Cruel

I’m not sure what I’ve done to so anger the knitting fates, but let me tell you – they seriously have it in for me.

First it was Girasole. I’ve been knitting away at it since I finished my Christmas knitting. When I got to the third chart, I thought, “Wow, you’d think I’d be getting faster with my needles. How odd that it takes me more than 20 minutes to do a round (320 stitches)…” When I got to the fourth chart, I thought, “Wow, it sure seems like I’m doing this boring little 4-stitch repeat a lot more than 80 times…” When I got to row 10 of the fourth chart, I got a little worried. By my calculations, I had more than 38,000 stitches to go, having completed about 12,000 stitches to that point. And I was already starting my fifth ball of yarn out of the 10 I’d purchased for this project. But I merrily knit on, knowing that I have a very bad track record when it comes to how much yarn is required (see Fascine Braid Socks and February Lady Sweater posts).

At row 14, I finally tracked down a pair of 60″ circular needles, and proceeded to move my lovely blanket off of the short pair. Once I had the stitches mostly-evenly distributed, I laid the afghan out on my bed, and called my husband in to admire my work. “Look,” I said, “it’s even lovely from the back!” because I’d finally managed to control my tension and make all of the stitches the same size.

Then, for reasons I can’t explain, I counted the leaves at the center of the blanket (this would be the part knit whilst I was pontificating the possible reasons for my slower-than-molasses knitting). I should have had 20. When I got to the 20th leaf, I wasn’t even half way around the blanket. Holy crap!

I know that my mistake started somewhere in chart A (back when there were only 80 stitches in each round), but I can’t for the life of me identify what happened.

Luckily, my mom bought me a ball winder for Christmas, so I was able to re-wind 1100 yards of yarn in no time at all (by the way, watching 1100 yards worth of knitting unravel, intentionally, because you screwed up is one of the most heartbreaking, yet beautiful things ever. The yarn I knotted in ever increasing circles seemed to jump joyously back into ball form). Then I took my yarn, and the needles, and the pattern, and I put them into my knitting chest to “rest” until I am stable enough to try it again.

But all was not lost (well, all was lost for Girasole; but that’s not the only stick I’ve got in the fire). I started over on the Alpaka Tunic from Interweave Knits Fall 2009 that I’m making for my daughter. I’d misinterpreted the chart so many times that I had stopped making a sweater and started making a jumble of yarn that wouldn’t, in the end, make either of us happy. This time, in order to practice with the chart a bit, I’ve started with the sleeves, which only have one pattern repeat, and are only 30 or so rows long. I finished the first one yesterday at the bookstore, and I was looking forward to getting the second one cast on today during lunch.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what happened to that plan? Please note the time of this post (obviously written around lunch time), and the use of the phrase “…was looking forward…” in the previous paragraph. Well, I have my yarn. I have my pattern.

But I have no needles.

So, if anyone knows why the knitting fates are ticked off at me, please share the reason with me so I can make amends. This is getting old, and I’d really like to knit something (anything) this evening.

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Well, that didn’t last long

My focus is, to put it mildly, not so good. I believe it was Wednesday when I said I’d do my best to keep to just the shawl and the sock. Remember? Well.

Last night between work and Knit Night (when I really should have been hunting down something yummy to contribute), I went instead to a new to me yarn store. I really wasn’t looking for anything. I’d just never been to this one, and felt I should try it out. What a frustrating store! None of the yarn had price tags…I eventually stumbled across a price list, organized by the name of the yarn (Malabrigo Lace was under “Lace”) rather than brand, and some weren’t listed at all. Of course, this small inconvenience didn’t stop me from making a purchase. Observe…

malabrigo Lace in Butter

I bought two hanks, and then asked the clerk if she could wind them for me or, if she was too busy, if she’d let me use her winder to do it myself. That’s when it happened…I’ll not be returning to this store. 

Her response to my request was: “I have a swift you can use, but I don’t have a winder. You’ll have to wind it by hand.”

Huh? What kind of yarn store doesn’t have a winder? I’d just bought 940 yards of yarn, and was going to have to wind it by HAND? 

I know, this is kind of a wimpy response. Surely this is how people of yore wound their yarn. But 940 yards? I don’t mind winding some DK or worsted weight yarn by hand. Heck, I’ve even done my RSC yarn by hand. But that’s because I either forgot to have it done at the store or (in the case of the RSC yarn) it was mailed to me and I didn’t feel comfortable asking to use a winder at a store where I hadn’t purchase the yarn. 

After I’d wound one hank and was getting ready to leave, I asked her the question I’d been pondering for the half hour it took me to wind up all that yarn into a non-center pull ball (I lost control of my center pretty early in the process). “Why do you not have a winder? Did yours break?”

Her response:

“I am usually here alone, and can’t help customers if I’m always winding yarn.” OK, this is understandable, if not well thought out. Couldn’t she just have the winder available so if a customer needed some yarn wound they could do it themselves? I’ve used winders at other stores, where there was a single person working who was too busy to do it for me, and it wasn’t rocket science. You put the yarn on the swift, thread the end through the little loops, attach it to the slit of the winder, then turn the handle until there’s no yarn left on the swift. (At some point during our conversation, I even offered, if she had any in stock, to purchase a winder from her and donate it to all of her future customers) Then she gave me a withering look (maybe it wasn’t exactly “withering”…this misinterpretation could very well have been caused by my aching arms and the fact that her store was getting a trifle warm. I wasn’t exactly in my normal wool induced good mood), and said, “There’s nothing wrong with winding a ball of yarn by hand.”

I’m guessing she doesn’t use a lot of lace weight.