Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maybe Challenges Are For Chumps

So, I get these ideas in my head: Wouldn't it be great if I made this extremely complicated glove/scarf/sweater/skirt/cake/pie/pastry? I would look/taste great, and it would extremely gratifying, wouldn't it?

I set off, planning, daydreaming, drawing pictures, thumbing through magazines and surfing through pages and pages of ideas, then I cast on. It'll be great, I say.

I've been working steadily along on my cabled scarf, resolving to work at least a full repeat a day, checking my work carefully, ripping out if I need to fix things without hesitation or dithering. I've been making good progress... slow, but good.

I sat down on Saturday night to watch a movie with my knitting in hand, chart to the right of me, hubby to my left. It was going to be a good night.

Well, it was, until I broke my knitting needle.

I've never broken a needle before. It wasn't the needle itself that broke, but the cord connecting the needles together to make a circular needle. And the cord broke clean off the end, leaving a stub inside the connector that I couldn't remove. It's in there. And there's no way to get it out without damaging the connector.

I tried gluing the cord back together, but it just wouldn't stick, and even if it did, I'm not sure I would get a nice smooth surface for the knitting to slide along on. It's done. Finished.

I tried contacting Knitpro, the manufacturers of the needle, telling them how disappointed I was, asking if this had happened before. The reply was that I had to return it to the store I bought it from and I would get a replacement. There are two problems with that:
  1. I bought this needle in England while I was on holiday last October.
  2. I'm not sure I want a replacement of this needle.
So, I muttered and mused... and eventually came up with a solution. I picked up a straight needle that is one size smaller than I'm currently using and used it for the knitting the wrong side of the scarf. That worked for a little while, but I noticed that , even though I usually purl looser than I knit, the fact that this scarf is a mixture of all sorts of stitches means that using a smaller-sized needles messes a bit with the gauge of the fabric. I also noticed that my hands were getting tired using two different types of needles: one metal, one wooden. After that, I picked up the other needle I purchased at the same time I bought the one the broke - same type, but also smaller. I still have to be careful of the tension and the gauge, but my hands are aching much less. Problem solved... for now.

It was still kind of upsetting, though. I went to bed that night, thinking about all the time I'd put into this project, wondering if I'd wasted my time. It didn't help that the movie I was watching was Inception, and it messed with my head a bit. I woke up the next morning and wondered if I'd dreamed it all... if I was in fact still dreaming... if I'd know the difference...

Then, I sat on my cable needle and was immediately reminded that this is real life.

So, lessons learned:
  1. No buying pretty needles on holiday that you can't get at home. If they break, you're stuck.
  2. It's not a good idea to try to knit so many complicated cables on a circular needle of this construction.
  3. No watching movies that mess with your head at the same time as working on a complicated project. You may not have a cable needle around to jolt you back into reality.
In truth, the original pattern where I found these cables was from a beautiful afghan called Burridge Lake Aran Afghan. It's knit in panels, and it's got at least ten different cables in it. Ten! Now that's a challenge! It's not one I'm up for... maybe not ever after this project.

But maybe I'll feel differently when I'm finished...


YarnKettle said...

Adriene, I am so sorry. Your knitting looks beautiful! Can you try contacting Knitpro again and telling them their suggestion is impossible? Maybe they will try to work with you more? I have the Knitpicks (US version of Knitpro) harmony set of needles and love mine. Now I feel bad because mine are working and yours are not.

AdrieneJ said...

Thanks for the sympathy. I have contacted Knitpro and told them exactly that. I'm quite disappointed with the whole experience, but at least my current solution is still working. Ah well...