Sunday, March 11, 2007

Knitting seems to work

My Knitting
Originally uploaded by girl_of_bats.
An eventful and highly enjoyable day yesterday. I had arranged to go over to Norwich and meet a friend to go shopping and generally spend a bit of time together.

At about 9am, the Scarf In A Bag kit mentioned in my previous post arrived. It wasn't precisely what I was expecting - I had an idea in my head of there being a cheap but durable bag, with handles, maybe with a zip, which I could use to carry my knitting around. It turned out to be more "Scarf In A Plastic Packet". Still, the plastic packet did contain everything it was supposed to, so I decided that I would take it with me and learn how to knit while on the train.

So I did, as you can see. There were a couple of false starts while I was trying to cast on, and when I finally got my fingers and wool and needle in the right places and made the first stitch, then I couldn't remember what I'd done, and needed several more attempts at the next stitch. But after that it was really easy, just repeated the same actions until I had the right number of stitches to be getting on with.

The "pattern" for the scarf is not exciting. You just keep going and going and going with the same basic stitch until you run out of wool. Sounds good to me, it makes sense that before I try anything else I should be able to do the basic stitches in my sleep.

Mind you, it's still made a good attempt to confuse.

As a non-knitter it took a while to decipher this:

"Work in garter stitch (every row knit), noting first row is a WS row, until you have sufficient yarn remaining of the 2nd ball to enable you to cast off, ending with RS facing for next row. Cast off knitways."

Knitways? WS? RS facing? Did I neglect to buy the Collins English/Knitterish Dictionary?

There's also absolutely no indication, anywhere, of the correct manner in which to change from the end of the first ball of wool, to the beginning of the second. The obvious solution seems to be to tie the two together, but I don't want to make a big ugly knot in the middle of the scarf, and given that I was never a Girl Scout it is likely that such a knot, tied by me, would lead to an extremely weak point in the scarf, which would eventually undo itself and unravel the entire thing.

That's odd, because the instructions and diagrams for Casting On, Knit Stitch, and Casting Off are really, really clear and simple and easy to understand.

Anyway, I had quite a few respectable rows done (and still the same number of stitches as I started with) by the time the train pulled into Norwich.

Once again, I'd like to praise the wonderful service that is Norwich Shopmobility at Chapefield. Friendly, helpful, efficient, and two minutes and £1.50 later I was impressing my friend with my amazing driving skills. It was nice to be going shopping with a girly friend - Pip is wonderful, but a man in his late 20s fielding an energetic two year old is not an ideal partner for a disabled woman who wants to get clothes.

I wasn't feeling well enough to be able to try on any skirts or trousers, but I tried on and bought a couple of tops which I really liked. After a while I couldn't get on and off the scooter any more to go into shops, so I sat in Castle Mall enjoying a smoothie (banana and strawberry, mmmm!) and looking after the bags while my friend went in and out of shops. Then we went to the train station to have a cuppa and fill time until the next train home. It was marvellous to have a giggle and a chat, and while my exhaustedness meant I was glad to get on the train to head home, I did feel sorry that I couldn't stick around longer, get dinner and stuff.

Getting from my flat to Lowestoft train station is easy. You go straight downhill towards the river, along with the flow of the one-way northbound traffic, cross the bridge, and you're pretty much there. Taxi fare about £4. Getting back, from the train station to my flat, is another matter, particularly since the corresponding one-way road for southbound traffic is currently closed, along with many others. Last time I had to get a taxi home from the north side of the bridge (just over a week ago), what should have been about a £5 fare was more like £9, and it wasn't because the taxi driver was messing about - all the roads we wanted were closed.

But, it's not like I have a lot of choice in the matter. So when the train arrived at Lowestoft, I got in a cab, told the driver where I wanted to go, and when he pulled a face, explained that I knew the roads were snarled up and it would cost over the odds and that it wasn't important, I trusted whatever route he felt was best. At that point he amazed me by saying "Call it a fiver? That's about what it would normally cost, after all." and he turned the meter off. I felt kind of bad about it, but apparently a lot of the cab drivers are getting rather upset about having to effectively overcharge people. So I thanked him, and was happy.

Needless to say, today I am in a total state. Leaving my bed only to go to the loo or get a drink, and that crawling, crying in the half-hour before the Next Dose of painkillers, the lot. It's taken several hours to compose this blog entry. But it was really really worth it, because I had a great day.

Edited a couple of minutes after posting to correct a bit of grammar and add tags.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck!!! Looks great so far.

Mary said...


Anonymous said...

Shame about the return journey. Congrats on the knitting :-). To change wool, you leave longish ends on the ending and starting wool, then you thread them through the wrong side using a sewing needle. Hope that makes sense!

May be useful

Mary said...

ooh yes, that link might well be useful. Thanks! But I'm afraid I can't make sense of your changing wool instruction. I mean, I get the idea of having a long end-y-bit for the end of ball 1 and the start of ball 2, and I get the idea of sewing these end-y-bits into the scarf to make it all neat and tidy, but I'm still rather at sea for how to actually DO the changeover, how to start knitting with ball 2 without creating a weak point by knotting them together.

The roads are crap but to be honest the unprompted niceness of the taxi driver made my mood when I got home quite a bit better than it might otherwise have been :)

The Goldfish said...

Glad you had a lovely day, Mary.

My sister has started knitting in motherhood. She started off trying to knit mittens. I asked her how this was going and she said, "Well, something went wrong somewhere the mittens have turned into a scarf now, but it doesn't matter."

So she started the project again. A few days later. "Well, I decided the baby could really do with another scarf."

She abandoned mittens and started on a cardigan. A few days into this, "Well, it's Adrian's birthday soon, and I thought it would be really nice if he had a scarf to match the baby's."

She has since managed a pair of almost matching and oh-so-flattering woolen hats for Adrian and Alex, which you can see them modelling here.

Mary said...

You forgot the usual caveat about "any excuse for a pic" ;-)

My mum was one of those who started knitting when pregnant. She says the first few things she made were patterns that just involved knitting several simple smallish squares of various sizes, nice and easy, and then sewing them together in whatever way. Wouldn't work too well for an adult, as "flattering shapes" wasn't a major feature, but for baby-sized jumpers it was quite effective.

It must have been a good start because the last thing she knitted was this jumper.

erasmus (aka jiva) said...

Your instructions are saying, knit until you have less than 1 row left of wool and STOP. Then knot the two balls together at the end of a row so it guarantees you don't have a honking great knot right in the middle of your scarf getting on your nerves. Then once finished you can weave the ends in. It is the easy way, and then you can double knot it without it showing up too much. Oh and thank you too for a great day out, sorry you had to spend the day recovering but you've made me very happy saying it was worth it.

Mary said...

ah, yes, that makes sense. Cos if the knot is at the side, it'll be out of the way, and if the knot has long ends that are secured into the knitting, it's less likely to undo itself.

Nevertheless, I've arranged to do that bit at mum's house with her supervision, just in case I cock it all up - don't want to lose everything I've done already!