Saturday, 29 November 2008

Maximum effort for minimum effect

Two nights ago when I was home alone, I spent a couple of hours cursing mercerised cotton and tiny needles. I bought this book a while back and thought I'd have a go at the doily on the front, which looks remarkably like the Hemlock doily pattern, at least in the centre.

Yes, I want to make a doily. I believe I used to think doilies were unbelievably twee and pointless and well, I'm still not sure they have a place in my home decor, but I want to try making one.

After two hours, I threw the lot down and started crocheting one instead (the one I showed in the last blog post) but that wasn't satisfying. I've done that sort of crochet before. I wanted to knit fine lace and I wanted it immediately.

I tried again this morning, freshly armed with some advice from Julie that I should use the long tail cast on in different coloured thread, and rest it on something for stability. It worked.

I found using bamboo needles (2.25mm/US size 1) also helped. It was less slippery.

Here it is after the first couple of plain knit rounds. I felt like I was flying. Up up and away at last.
And a few rows and increases later, it's a little bigger. It was starting to feel a lot more stable by then.

Don't think I'm going to leave the red cotton there, making it look like a bullseye. Julie says you undo that later on and finish it off like the centre of a hat, making it firm and secure. 

It looks like a little cap, huh? So cute. I'm further along now, and think I've screwed it up, but if I need to rip it out, that's ok. I now know what I'm doing and hell, I might even do a better job.

One thing I will say about this kind of knitting, which is the tiniest knitting I've ever undertaken, is that it's anything but relaxing. I find myself clenching my whole body while I'm concentrating on some fiddly work. I didn't realise until I stopped knitting after an hour or so this afternoon that I was tense; rigid might even be more accurate. 

This can't be a good way to knit. Clearly I'll need to do this in short bursts until I'm more at ease with it. Still, that rigidity was sorted out with an hour or so in the garden before the rain hit. 

Doilies and gardening. Who'd have ever predicted this is what I'd be by 36? The thought makes me chuckle.