02 November, 2008

In Which Knitting Finally Kicks My Butt

I don't know who these Norwegians think they are, but knitting shouldn't be this hard.

Throughout these past ten and a half months of my knitting life, whenever I've been about to embark upon learning a new technique, I thought it would be hard. At first I thought purling would be hard. Ha. Then I thought increasing and decreasing would be hard—I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that you could add or take away stitches. Knitting in the round, knitting on DPNs, knitting socks, knitting cables... I thought they all would be hard, but after doing them for a few hours I realized that none of them are as hard as I thought they would be.

Then I took this Selbu class. Well, before I took this Selbu class, I took another stranded mitten class to knit these mittens, and it just didn't seem that hard. That is, until I got home and realized that I had been knitting Kevlar. Really. I know that there are no vital organs in one's hands, but if the U.S. military or Secret Service ever finds a need to protect their paws, they should just have me knit them some mittens. My mitten is knit so tightly I'm pretty sure it could stop a bullet. I can barely get my hand into it. Wunderinstructor Janeen says this is common among first-time stranded knitters and "these things can be blocked out."

Will she or won't she be able to get her hand into the mitten?

Only with a very firm tug.

Scooter in the background, wanting to attack an evil urban squirrel that is taunting him through the window.

Back to the Selbu mittens. They are harder because the yarn is finer. They are harder because the pattern is more intricate. The pattern I am working, from Terri Shea's Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition:

And of course, I'm still contending with using both hands to knit, holding one color in each hand. Have I mentioned before that I'm very, very right-handed? My left hand is good for two things: holding stuff and typing. That's about it. I tried to throw a piece of candy with my left hand to a student in Spanish class the other day, and it veered way off course. Kids and I had a good laugh over it. Soy muy, muy diestra.

But I was doing well in Selbu class yesterday. I had learned a new cast-on and learned how to turn a hem so that you can't see the cast-on. Look... pretty.

I had knitted a pretty, lacy cuff. The lace pulled in the hem to make it look scalloped. Look... pretty.

And I had started the hand. When I got to the stranded part, Janeen directed me to knit the mitten inside out. That way, the strands would be a little looser and the inside circumference would be a little longer, sort of how the outside circumference of a track is longer than its inside circumference. Kevlar problem solved, right?

Right. Last night I came home from class and had a few more rows to knit as homework. I thought, "Let's see if the mitten is too hard to get over my hand." I turned it right side out, pulled it over my hand, and PERFECT! It's snug, but it's stretchy, so I didn't have to ease my hand in with a shoehorn like I do with the other mitten.

And that's when I noticed that something is rotten in state of Norway. Very, very rotten.

See the center of the chevron pattern of the cuff?

See the center stitch of the hand pattern?


The picture of the mittens in the Selbuvotter book, knit as they should be.

Do you think I might have noticed the not-lining-up part sooner had the mitten not been turned inside out while I was knitting it?

Does anyone know how to say "D'oh!" in Norwegian?


Carol said...

Liddle Jeeves can't handle Scandanavian stuff-her Italian/German heritage can't cope!

Jeevers said...

Funny blog (as usual!)

Helle said...

I know! Its really hard to knit "Selbuvotter". Last year I tried, but I had to give up on them. I was stuck when I came to the thumb or "tommel" as we call it. (My grandmother had to finish the rest of the mittens). Its nice to put on a pair of "Selbuvotter", especially when its cold. Like where I live, in Norway :)

Bye from Helle

PS: You can actually say "D'oh" in Norwegian. -and pardon my written English. I'm only 18 :)

Anonymous said...

I know I'm answering a five year old blog, but I'm a little slow. I just had to say, you really have a great sense of humor and are blessed with the ability to put it into words. Thanks for the chuckle, and I hope the Selbuvottern fit ok.