Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Rain in Spain/Old Dog Learns New Trick

Today I learned to knit backwards. This is one of those things I've been meaning to tackle for ages, (think entrelac, bobbles, edgings..any situation where frequent turning the work threatens to become a major PITA). But I kept putting it off.

The impetus: my lovely friend Ellen sent me Modular Knits by Iris Schreier. (Ellen knows I love coming at things from a different angle). In the introduction Schreier suggests that knitting backwards can also speed up her short row module technique. And she provided directions with pictures. So I followed these (I thought carefully) and ended up with a lovely row of purl stitches. Hmmm..... now I was determined to lick this thing.

So I watched and analysed what I was doing stitch by stitch, and with great struggle finally ended up with a row of knit stitches that had been worked off of the right needle onto the left. But the stitches were all sitting on the needle the wrong way. Of course I could and did just knit into the backs on the following row to keep them from twisting (knitting backward Combination style?). But by now I was determined to be the boss of my knitting, and I mean Boss.

So I tried again, wrapping the yarn in the opposite direction, which worked; but it felt as if I were knitting with boxing gloves on. I couldn't control my tension. I dropped stitches. I almost dropped the needles. So I put down the knitting and Googled for directions, just in case there was some trick I had missed. Found several sites with pictures. Hmmm. They were doing exactly what I had been trying so clumsily to do.

So...... I went back to the needles, sighed, picked them up; and WHOO HOO it clicked. It was just like the moment when Eliza Doolittle finally nailed her "h's". I felt like dancing around the room myself.

I made myself a nice fat bobble without once turning the knitting.

Now I'm going to go conquer some of Schreier's modules.


Take note of something else about that picture. It was taken on a sunny windowsill.

The sun has actually been shining for the last two days! I had a beautiful drive up to Madison yesterday for Last Saturday Knitting. Elizabeth brought some of the yarn she's been spinning from Brown Sheep fleece, which you can see here. I'm really eager to see what it turns into. I'm thinking something with chunky big cables would be gorgeous. It was great fun meeting Molly Bee, who brought her Tidal Wave socks: very pretty, and you can see them here. She brought her friend Anne, too. Linda (mousey blog) had some show and tell, the alpaca shawl she made for her mother with beautiful variegated blues and greens that worked really well with the simple lace pattern stitch she had chosen. I think everyone was a bit euphoric with the sunshine. Whatever the reason, there was lots of laughter. Yarn projects and laughter (and sunshine), what can be better for the soul than that?


Elizabeth said...

You know, I've never made a bobble in all the years I've been knitting, and probably, the constant turning has something to do with it.

I hope your basement will dry out now. It's so nice to have decent weather.

YarnThrower said...

Congrats on learning how to knit backwards! That's on my "to do" list, too. Glad it's not too much of a PITA :-)

I thought about and missed you guys on Saturday, too! I play in a quartet, which played for a wedding on Saturday in Bethesda MD, so I was way out of town....but at this point, I'm planning on being there in September! Sounds like you all had a great group and a lot of fun!

magnusmog said...

Blimey - I thought knitting backwards was what I did when I made mistakes! So much to learn.....