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What Knitting Is

The thing about knitting is…well, actually I’ve started that sentence umpteen times, always with a different ending.  Knitting is so many things to me that it gets a bit weird if I start trying to list them all.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember the good things that knitting is for me — comforting, fascinating, intriguing and exciting — when it’s being one of the bad things — exasperating, aggravating, impossible and insulting. Thus it was the other night.  Behold:

If you ever wanted evidence of Resistentialism, there’s some for you right there.  I got all the way up to the ribbing at the top (I knit socks toe-up) — and I made some rockin’ good time with this sock, too, having knit all the way from the heel to the top in one evening while playing poker with some friends — and realised I didn’t have enough stitches to work 2×2 ribbing.  I examined the leg carefully: no dropped stitches there.  I squinted at the heel, turning it this way and that into the light to have a closer peer, and saw that all was in order there.  And then I happened to glance further.  Hell’s bells.  On the picture above, where I’ve written “guh.”, was a cowardly, snivelling little dropped stitch.  The only reason it hadn’t dropped any further and destabilised the entire sock was that it had split and snagged on some other yarn, stopping it in its lousy, stinking tracks. That needle that I’ve slipped in underneath the heel is my unravelling-catcher.  I pulled out the needles from the top and simply unravelled the whole thing down to that point.

I’m trying to be mature and move on, but it was just such an insult to have to unravel alllll the way from the ribbing, down the leg, past the heel (dammit, that was such a nice heel, too) and back onto the foot and then rescue the stupid, crappy stitch and work back up.  I redid the heel then and there and got to bed late, with one seriously cramping hand.  I have been firm with the sock and informed that this is the second major unravelling it has had — although I am a fair master and acknowledged that the first major unravelling had to take place because I’d simply forgotten what I’d done the first time around and no hope of reverse engineering a matching mate for it.  However, I gave it a fairly serious talking-too all the same, hoping to scare it into good behaviour by warning it of all the other sock yarns I’ve got that I’ve never had to unravel, and how too many froggings can weaken sock yarn and render it unknitable.  I think it’s done the job.

But deep down, I love, love, love this yarn and the socks it’s making.  And what’s more, I know in my heart, despite my firmness and despite its occasional burst of rebellion, that this yarn loves me back and wants me to have lovely Watermelon socks.  And that’s why we’re still together: we’ve addressed the difficulty, worked through it and moved on.   That’s what knitting is for me right now — something that always presents new challenges and growth opportunities.

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