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Mnemonix

All men look good in a tuxedo,
This is my mnemonic.
If you’ve had enough gin,
Go easy on the tonic.
– Kaz Cooke

That’s a poem I know that uses the word mnemonic.  Awesome word.  I love the double consonant combo at the beginning, causing those who are unfamiliar to falter.

I have a ludicrous memory. You know how stand-up comedians of a certain age start doing bits about walking to another room and forgetting why? I already do that. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’m already standing in the living room wondering why I’m there and where the hell’s my glass of wine anyway? I write down everything, or at least I try to, and have to stick to diaries and shopping lists like they’re life rafts in the sea of metaphor.

Take my knitting in-box. I call it that because it sounds neat and organised, as if I have some sort of plan for all the items in it. Actually, not one of the items fits inside it, so the box itself is filled with spools of ribbon, oddments, beaded stitch markers and my yarn scale, and the in-box tasks are piled generously on top of it in a spilling tower. Anyway, every now and again I have a good rummage and take them out one by one, purse my lips and try to remember where the hell I was up to in that pattern.  This has occasionally resulted in a project being left indefinitely on hold, because figuring out where I’m up to in that pattern would take too much effort, and yet I’m so far into it that I don’t want to unravel it yet.  So the project lives in some sort of weird continuum, waiting until such time that I’m so desperate for the yarn that I am happy to frog it.

Learning to read knitting has, as a result of this stupidly short memory, become a vital skill for me.  I may even dedicate a whole blog post to it, sometime, if I remember. I can’t emphasise too much the importance of being able to tell what a decrease/increase looks like, or identify where in the textured pattern you’re up to, or work out which direction the last cable crossed — all of these will let you proceed with a more or less confident stride if, like me, you tend to let your knits marinade for a while.

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