Friday, June 23, 2006

Under the weather

There is a whooshing sound in my head right now and a gripping pain in my ears, as if a vice is clamped over my head and slowly tightening. My thoughts are slowed down to pace that I can observe and record their muddled meanderings, but not to worry: I won’t bore you with them all. Just to say that I chose this state in which to begin a pair of wristwarmers last night, using the Magic Loop method, in a crossed rib. No matter that I’ve never tried the Magic Loop before, nor translated a textured pattern into the round, or that I haven’t executed a cable stitch in oh, twenty-five years? In fact, it took a good long while to figure out that C3R translates to a three-stitch cable.

My grandmother taught me how to cable when I was a kid. I don’t think I actually made anything with cables, but I liked practising the technique, which seemed like magic. Last night, semi-prone, in sub-optimal light, I launched into the project, convinced I could work it all out on the needles. Firstly, there was some wrestling with the circular cable and some grumbling that a 100cm Addi might be too long for the purpose. I propped my laptop up in bed and referred to this page for directions. Quite informative, but I clearly need a few more synapses in operation to understand what she’s saying about swapping the first and last stitches to join the circle. Straight away I screwed up the patterning, and this was just the rib. Things really fell apart when I attempted the cable: there was twisting when there shouldn’t be, stitches dropping off here and there, a couple of rounds of inadvertent moss stitch. But I kept knitting, oblivious to the mess, hoping I’d find my way out.

By chance, I wondered if my grandmother might have left a cable needle in amongst her last, unfinished project: a red sweater for me. I found the bag in my wardrobe and pulled out the contents. The pattern I’d requested was a traditional Aran turtleneck in a red 8 Ply. (The model, coincidently, is the older sister of a friend, her hair teased huge in high ‘80’s fashion.) The back is finished and the front is on the needles, about a third of the way up from the ribbing, left off half-way across one row. In the last years of her life, my grandmother suffered a series of small strokes and the painting and handwork that she loved just got too hard. I didn’t find a cable needle, but there were a number of French chocolate wrappers mixed in among the ball bands, which was a happy reminder of a woman who knew how to maximize her pleasures.


Blogger Meg said...

I don't want to cause you any undue exertion in your present state, but consider checking out cabling without a cable needle. Here is a good tutorial.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

PS Hope you feel better soon!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Di said...

Hope you feel better soon.

I wanted to give you the link to grumperina but I see meg already has. Indispensible technique I say- especially for small cabled items. So much easier than fiddling around with a cable needle (even if you manage to find one)!

You've reminded me again of my grandmother's tapestry that she was working on when she passed away- it's now living in my WIP pile. Without chocolate wrappers though I suspect. One day...

1:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home