Sunday, January 01, 2006

Knitting Small Diameter Openings Mutterings

As a rule, I don't have long double pointed needles or short circumference circular needles. So when I began knitting the neck ribbing for the vest, I was faced with a problem. Do I work on my 4 7" dpns and drop stitches every time I look away from my knitting? Or do I use the shortest cable in my Boye Needlemaster Set (which has served me faithfully and well since 1985) and end up with a size 4 US (3.5 mm) hole in my right index finger? My finger took a month or two to heal from working the Rocky Vest back in April with those same needles. I grimaced, and decided to carefully work the 9 rows of ribbing and do a nifty sewn bindoff, eliminating the need to suffer through 9 more rows of enlarging the hole in my finger.

The sewn bind-off, however, did not cooperate, and provided its own frustrations. Once I graciously gave in to defeat on the matter of bind-off and settled in to knitting nine more rows of Small Diameter Opening, decided to try the Magic Loop method, which I've heard about only by name, on my Addi Turbos. Which, by the way, I got for 8.95 from my LYS back in 1994. Wouldn't it be nice if you could get Addi Turbos for that price now? But back to my story. I worked a row or two with the Magic Loop method, or at least what I came up with, and my index finger liked it, but it was slow. So I tried using 2 circulars, with one Addi and one Boye. That worked pretty well, especially after I switched to my longest Boye cable. It was still annoying, though. I'm not sure, though, if I want to give in a buy a mess of 16" needles in my usual sizes.

Last night found me knitting some Very Small Diameter Openings, of the sort I wouldn't even think about trying to fit on a 16" needle. Glove fingers! I didn't want to use my metal dpns, since there'd only be 3-4 sts on a needle and that would be a recipe for losing dpsn. And I wasn't about to drive 20+ miles on New Year's Eve to a closed LYS to get some birch needles. I decided to try double knitting. Of course, I decide to try this at someone else's house, far from my handy dandy knitting books and internet access. One of the things about being a fearless knitter, though, is trying to do things (like magic loop and 2 circs) that you only know of by name, and maybe a two sentence description. Double knitting worked out wonderfully for the mitten fingers. So much so that I even tried it for the thumb of the next mitten today, as I've misplaced the 4th dpn. I hope to find it in the car, but if not ... oh dear, that means I'll have to get a set of Brittany Birch to replace it. Rats.

I hope to finish the second mitten tonight - just the fingers and ends are left - and tomorrow, maybe attempt to find my house. My desk is due for a good decluttering, which is always fun. I like cleaning off my surroundings of accumulated clutter before I start a new project. And I've got two of them! The first is the cable hat (and sweater) and the second is the start of the new school year.

My daughter has been knitting up a small storm over the holidays. Yesterday she finished a cardigan for her 18" doll, and started up on some slippers. I'll have to get some pictures taken of the cardigan! Her next project, after slippers, is the mock turtleneck from Teen Knitting Club. Chenille! At her age, I had no idea chenille yarns existed.


Denise said...

The mittens!!! They are awesome. I so love them! Those little finger holes .... oh my. You make it look superbly easy!


Denise said...

.... and oh, please do post pictures of that sweater. I can't wait to see.