Thursday, June 02, 2005

The couple that knits together...

My husband's first knitting project has begun.

Last night I demonstrated knitting in the round with DPNs so he could get an idea of what was involved. I hadn't even finished the first row of my demonstration when he announced that he would not be trying his hand at knitting in the round at this time. :) Personally, I don't really blame him. I find DPNs awkward enough at the best of times - why inflict the frustration on someone for their first project.

So I rewrote the pattern for flat knitting, adding selvedge stitches for the sewing-up. Then it was time to start. Sadly, I could only find one of my aluminum 4.5mm needles (the other one must be in a project somewhere), so that left us with some imperfect choices of what needles to work with. There were my very long Brittany 4.5mm straights. There were a few 4.5mm circular needles. And there were some 4.5mm DPNs that I could convert to straights by putting point protectors on the ends.

The problem with the Brittany straights was that, well, they're my really good Brittany needles! I found myself feeling pretty overprotective of them. I didn't think DH working flat on a circular would be a great idea, because he's still having issues with stitch tension, and the last thing we want is for him to not be able to slide the stitches back from the wire to the needle when it's time to work with them. And lastly, the DPN-to-straights conversion would work okay for the body of the club covers, but when it comes time to expand the work out to 82 stitches, there's no way they're all going to fit on the needles.

We ran through the options, and DH expressed great trepidation about using my Brittanys. "But they're your really good needles!" he protested. (What a sweetie.) He was really nervous he would break them. But I pointed out that Brittany has a replacement guarantee if their needles break, and anyway - here I took a very deep breath - I was happy to lend them to him. Really. I was okay with it. (More deep breaths as my resolve to be a generous and easy-going person was sorely tried.)

So he went with the Brittanys.

I showed him how to cast on, then handed the work over to him and watched him struggle to cast on several stitches. The Brittanys just weren't doing it for him. There was too much friction.

So we went with Plan B - DPNs converted to straights through the magic of point protectors. (Heaven only knows what will happen when he gets to the increased rows - I'll have to suck it up and find my other 4.5mm aluminum straight, I guess.) This worked much better for DH. He found the knitting to be far smoother and easier with the needle change.

So away he went. I returned to my role as instructor when he finished casting on and started the first row. It had been a lot of weeks since his last go at knitting, so he needed a tiny bit of a refresher on how to knit and purl. But pretty soon he was off and running (albeit slowly) in 2x2 ribbing. When he finished his first row, I showed him how to use my row counter to keep track of how many rows he'd worked. He liked this idea.

By bedtime, he'd finished two rows:

Yep, it's black.

Not long after he started the project, I realised my mistake. What kind of an idiot gives a newbie knitter dark coloured yarn for their first project? Me, apparently. I apologized to DH and warned him that the colour would make it really hard for him to see his stitches and figure out what he was doing. He seemed okay with this, but that's because he hasn't experienced the frustration yet of wanting to know what his work looks like but not being able to tell. You won't be able to tell, either. I feel pretty darn dumb.

We shall see. He's very keen on the project so far, and started in on it again this morning first chance he got. I may have created a monster. :) Stay tuned.

Striped socks for DH
Behold! Here is what the sock looked like this morning before my commute:

The leg is noticeably bigger now, and I have begun the top ribbing. There is a chance that sock #1 might actually be complete by the time I arrive home tomorrow evening! Of course, I realise that by putting that down in writing, I have tempted the knitting gods, and sock #1 will probably meet with a horrendous accident (e.g. fire, wild dogs with sharp teeth, badly aimed scissors, my own knitting incompetence, etc.) tomorrow evening when it is within five stitches of being completed. But hey, I like to live dangerously.
Celtic cable sweater for baby MacDonald
Work continues, very slowly. I'm about two inches away from the bottom of the armscyes. This sounds great, except that I realised I don't remember what kind of neck shaping I wanted to do for the sweater. Sorta important information to know, eh? Especially since I think I wanted to do a cowl-neck, which means starting the neck shaping very low down. I'd better figure this out pronto.

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