Friday, July 20, 2007

Night knitmare

Back to the sweater for youngest daughter saga. Finally added the eight tassels round the hem, then tacked on an extra band of tightly knitted twoply, knitted on a train from Edinburgh to London and then back again the same day. This inch wide band finishes the bottom edge of the sweater and hides where the tassels are sewn on. Still with me? All was looking totally gorgeous in a kind of blobby homespun way, and I was feeling hugely victorious with the end in sight.

You can tell that it's going to go pear-shaped, can't you? Deep breaths. Relax those shoulders. Here we go.

Then I tried to sew the sides and sleeves in place. Since the sweater is going to have to take a fair bit of abuse and also because my sewing together with mattress stitch technique is, to say the least, amateurish, and because I was keen to get to the end, I thought I'd sling it under the foot of my gorgeous sewing machine and whizz, wheeee, we'd have the thing finally finished for the weekend. Finished for the weekend. Unless you've knitted an ongoing mondo project, you can have no idea of the heady rush experienced by a knitter at the thought that liberation is only a weekend away...

Oh, heady thought. Oh, deluded knitter. Oh, complete disaster. Couldn't even dance and shriek and use foulest of foul language, because the entire household was fast asleep and would have risen up as one and stuffed the mangled sweater down my neck in order to silence me. Poor things, it can't have been easy having to come to terms with the fact that they're taking second place in their mother's affections behind a sweater.


Back to the sweater for the youngest daughter saga. Will unpick the hideous tangle and teach myself how to mattress-stitch like a pro. Perhaps I'll have it finished before I go to Shetland. I could take photos of it with me, if only to provoke massed hilarity when I show my feeble efforts to the Experts Up Helly A. Or whatever they call themselves. Stitch and Bister? ( So many landmarks on Shetland end in 'Bister'. I think it means 'farm', but what do I know?) Actually, if I take my feeble knits up there, I'll probably be thrown off a headland and into the sea for crimes against knitting. Nothing would be left floating on the water except for a very smart pair of orthotic insoles, but we won't talk about those today.

As for the shawl in kidsilk haze. I'm on the decreasing last third of the project now, and praying that all will become clear when I block it. At the moment it looks like nothing much, in fact it looks pretty hideous, but I can say that, because I'm its mummy. Despite my rank amateurishness, I still wish I'd tried to knit my shawl in something slightly more challenging than the shell and fan pattern. Perhaps I'll be able to find someone up in Shetland who will help me find a pattern, and then act as interpreter for the more arcane of the instructions. Being self-taught means that I have no idea what's going on when the pattern goes off-piste. I need a guide, but I have no friends with knitting expertise, or if I do, they haven't come out and 'fessed up. However, complete strangers come up to me on trains and in restaurants and pluck my pins out of my hands saying, do you mind, but I just couldn't sit and watch you do that any more. This reflects the degree of awkwardy-fumblethumbish non-dexterity I am obviously bringing to my knitting. The only person who has admired my knitting on trains was the ex health minister, Patricia Hewitt who saw me working away on a long train journey from London to Leeds. As she disembarked ( to be devoured entire by thousands of pissed-off nurses) , she said wistfully, I wish I had time to knit like you...

The moral being - be careful what you wish for.

As for the fiddle part of Fiddle and Pins...well. I hang my head in shame. Fiddle is in its case over on the West coast and has not been taken out to play since February. Must do better. Must campaign for a thirty-six hour day. Must, gasp, phew, cut myself some slack.

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