Knitting in Transit: Pearling down the River

I had my first experience of knitting on the tube today.

3 things I have learnt:

  1.  Knitting is a great conversation starter!!
  2. Some people look at you weirdly if you knit on the tube
  3. I have not yet perfected the changeover moment with my needles as I finish a row and the opening and closing doors of the tube add a whole new element of danger to dropping a needle!

I’ve been working on a practice piece for the last week and I am proud to say that I have now learnt both ‘THE KNIT’ and ‘THE PURL’.  This is one of the things I find really attractive about knitting – there are basically two stitches and once you know these you can start working on the big stuff – the real thing – the woolly hat.

Wool, needles and handy how-to at the ready!
Wool, needles and handy how-to at the ready!

And so starting my first actual project of course means my first knitting disaster; there I was happily knitting and purling (multitasking) away and slowly my needles swung further and further apart collecting a multitude of wool between them that only seemed to lengthen; tangling and making it harder and harder to tighten a single stitch!!  Turns out using the cheat method of casting on (a cheeky little slip knot and then some serious thumb spinning and hooking DOESN’T WORK).  Back to drawing board and learning how to properly cast on…. for 70 stitches….which is a lot…and doesn’t go unnoticed when happening at my desk at work during that bit of the day when I normally want a  cake or a nap… or both.

THE DISASTERI should have stopped and questioned what was happening here....I didn't...and that spare length of wool just got longer...
THE DISASTER
I should have stopped and questioned what was happening here….I didn’t…and that spare length of wool just got longer…

I feel like this won’t be the last enormous mistake I make and I particularly admire one friend whom when attempting to remember the knit stitch we had learnt the night before had a panic moment, decided she must have done something terribly wrong and posted a picture of ‘the problem area’ on facebook – immediately sparking an agony aunt style column of knitting based pondering and suggestions.   My knitting mentor is Jessica and there may well be an ‘Ask Jessica’ post in the next few weeks of the mistakes made and solutions rendered.

To help me remember all those little details like where your wool should be, where your needles should be and how to combine the two (like I said – little details) I started looking for knitting rhymes and stories; here’s a selection of the best:

Knitting:

In through the front door
Around the back
Out through the window
And off jumps jack.

Purling:

Under the fence
Catch the sheep
Back we come
Off we leap

Melanie Falick likes to use rabbit imagery for hers:

Down through the bunny hole,

Around the big tree

Up pops bunny

And off goes she!

And my personal favourite; The Ray Winstone version of knitting:

Stab ’em
Choke ’em
Drag ’em back
Throw ’em away!

As good as these are I think I’m going to stick to my own personal little ditty:

If-it’s-a-knit-then-you’ve-got-to-have-the-wool-at-the-back-and-you’re-kind-of-going-through-the-loop-of-the-knitting-like-a-tunnel-but-if-it’s-a-purl-the-wool-has-to-be-brought-through-to-the-front-yeah-I-know-that-feels-weird-and-you-go-from-the-other-side-like-you’re-just-hooking-the-front-line-of-the-wool-and-either-way-you-loop-the-yarn-end-of-the-wool-around-anticlockwise-and-hook-that-bit-off-and-you’re-done-and-oh-yeah-don’t-lose-count-or-do-the-wrong-stitch-and-if-you-think-you-have-messed-it-up-just-take-a-picture-and-whack-it-on-facebook-but-mainly-just-ask-jessica…. catchy right?

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