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Knitting Lacey Shawls for Beginners – Part Drei

Hello everybody.  In today’s Knitting Lacey Shawls for Beginners, I’d ilke to touch on a serious note.  Something nobody wants to talk about.  But I think it’s important to discuss.  Everybody sit down and hold hands.

Most of us know how to rescue a dropped stitch or two; I keep a fine crochet hook in my hambag for serious challenges, although I prefer to work without one if I can (for I am awkward crochet hook wielder).  I can even repair lace, although it’s tough and takes lots of squinting.  I can estimate where the k2togs and YOs are meant to be, with greater or lesser success, and can usually bring things back together in a convincing fashion. (Although I’m really not up to this standard. Christ almighty.)  Feeling confident? Good.  Still holding hands? Good.

This happened:

You might need to click that one to get a closer look.  Sit down first.  That, sweet readers, is the scene of one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me while knitting: the cord of my circular needle has plum popped out of the end of the needle.  When this happens, you will notice the following symptoms:

  1. Heart palpitations, obviously. I’m having them right now, just thinking about it.
  2. Breathlessness.
  3. A sense of shock and cold hands.
  4. A sense of betrayal and outrage.
  5. A strong urge to fling your knitting lest the horror is somehow contagious and your fingers are going to start popping out of their sockets (do fingers have sockets?).

For me, this is a truly shocking thing: I think it’s because I think of my needles as, more or less, extensions of my own hands, for one to break is a startling and scary event.

The correct response to this situation is not, contrary to your immediate impulses, to sob or shred your work, all the while penning an angry and rambling letter you intend to eventually send to anybody even vaguely related to the manufacture of said needles.

The correct response is to breathe deeply and firmly squeeze your fingers underneath the affected area (which is identifiable by the panicky-looking spare loops sticking up, definitely not on a needle) and carefully rescue them.  You can do this by looping them back, one by one, onto either the cable or the needle end.  This is hard, and it’s very difficult to trust the needle and the cable again. I know.  I’ve been there.  But trust me.  Do it carefully, one by one, until they’re all secure and unlikely to unravel.  Now breathe, and try and reconnect the needle and cable.  All back? Good.  Take a breath, take a break.

Now, you might need to have a short rest here.  That’s fine, perfectly normal. I wouldn’t dream of pointing out that this first happened to me at a time I really didn’t have a spare circular needle and couldn’t afford another one and had to knit the rest of the project with a dodgy needle popping off every so often. That would be boasting.  Feeling ready?  Now, you have to make some choices: different set of needles or keep on truckin’? Repair the needle with a squeeze of superglue or bin it in disgust?

I’m not here to answer those questions for you.  Now that I’ve eased you through the fearful process of rescuing those poor stitches, I encourage you to make those decisions yourself, as part of the recovery.  Hold my hand.  There we go.

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