Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How Knitting is like Cooking

I started out knitting like I did baking - slowly following the recipe, continuously checking that I did all the steps right.

Then I went to daring baking - substituting like for like (the asked for cotton for a different cotton, or even using cotton instead of bamboo).

But yesterday I found out that I'm fully into cooking mode. The mark of someone who "can cook" vs someone who makes dinner is often the ability to look in the cupboards and whip something together that tastes good out of available ingredients. Or who, halfway down a recipe realizes that she/he's missing vital ingredients, yet pulls it off anyway.

Yesterday the Yarn Harlot came to Halifax. Stephanie asks that people bring hand knit hats with them to donate to the homeless, which I forgot about until yesterday morning. So I dive into the stash to find some bulky yarn not attached to a project and cast on 6 backward loops onto a 5.5 mm circular needle.

OK, I've got the stitches on a huge needle and I don't have any dpns in that size. No problem, use the Magic Loop Technique! Start increasing 6 stitches per row for a couple of rows, then think "what stitch pattern?" as my fingers have no time to stop. Rib! Rib is good - fits more head sizes that way. Rib a row. Broken rib!! Even better. I haven't used broken rib before. Knit a row plain in between the rib rows. Hey, why don't I make the plain knit rows the increase rows - simpler that way! This is working out pretty good, and knitting up quickly on the 5.5mm needles. I can also pull the whole hat onto the cable part of the needles and try it on as I go along - once it's just lightly snug (I have a medium sized adult female head - I wanted the hat to fit guys too), I switched to 4.5mm dpns (just because I was getting a little annoyed at the magic loop) to do straight ribbing snug enough to keep the hat on and I kept going until I ran out of that ball of yarn.

Then that fortuitous thing happened - like that spur of the moment meal that turns out to be a family favourite - I turned the hat inside out to weave in the ends... and I loved the "wrong side"!! I tried to bury the ends neatly to make it a reversable hat - I might just have to use this "pattern" again!

It truely was a magic day for knitting. Not only did I manage to start and finish this hat before I left for the Lord Nelson hotel, I also brought with me two (different) socks to work on and the Arwen cardigan. With the wait beforehand, the talk itself, and the trip home I finished both socks (except toe grafting) and did at least 2" on the cardigan!!!

I think it was the laughter. Or Stephanie sends out speed vibes to her audience. My cheeks may never relax again - and hopefully my fingers stay fast! And even if I hadn't knit a stitch, Tuesday night would remain in my memory for a long time - the Yarn Harlot is so amazing live - I have no idea how someone can remain consistantly funny, not only during the talk, but all the way through the question and answer sessions! Not only that, she's amazingly nice as well.

And, yes, there were enough chairs.


RenoAddicts said...

Wow! talk about busy, busy!!!!! What wonderful things are flying off your needles!

marycatharine said...

I think that is the best knitting story I've read in a long time. I wish I could knit patternless, even if I change a pattern my OCD needs something to follow or I'll go mad.

The J said...


You know, even that one was still following a pattern - the pattern was just in my head instead of on paper (sometimes it's really obvious in there!), and it kept changing. Every step I thought I had it all worked out ;).