Thursday, January 12, 2006


Last night at Lettuce Knit, I laughed a lot. A lot a lot. Twice I laughed so hard that I began to cry. (Both of those times were totally Harlot Stephanie's fault. Oh, those hamsters.) All the company was wonderful, the conversation interesting, and much knitting was done. FANTASTIC time.

That was the emotional high of the last 24 hours.

Flash forward to this morning when I went into DD's room to start getting her ready for the day. It was immediately obvious that she was not keen on this concept. So I tried to entice her into a good mood by telling her how happy I was to be back in her company. "I missed you last night!" I told her.

"You can't miss me!" she commanded grumpily.

Then I made a mistake. "Why not?" I asked.

"Because I don't love you!" said she.

Yes, I know she didn't really mean it. Yes, I know she said it because she was PO'ed at me because I had woken her up and she didn't want to wake up. None of this wonderful reasonable logic makes any difference to the fact that I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Then, yes, I shed tears.

(There is a somewhat happy ending to this. A few minutes later, DD noticed my expression and asked me why I was sad. Then she said, "Awwwww..." and gave me a big hug. Later in the morning she came up to me and said, "Mummy, I love you." But I tell ya, it still sucks.)

That was the emotional low of the last 24 hours. (And of many, many 24 hourses beyond that, too. But who's counting.)

Persian Tiles shawl for Grandma
The steeking component of my Persian Tiles shawl project is looming ever closer. I'm fewer than two rows away from completing the knitting on the main shawl. While highly exciting given that the deadline is looming, this does mean I'm going to have to do something steek-related before the end of the day. I've read through the steeking instructions in the pattern, as well as the steeking instructions in Alice Starmore's Fisherman's Sweaters book, and have looked through various webpages detailing the steeking process. I think I have the theory down. I know what I'm supposed to do. The thing is to actually do it.

The problem is that this project uses thin alpaca on 3.25mm needles, not gansey-weight Shetland wool on 2.75mms. My Hillhead slipover project uses gansey-weight Shetland wool, so my instincts do have a sense of what they're talking about when they tell me that steeked Shetland wool will hold together very well. However, those same instincts are also telling me (screaming, actually) that the alpaca will not, unless I do some kind of 'anchoring' technique first. The alpaca, while clingy, is really giving me some 'I'm going to unravel on you the second you cut me' vibes. I am extremely inclined to trust my instincts implicitly in this situation.

I am therefore faced with having to do something sewing-like on each side of the steek to prevent unravelling. The Fisherman's Sweaters book recommends backstitching up the steek along the first and last steek stitches. But last night at the SnB, Academic Stephanie gave me some additional insights into steeking (thank you!) and it really hit me how freakin' long the backstitching would take...not to mention that the shawl is so long that there is no way I will be able to do all the backstitching with a single strand of yarn. Need I add that it will also be tremendously boring? Stephanie instead recommended the crochet technique. I've looked at this and am pretty sure I'm grasping the concept properly. It looks like the ideal solution - except that I don't have a crochet hook. AUGH!

So. I have some options.

  • Screw the idea of the crochet bind-off and do backstitch instead. Not an option. I shudder just thinking about it.
  • Acquire a crochet hook. I tried to do this on my lunch break today, with no success. There are no craft stores in the immediate vicinity of my office building, leaving the local dollar store as my only faint hope of possibility. Sadly, they do not carry crochet hooks. I never thought I would be annoyed with a shop for not carrying crochet hooks, but there you go. (However, it was hard to stay angry at the proprieters because I discovered that they do, at least, carry 4mm knitting needles - both DPNs and straights. I shall remember this in case I ever have a 4mm emergency in the future...which, knowing me, could totally happen.) Aside from buying a hook myself, I could send my husband out to a store to buy one, or send my husband over to my mom's to borrow one. Either of these two options kind of suck because a) I will reach the point in the project where I need the crochet hook before I see my husband again, and b) my husband ain't going any-damn-where. He spent most of the day being held hostage at our home by UPS. For the last two days they abjectly failed to deliver a book he really really needs NOW (while at the same time promising to extract an odiously high COD charge), and today promised to try and find out where it was but took their own sweet time showing up to deliver it. (The poor man couldn't even take a friggin' shower in case they came while he was doing that.) He now has the book but is absolutely exhausted so I told him to forget the crochet hook idea and just nap.
  • Use my knitting needles to do the crochet anchoring. This will be more awkward than using a crochet needle, but I'm sure it'll work, and - bonus - I will be fooling myself into thinking I'm knitting, which is good.

The knitting-needles-subbing-for-crochet-hook option is looking like the winner right now. Hopefully I'll be able to get a seat on the subway tonight to make it easier.

I'm hoping to be able to take a few pictures of the steeking process once I get home. But I may become so preoccupied with the doing that I forget to document it. Stay tuned.

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