Saturday, February 13, 2010

Going in Circles

The knit and crochet group I belong to has been learning how to knit in the round using two circular needles or circs as the hip woman in the You Tube video called them. Doing anything in the round is much easier in crochet and some of my characters in the crochet mysteries would probably think I was a traitor, but I was curious how it worked with knitting and it was something I could use in the proposal that seems to be taking forever to finish.

For anyone who doesn’t know circular needles are really short versions of knitting needles joined by a cable. One set is already unruly with the plastic cable part snaking around. But working with two at the same time?

When I first tried, I hyperventilated when I looked all the stitches and needles going every which way. I couldn’t imagine that it would ever be easy. Somehow it reminded me of being an O operator. It was a long time ago back before everything was computerized and the closest thing to a cell phone was a mobile phone and there were few of them. Actually the big change was answer machines.

I wore a headset that pinched my ears and I sat hooked into a switchboard. I plugged in cords to make person to person calls. I was the one who said you’re three minutes are up. I also was the one who asked for more money. I could tell how much was deposited by the sound. It was also before the 911 system, so we Os were who you called in an emergency and we summoned help. If someone yelled “help” and dropped the phone, I had to put a trace on the call and get the phone number and address and stay on the line until help arrived. Oh, and I had to fill out some kind of card for each call.

The point to all this is that when I first got the job and was going to be trained, I took one look at the operators and all those cords and clips on the coin phone cords and thought I’d never learn how to do it. Of course I did learn how to do it, and it became second nature. Then I wondered how it had ever seemed impossible.

That’s the cool thing about learning something. It forever changes your world – maybe not in a big way, but it changes it.

So even with dealing with snaking cables and brain freeze when I tried to figure out which stitches I was supposed to work with which needles, I wanted to keep going. Thanks to Linda in my group who sent me the link to the You Tube demonstration, I began to understand what I was actually doing. But I needed to be able to think it through in my head before my fingers got another shot at it.

I let it percolate in my mind and then like a curtain opening and light coming in, the pieces fell into place and I “got it.”

I wouldn’t say I’m flying through knitting in the round yet – I’m closer to making a bracelet than a sock – but it has forever changed my world. When I look at a pattern for making sock using two circular needles, I will now understand. Even be able to picture how to do it in my head.

Learning something new is so cool. First there’s the challenge, wondering if you’ll be able to do it. Then you start and probably struggle. Somewhere there is most likely a black moment when it seems like you’ll never get it. Then the big aha moment and nothing is ever quite the same.

What seemingly impossible thing have you learned to do ?


Amy said...

Crochet. I want to do it, and to replicate some blankets left from both Grandmas, yet my zig-zag blanket looks worn and it's only 1/4 way through. I do knit fairly well, and make lots of things - but have a lot of trouble with crochet! The spirit is willing, but...Your books inspired me to try again, but perhaps I will need to try You Tube also!

There's an easier way to do socks with a really long circular needle (40") and a loop in it. There's books on it. That two needle thing confounds lots of knitters, also.

Peg said...

Kudos to you learning to knit in the round - I struggle with knitting with 2 straight needles, let alone 2 circs. Crocheting is my thing - among others!! Love this blog - you all are so fascinating!

Betty Hechtman said...

Amy, don't give up on crochet. If you can knit well, I'm sure you can conquer crochet. I'm glad my books have inspired you to try again.

Peg, I feel much more comfortable crocheting, but I want to know how to knit, as well. I'm glad you like our blog!

signlady217 said...

I learned to kint when I was about 6 or 7, but haven't touched it in years. But I do think knit and crochet are both cool. There's a program I've seen on PBS called "Knit and Crochet Today" where I've seen them show stuff that has knitting and crocheting together in the same item. Pretty neat.

One tough thing I've learned is American Sign Language. Some people think it is easier to learn than maybe something like Spanish or French, but it's not. It is still a FOREIGN LANGUAGE!!! That means, it's easier for some people than for others, and you have to study the culture along with the words (signs), and practice, practice, practice! You get out what you put in.

Your books are still on my TBR list (sorry), but I am looking forward to reading them. Good luck with your career!

Jeannette Hayashida said...

I love knitting with 2 circs. I can knit with double points but found socks, gloves and hats much easier to knit with 2 circs.
If your cables are curling up on themselves try dipping them in boiling water for a few seconds. Or there are circulars needles that have cables that do not kink or curl. You might look into them if you continue with this great new hobby.
I can crochet and knit. In fact I saw a pattern for crochet socks and I want to give that a try.


Betty Hechtman said...

Signlady, So you learned American Sign language. I can imagine that would be a challenge.

Unfortunately Knit and Crochet Today isn't on here. I have my DVR set to record anything with crochet in it. I used to get a few how to shows. Now it seems like everything that gets taped is related to clothes they're selling on QVC

Betty Hechtman said...

Jeanette, thanks for the tip about the cables. I bought a set of Addi turbo circular needles and am anxious to try those. The ones I have been using are bamboo. It is so neat to try all these different things.

I just ordered two pom pom makers that make small and large heart shaped pom poms. I keep thinking what a fun touch those pom poms will be.

Camille Minichino said...

LOVE your operator story, Betty!

One of my goals for 2009 was to have an e-story up, and I did. It seemed daunting to learn to format it and work with all the guidelines, but I did it.

I do try to learn something, big or small, every week. Just conquering my smart phone can count for 2 weeks!

Mare F said...

Felting was my last new endeavor, but this sounds great. Although I should probably make a pair of socks the normal way first since it's been about 35 years since I've made any. LOL

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, great that you put up the e story. There is nothing as satisfying as attempting something daunting and accomplishing it.

These days there is constantly so much to learn. You definitely deserve two weeks credit for conquering your smart phone. My BlackBerry can do so much more than I've figured out.

One of the problems I've noticed is that I will figure out how to do something, usually on the computer, but it's something I don't use that much. Then when I try to do it again, I have to figure it out all over again. I guess it is easier the second time around.

Betty Hechtman said...

Mare, I'd like to try felting. I'm not sure if it will work in my washing machine as I have one of those HE front loaders, so you can't open the door and check on anything mid wash. There are a lot of other reasons I'm not that thrilled with the washing machine, but that's another story.

When I was at the Craft and Hobby show, I saw a felting tool at the Clover booth. There's no washing involved. The best I could tell was that you keep stabbing the piece you've made and it does something to the fibers. Wow, I just remembered I wanted to order one of those. I should have added it to my pom pom order.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Congrats on meeting the circular knitting challenge, Betty. It sounds hard, so I'm sure it felt good to master it. I approach each new thing I do on the computer as something impossible, but somehow, if I really need to do it, I figure it out... or ask for help!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I know what you mean about doing things on the computer being a challenge. I was thrilled when I figured out how to do stuff with pictures.