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So Far, So Good

September 12, 2005

I tried something new again this past weekend, and it went much better than the mountain biking of the weekend before–knitting, specifically knitting on a circular needle. I’ve knitted before, so it wasn’t entirely new to me, but it’s been twenty years, and I wasn’t exactly good at it. Quilting has proven to be a good outlet for all my creative urges, so I’ve only been a spectator in the recent knitting boom–looking at other people’s stuff and appreciating it but not tempted to try it myself.

Denise’s entry about her Griffyndor Prisoner of Azkaban scarf changed that. Here was another way to deal with my Harry Potter issues–making a scarf of my own would help occupy me until the movie comes out, and I’d also have a cool scarf when I was done. As I was mulling this idea, I realized that Bev was also working on a PoA scarf. It seemed like a sign (well, I know it’s probably not a sign but instead that mental phenomenon that once you’re tuned into something you start noticing more of them). Surely I could handle a scarf, especially if I could get Denise to help me.

And because she’s nice, Denise did help–a lot. On Saturday, we went to the yarn shop (which I’ve driven by I don’t know how many times without even noticing it, though even if I’d been looking I wouldn’t have been looking there, because I expected the Old Village Yarn Shop to be in Old Village, silly me) and she helped me pick out the yarn (Slytherin green and silver grey) and hunted down a circular needle for me. I was glad I didn’t have to deal with the yarn shop lady on my own–I sure didn’t feel at home there the way I do in a quilt shop. When we got back to my house, I got to play with Tess while Denise cast on and knit a few rows to get me started. I then needed a lesson, because I’d retained no knitting knowledge at all, so I watched carefully as she worked on her scarf and tried to do the same.

It’s probably just as well that I remembered nothing from last time, because last time is what resulted in the sweater of shame. As I mentioned, this was about twenty years ago, so the image quality is not the best (digital camera? what’s that? my 110 works just fine), but that’s okay because the problems with the sweater are not hard to spot:

Can you say “did not check her gauge”? This was supposed to be a crewneck sweater for me; the fact that it’s almost off the shoulder on Mr. Karen–who’s five inches taller than I am–gives you an idea of how far off I was. Had I been a linebacker in the NFL perhaps it would have fit me, but as it was, I ended up donating it hoping someone might get some use out of it. It’s times like these that I really wish I had a searchable index for my paper journals–perhaps I explained why I just kept knitting when it had to be obvious that the pieces were way too big. Yay for me for finishing what I started, but wouldn’t it have been smarter to stop, get some smaller needles, and start over? I don’t know what I was thinking.

Fortunately, gauge is not critical with a scarf, and it’s a good thing, too, because I found I’ve got the opposite problem from the sweater–I’m getting about 6 stitches and 7 rows to the inch rather than the 5 and 6 called for by the pattern. Oh well, I’ll just have a narrower, shorter scarf–that’ll make it unique, right?

Here’s my progress so far–two sets of bars done, twelve more to go; so far it looks okay, with no big holes appearing where the color changes or where I had to join a new strand of the green:

The big question is: which will come first, my finishing the scarf or the opening of Goblet of Fire on November 18th? Smaller questions: will it be cold enough that weekend for me to wear the scarf without melting and will I need to buy a new coat to complement it? Stay tuned.

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