Sunday, October 12, 2008

Landladies and Designers and Mothers, Oh My

Or, In Which the Hands Figure Things Out While the Rest of the World Blurs Together

I should be sleeping right now. But I'm not (obviously). Instead I am up in defiance of unpacking and new jobbing and going to the storing (Why the hell did I throw out so much stuff in the last two moves? It means I've got to buy it all again, and I never remember all it is I need until after I get home from what I was sure was the last trip.)

First on the list of only slightly knitting related is that the very nice house that wasn't available until the end of October became available earlier, because the landlady moved early so she could have us as renters.

The Things are thrilled. Acres to play on and trees. Especially the apple tree with some of the best fall tart/sweet apples we have ever had.

I am thrilled. Because of the house, yes. But mostly...well, mostly because when we were unpacking, I found a lost treasure.

I'd had a nice set of Lantern Moon dpns for sock knitting. I managed to maim and mortally wound two needles in two days on the mad, cross-country, Stanley-infested job interview some months back. Jedediah, stalwart friend that he was, did emergency tape surgery, but knitting was sluggish every third needle. I had them replaced, though sadly, the two new Lantern Moons were not as pointy as the fallen LMs. I sighed, decided I could not live in the past, and knit (sporadically) on.

And now here we were back in the state we love and staying with friends and looking for houses and one of the kids knocked my knitting off the table in my room and a needle went MIA. One of the last of the two pointy needles. Of course. We went over the room with a fine tooth comb when we moved everything out, and still no needle. I substituted a Clover, but it wasn't the same. The yarn made a raspier sound as it moved along the needle.

Then, as I was unpacking a Styrofoam cooler of bathroom odds and ends (don't ask) I decided the best thing to do would be to tip the random cotton balls and Q-tips that had escaped their boxes into the trash. Something thin, brown, and beautifully pointy came rolling out too, and my hand caught it before it hit the bin; before my eyes had told my brain what was happening, even.

What other omen does a bistickual crafter need? This will be a happy home. Thank you, dear landlady, for moving early. I don't think I would have survived another two weeks of mismatched needles.

But the hands were doing double duty for me even the week before we moved. I mentioned how my brain and my hands were at war over the Shetland Lace socks. My solution was to (timidly) email the designer the following very confusing query:


I'm knitting your pattern for the Shetland Lace socks and have loved it so far. Very well-written!

I have a quick question though, as these are only the second pair of socks I have knit.

I'm knitting on 3 dpns (because I like imitating a porcupine) and have the stitches even distributed with 20 on each needle, and that pattern had me consider the stitch marker as the center of the heel. With my last sock pattern, then, I moved stitches so that I used only one needle while doing the heel. This meant moving the end stitches from the heel needles onto each of the other two needles so that I had the correct number of stitches for the heel and the instep.

For your pattern, however, will I have to do it differently? Especially since you specify that the purl stitch needs to be moved to make the 29/31 split. With the last socks, I did basic ribbing so there wasn't any worry about altering the pattern. But with the lace, I want to be careful that I do not alter anything if it will effect the look of the sock.

Sorry that this is not very clear. I'm relatively new to all this and kind of knitting in isolation, though I did just find a great LYS where I moved to, so as soon as I get unpacked... Thanks for your help and for creating such a beautiful pattern.


(well, me, of course)

Somehow, from that maze of confusion, the designer, who should be sainted or knighted or at the very least be gifted a lifetime supply of warm cookies, responded quickly and clearly:

Oh how I wish we could just sit down together for a minute or two. It would be so much easier than trying to explain.

Well, here goes. If this still doesn't make sense, we can try again.

In the pattern, one circular needle is the instep and the other is the heel.

The easiest way to convert this to double points is to use two needles for the heel and two for the instep instead of splitting it into thirds like you have it. With four double points you can pretty much follow the pattern as written using 2 dps = 1 circular.

A second option using three needles, when you get to the heel, put the heel stitches on one needle and the instep stitches on two needles.

The purpose of the 31/29 split is to center the lace panel down the instep of the sock. Knowing that should help you figure out stitch placement.


Reading that should be quite clear, but the minute my brain tried to envision, it began to second guess itself, a sure sign that mental lock down would be commencing. My hands came to the rescue once again. They quietly hushed my brain and, using the pale Clover needle to advantage, inserted it into the knitting directly after needle number one. They slipped stitches from one needle to another, splitting the numbers evenly, then slipped the last stitch on the left as called for. My eyes and brain blinked, then thought, "Oh, that's it? Why didn't the hands tell us earlier?"

(The hands probably would have, if the brain hadn't been so pushy and know-it-all.)

But right now the hands don't have time to make the sign language equivalent of nah nah na nah nah to the brain. The hands, which have been feeling rather cocky due to their moments of cleverness and dexterity, are now paying the price for their pride.

My mother repacked several boxes, mostly belonging to Thing 2 and mostly squashed, as Thing 2's boxes included lots of airy spaces. My mum valiantly pulled boxes apart and repacked while the rest of us loaded up the ABF freight truck with other items.

Now, my mother is a woman who can pack. Seriously. She can fit things into one small space that even those sadists who squash sleeping bags and tents into coverings that a normal human can never get back over the rerolled bag or refolded tent would envy.

She's also a woman who managed to slip in a good deal of extras in her "repacking of your things, dear."
Finding the mixing bowls and measuring utensils was a lovely surprise. I adore baking, and my mother knows that. And really, can one have too many measuring spoons? I think not.

I was a bit more perplexed, I'll admit, by this:

Call me stupid, but it wasn't even the stuffed cow that caught my eye first. I recognized the Tupperware and the thermos (probably because I'd seen them at my parents for years), and stared at the mini-food processor. I hadn't bought that, had I? I mean, I was happy to have it, but still. Where did I get that?

Then a Thing passed by and said, "Cool stuffed cow. His name's Joe. " A Thingish hand reached out, then paused, considering. "I can have him, right?"

And that's when the Tupperware dropped. Only a Nana would pack a cow with kitchen stuff.

And only a Nana would stow away extra bedding for a family on a budget. She was generous to a fault. The only problem is that she had forgotten that she had done similar for me sometime between the births of Thing 3 and Thing 4. I already had a largish box of the last bunch of sheets and blankets she bequeathed me. Rather very largish.

Dust gets into boxes on long moves, and Thing 4's dust allergy is not one to brook much of any sort of dust. This meant washing. Lots of washing. And for the poor hands, folding a stack of sheets and pillowcases that came out almost as tall as Thing 4, who is slightly taller than average for his age.

So, if anyone has any ideas on what to do with a billion sheets and limited sheet closet space, my hands and I would be ever so grateful. I mean, I live in a one-story house. It's not like I could even use them to heroically lower Things to safety in the event of a fire. Given the short distance to from a first floor window to the ground, all I'd have to do is chuck them out the window.

(Note: next ramble will be lots shorter. Promise.)


Marguerite said...

So glad you got the sock figured out.

Congrats on the new house. Hope you're all settled in and feeling at home soon.

SunshineDreams said...

Thanks Marguerite! Couldn't have done it without your explanation :).

We are settling in. There's only one box left in the house. I'm so sick of boxes, though, that I have been avoiding it...