Do you know that feeling when you take your knitting (or crochet) somewhere, only to return later with less of it than you had when you left home?
No? Just me, then?
Hang on, I know it’s not just me because sometimes at knit-night in the pub, a friend∗ is overheard muttering, “Aargh, I’m three stitches short again!” before yanking out her needles and ripping away three hours’-worth of intricate cabling. This definitely, definitely has nothing to do with the wine or gin that we’ve been drinking. But it’s particularly likely to happen when the rival knitting group is also in residence. The rest of us wince as we watch a pile of yarn with that distinctive unravelled curl grow beside the poor knitter. We’re not smug, because we’ve all been there and we feel her frustration. Even the members of the rival knitting group aren’t gloating. “Next week I’m bringing a garter stitch washcloth,” she sighs. We all know that this won’t happen, because knitting is like childbirth: the agony and frustration and vows of NEVER EVER AGAIN are soon forgotten, only to be replaced by thoughts of, Ooh, wouldn’t it be fun to knit one of those heirloom lace shawl thingies that’s three miles wide but fits through a wedding ring.∗∗
Anyway the reason that I raise the subject of diminishing knitting/crochet is because of what happened last week when the twinnage, the Stoic Spouse, and I cancelled work, loaded up the stink-wagon, and headed down south-west for four days to stay in a beautiful old cottage on the Devon coast for some serious
yarn holiday-time. Since I was in charge of packing for everyone except the Stoic Spouse, we took a lot of knitting with us. (Yeah, yeah, I also threw in a few children’s toys and a change of socks, because it’s not as though I’m yarn-obsessed or anything crazy like that…) Devon was lovely, thank you for asking. The cottage had a cute courtyard that was eminently suitable for yarnery:-
I mentioned a while back that a good friend and I are working on writing a knit/crochet book together, and I thought these few days away would be a good chance to work hard on one of the patterns for this. I apologize now for how thoroughly irritating I’m going to be in the coming months dangling hints of projects in front of you without (yet) giving you the flippin’ patterns to make them, but it’s hard to know how else to proceed, and I will try to create other new things WITH free patterns for you, too. At least I can safely show you my disasters so that you can have a good belly-laugh at my expense. I can most certainly reveal that whilst this pattern is for something small, the amount of knitting that has gone into its various prototypes is so large that I could have knitted a planet-warmer for the entire world in the same time.
Still, I got to knit (and rip out) various versions in some very pleasant settings.
I knitted out at sea:-
And the Stoic Spouse kindly agreed to do most of the driving. Result!
Sadly, the twinnage vetoed us going on this wheel, so I can’t show you any photos of sky-high knitting:-
And as we scrambled over rocks and hills, my geological side was rather pleased to stumble upon some fossils. These are coral, if I’m not very much mistaken:-
But the problem was that no matter how much I knitted (and know-ye that I knitted a lot) I never quite achieved The Final Version of the pattern. When I tinkered successfully with one part, it caused knock-on effects on another part which then needed re-knitting from scratch. Never did so much knitting achieve so little.
But I’m almost there. I’m back home, and I have a version that’s not too shabby. Even though it is rather smaller than what I started out with.
∗ Don’t worry Alice, you shall remain nameless.
∗∗ Here’s a very naughty tip: if you’re going to agree to make one of those, only do so for someone whose fingers – and thus ring size – are on the larger size. And if they’re not possessed of suitably large proportions, keep offering them doughnuts in the run-up to the wedding.