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February 8, 2005

Joining the yarn, casting on, and Bob's your uncle

Dilemma struck last night.

I was knitting obsessively on the sofa and at 11 p.m. I knitted all the way through my skein of yarn. I had another skein just sitting there.

But, uh, how do you begin the new ball of yarn?

I couldn't *stop* knitting and go to bed and wait until my next class (many, many days away!) and the store was closed and the cats were not forthcoming with tips so you see my quandary. Unconcerned that it was late and that other people have lives and whatnot, I called Shannon in a flurry and after our phone consultation (and a sigh that may or may not mean she regrets the monster she has created) I finally sort of overlapped the tails and knit them in. It's not perfect, but it worked and I continued in a frenzy.

Tonight after work I decided to stop by the local yarn shop near my house to see if they had any Filatura di Crosa Tokyo yarn for my scarf since I am a apparently a knitting maniac and have knitted all the way through the yarn I bought on Saturday. This is Tuesday. I can do the math, and I do not plan on being yarnless on a Wednesday night with nothing to do but finally unpack the mountain of boxes in my guest room. Nosiree and Bob's your uncle.

My beginner scarf is coming together and I feel it may be a masterpiece. All the neat little rows, the way the yarn hooks together to make fabric. It is rather wider than I thought and I may have a slight hole on the left but no matter. I must knit, must keep needles moving. I NEED MORE YARN.

The closest yarn shop is a small neighborhood place, and inside it's so packed and narrow I worried I might get stuck between the bins. The owner of the store is a tiny, knitting Erma Bombeck. Erma Bombeckish. She's very tidy and cute, but all business. All yarn business. She and her mother run the shop and make all the creations sold inside.

I asked if they offered knitting classes and the owner looked at me, in that way people have of sizing you up, and I came out short.

"Well, if you purchase supplies here we'll show you what you need to know," she said. "Most people don't need a class. But if you really, REALLY need handholding we can sit with you.... for $25 an hour."

I found this very funny. She found me somewhat moronic. I think my exuberance was exhausting to her. This happens from time to time. I overtalk when I'm nervous, it's a compensatory thing.

The shop doesn't carry the Filatura di Crosa Tokyo yarn I need for my scarf but never one to leave a store empty-handed, I bought another pair of knitting needles (size 15 "Uncle Ronnie" needles) and two skeins of Crystal Palace Splash yarn that doesn't even look like yarn. I LOVE it. It's very shiny and fuzzy, exactly what beginners are cautioned to stay away from. But I have the knit stitch down pat (obsess obsess obsess and ye too shall learn to knit.) This stuff is like knitting a cat, it's all silky and fuzzy.


Erma Bombeckish's mom showed me how to cast on with frightening intensity. It was like having a nun stand over you weilding a knitting needle, only this nun was Jewish and wearing a Mickey Mouse wristwatch.

"You're doing it wrong."
"No, hold your yarn this way."
"Stop tugging."
"You beginners always hold the yarn too tightly."

In the end, this was best method of learning the two-tail cast on because I will NEVER FORGET casting on properly. I was so nervous and scared of wearing the knitting dunce cap that I concentrated like never before.

I practiced several times on my new fuzzy yarn. It's wonderful! If I keep buying yarn and needles I assume I can just continue on this path indefinitely, as I have no idea how to cast off and finish anything.

But I can cast on with the best of the best, yes I can.

Posted by laurie at February 8, 2005 11:44 AM