Friday, January 27, 2017

A Really Tangled Yarn


Why, you might wonder, do I prefer crochet to knitting? When I tell you what happened I think you will understand.

We were doing our first seminar of the year. It took a lot of gearing up after the holidays and the birth of my grandson to get everything together. In addition we were doing a restaurant we’d never done before. And since I’d never been to it, I had no idea what conditions would be for me to check everybody in. Usually there is a table set up outside the room for me to greet our guests and hand out folders.

Then during the seminar I have a break until I go around and make appointments. Because the restaurants all have low lighting to be atmospheric, reading isn’t an option. I have tried bringing my laptop so I could work on something, but it is too much to lug around. I have tried bring a yellow pad and pen and sticking to handwriting, but it is always a challenge to concentrate with all the noise going on around me. I thought I would try bringing along the project I was knitting for A TANGLED YARN. I just got the copy edit for the manuscript and I need to be able to tweak the pattern, so I really need to finish the red shawl.

It’s very simple pattern so I thought it would be okay to work on even if I was somewhat distracted by whatever was going on in the restaurant. I would be careful not to make any mistakes because knitting mistakes are a real problem to fix.

When we got to the restaurant, there was a table outside the room for me to use, but it was in the entrance hall of the restaurant and had no heat. Yes, I’m in Southern California, but we are in the middle of cold weather. My Apple watch keeps me apprised of the local temperature and that night it said it was 44 degrees. And every time the door opened, I got a blast of cold air. The lighting was low, but if sat in a particular spot right below a recessed lamp I could sort of see.

I did all my check in chores and the seminar began. I took out my knitting and began a row. It was okay at first and then disaster struck. I was using circular needles. What that mean is that two short needles are joined by a cable so it is really one long piece. They needles come either with the cable permanently attached or part of a set that has different size needles that the cable screws into. I was using the screw in type. When I looked down I saw that one of the short needles had come unscrewed from the cable and stitches in the middle of the row were suspended in air and threatening to come undone. I had just brought the knitting and no tools and I had nothing like a crochet hook or a big stitch holder to slip through the loops so I could get them back on the needle.

I began to feel panicky. I couldn’t just leave it for later because if I put the piece back in the my bag the stitches would come out for sure. Visions of the whole project becoming a disaster floated through my mind. I had done way too much work on it to just to start over. The only thing I could try was to first rescrew the cable and needle together and then hope I could slip all the loops back on.

All I had to lift the loops with was a mechanical pencil which barely helped and when I got all the loops back on the needles saw there was a hole where a stitch had dropped and it would keep getting bigger if I didn’t fix it. And now the seminar was ending anyway and I had to start setting appointment. The only choice was to put it away and hoped for the best.

The good part of the story is that when I got home and had tools to work with, I did manageto pick up the dropped stitch and the hole disappeared. But it took a lot of nervous tension to get there.

In crochet if I’d missed a stitch, I could have fixed it with no panic because you are working with one stitch at a time, whereas in knitting it is all about rows. Miss Marple can have her knitting in public. I’m sticking to my hooks.

A bit of good news. I just got an offer for audio versions of the whole Yarn Retreat series!

Want to read about crochet? Check out an excerpt of HOOKING FOR TROUBLE BettyHechtman.com

3 comments:

Linda O. Johnston said...

You're creative in so many ways, Betty! Glad you were able to save the project. And congrats on the upcoming audio books!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, it was a relief to get that stitch fixed.

Miriam Lubet said...

I'm with you. Knitting stitches that get messed up are awful to try to fix. I still haven't learned how to put back a missing stitch so when that happens to me I pull out all the rows until I can get back on track. I admire you for being able to fix it.