latest  archives  guestbook  about me links 


12.05.2004 - 12:29 p.m.


I finished my second scarf the other day, and I'm fairly pleased with it. The yarn is what I'd call "rumply" (n00b alert! I'm sure there's some germane knitting term I should be using) and while it was a massive pain in the ass from the very first stitch the result is a sort of bumpy, organic-looking scarf that's very warm.

While I wouldn't say I've mastered the knit stitch, I've done it enough times now that I felt I could move on - to the purl stitch. If you don't know anything about knitting...well, then I'm sure this entry is going to bore the pants off you (ha! you have no pants! DIRRTY) but aside from that, there are two types of stitches, the knit stitch and the purl stitch. The knit stitch involves, for me anyway, a pulling-the-yarn-through-then-looping-it-up-and-over motion. It wasn't exactly easy to learn, but after only six or seven hundred tries I got the hang of it and that's the stitch I used, over and over, to produce my lumpy scarves.

The purl stitch, on the other hand, involves a pushing-the-yarn-backwards-and-through-then-looping-it-up-and-over motion. It doesn't sound so different, does it? And yet somehow this stitch reduces me to a frustrated, apelike crouch, panting over my yarn as I try to get that damn...loop...over. You're supposed to use your left index finger to pull the yarn down, but somehow my thumbs get involved, and my big toe, and one of the needles is clenched in my armpit, and I'm sweating, and the yarn gets wrapped around my elbow, and DAMMIT TO HELL, and so on.

I bought some red, sparkly yarn to practice the stockinette stitch, which is one row of knitting, followed by one row of purling; lather, rinse, repeat. While practicing my stitches, I'm producing a festive, narrow length of fabric that I, uh, plan to tie on Cat.

Q. Are you fucking serious? You're making a scarf for your cat?
A. NO I AM CERTAINLY NOT. I am making a holiday collar.

It's a lesson in...well, I'm sure it's a lesson in something, this irritating process of the stockinette.

"Tra la la, knitting now! Knit knit knit! Easy! Happy! Now switching needles, purling. Hate purling. HATE. Hate hate hate hate. Kill. Death. Grrr. Now switching and...yay! KNITTING!"

Not only does the knit-and-purl make me feel like a schizophrenic, but I keep fucking up by losing track of what kind of row I just did. You may think that you could accidentally do two rows of purls and it wouldn't be obvious, but IT IS. It's very, very obvious. Your fabric wears a blinking sign that says "RETARD". Maybe if I was better at this I could figure out how to make my mistakes look like a pattern or something ("My god, look! It''s the face of the Virgin Mary!"), but as it is Cat's forthcoming torture device is looking decidedly hoopty.

You're supposed to be able to look at your yarn and figure out what stitch you just did by the way it hangs off the needle. According to my Stitch N' Bitch book ("Everything you need to know to get your knit on"): if you see a little V hanging around its neck - as if the stitch is wearing a scarf - it means will need to knit it. First of all, how fractal is that? My stitches are wearing scarves! Second of all, I can't tell what looks like a V and what looks like yet another endless loop of yarn. So for now, the only way I can keep track is to test my internal temperature after finishing a row. Am I humming an old Pixies tune, ready to take a sip of hot chocolate, and filled with a vague sense of accomplishment? I must have just knitted. Am I suffused with grim concentration and the desire to kick something very, very hard? Ah, that would be the purl stitch.

The next thing I'd like to work on is a hat. Apparently, knitting a hat involves using needles that are, dear lord, connected together. If you don't hear from me for a while, please send help.

last ::: next

25 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

yay, diaryland