of the yarn, as well as how cute the heel is. The first photo shows the whole sock and also demonstrates how little I understand and control my camera!

And I have some of the soy yarn left from Represent, I'm wondering if there's enough for a baby hat? Maybe if I try one from the top down, this time, so I don't run out before the top... It's what I used to make the tube, above, though of course I'll frog that. It is a little splitty to work with, though it's so soft I'm apt to be forgiving. I wasn't so happy to find a knot: that's where it went from the pink to brown a little abruptly. Still, more positive than negative.

In conclusion, some gratuitous photos. My cousins' cat, showing amazing feline powers of balance:

And a nice landscape shot this morning:

The day cleared and became beautiful ("perfick wevver"), but it was misty this morning.



Anonymous Anne said...

OK I'm with you - that is the coolest thing ever. I want to knit a tube flat too!!!!!

And it's funny, because I can accept magic in some places in life like that, but it's hard for me in knitting. If I can't visualize or understand the pattern and 'where it's going', I can't seem to get beyond that - it's kept me on simpler projects for quite some time now.

9:54 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Kali said...

About the choo-choo thing...I remember it from feeding children, where you make the spoon into a choo-choo train or airplane and fly or chug it into their mouths. Even finicky eaters seem to be fascinated long enough to eat a respectible amount.

My grandson thinks it is such a hoot, he does it himself, which can be a problem when his spoon is overfull with somthing drippy or ploppy. ;-)

Your posts often bring memory smiles to mind. Thanks.

10:40 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Annalea said...

I just read that very Calvin & Hobbes comic to my munchkins not long ago. ;o) Love that one.

One tip on cameras: they have a very limited ability to "see" contrast. So, if you have a rich blue sock surrounded by a large amount of white counter, the sock is going to look dark because, when compared to the white counter, it is. The second photo was more sock than counter--that's why the color was so much better. If you can put the blue sock on a surface that contrasts less (or in natural light on a white surface: check out http://yarnstorm.blogs.com for examples), the color will be much, much better.

I love photography . . . and I'm big into the "why" end of things, too. Happy day to meet a kindred spirit. :o)

10:57 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Jennifer Saylor said...

LOVE the ruffle scarf. Beautiful color, and so cute! And you seem to be very thoughtfully including a few cat hairs!

The "respectable" length may be more than enough. I tend to make my scarves long, and once had a friend ask if I could shorten one I made for her! And I had thought it was too short...

The sock is lovely. I'm making a second pair of socks myself, and have found a very simple more "process-y" pattern that I will share with you if it ends up staying this easy. No heel reinforcement, and stockinette all the way...


10:16 AM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger ccr in MA said...

Jen, I once read another blogger (who, I can't recall) say that she knit in 98% wool, 2% siamese, and that's pretty much what my finished objects tend to be. I could never knit for anyone with severe cat allergies!

I look forward to hearing how your simple socks go. By all means, share!

10:24 AM, March 28, 2007  
Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

Love the flat tube knitting - it's like a technique I learned in weaving class, which I thought was just the coolest thing ever. "I'm weaving same as I ever was, just using a different treadle combo, and I'm getting a tube!" Too cool! Definitely something I'm gonna have to try. The sock is looking wonderful, and LOL on that scarf. Makes me dizzy just looking at it.

And I tell ya, I lust after the pic of your cousin's cat for a wallpaper. Wonderful pose, and you caught it beautifully. Can I use it pleeze, huhuhuh? I can put a copyright to you notice in a corner so I don't forget in my aged years and mistakenly post it somewhere. ;)

2:19 PM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger ccr in MA said...

Monica, as long as you respect Lulu (that's the cat, of course) and don't sell the image blah blah blah, of course you can use it for wallpaper. I was pleased with that shot, too: as soon as she stepped through onto the post, I was grabbing for the camera and muttering wait don't get down until I take the picture!

2:28 PM, March 28, 2007  
Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

Thank you, ccr! I swear, I shall respect Lulu (Hi, Lulu, nice to meet you! No spitballs on the screen, I promise, and btw, I'm in awe of your balance and poise.), and faithfully never to sell or blahblahblah. I don't make any promises about leaving smudges on my monitor from attempted petting, though.

LOL on you getting the shot, and you should be pleased, it's a great one. Thanks again!

3:52 AM, March 29, 2007  

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