Retroladytyping …


 Life imitates knitting – at least it does in my case …

unravelled yarn

Over the past couple of weeks  I have become unravelled.

I have felt knotted, muddled, mixed up and unexpectedly confused.    I had taken on a project which should have only been slightly outside my comfort-zone.  I had expected to feel like I do when picking up a well-used, familiar knitting pattern: comfortable and at ease.   However, this time someone had  amended the pattern, without adding an erratum notice.

If I’d expected the unfamiliar, I would have done what I usually do – researched, Googled, You-tubed, practised and rehearsed until I felt comfortable.  I didn’t, so  I became unravelled.  I knew how to knit; I knew all the stitches.  What I hadn’t done was used them according to that particular pattern.

I  hadn’t realised the need to re-familiarise myself with what I thought were well-learned techniques before starting.  Big mistake.   I  carried on trying very hard to untangle the knot which I felt inside every day.   I re-read the pattern, but still had to cope with the knotted yarn.  I was becoming more and more frustrated and even thought of abandoning the project. I thought there was no way to sort the heap of unravelled-ness.

Today  someone told me to  pause,  think and check understanding before starting.     I did.  It worked.  The lesson I have learned is to not to assume knowledge; if you do, expect to become unravelled.  The other lesson I learned is make sure the yarn is untangled and the pattern is understood before attempting to start knitting.  Time is all it needed; that and the realisation that every new undertaking is slightly different.  Expecting that difference might avoid a mess  of unravelled yarn, which takes longer to sort than making sure all is in order before starting.


The project is still a work in progress; hopefully that tangle is no more.    If not, I shall  take time to smooth it out before starting.



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String and two sticks

Why I knit

I’ve always been a knitter: one of those ladies who click in the corner, with the occasional “Sssh, I’m counting,” while The Husband  is trying to concentrate on the plot line of one of those convoluted  thrillers which come in three parts.  Why?  Well, Mum did, Gran did and my many aunts did, so there were plenty of people around to help with tricky bits and   I am of the generation who were taught to knit at school from the age of 5, starting with dishcloths  progressing through dolls clothes and baby clothes to  knitting  our own school jumpers – the ones with a contrasting stripe around the ‘V’ neck, in two colours if you went to my school.

My sons   wore hand knitted woollies until it became uncool to wear mum’s hand knitting.  Strangely, they didn’t seem to want me to produce a customised Nike logo sweatshirt!    Now they are (very tall) adults  and hand-knitting is fashionable again,  they might like me to produce something, but it’s just too daunting – sorry boys.  Knitting for a nearly two year old  grandson, however, is acceptable because as long as he is able to get through his busy day in comfort, he’s happy.  It won’t last.

Any knitters reading this will know about the ‘stash.’  It results from the compulsive urge to  have a supply of wool and patterns,  just in case  of a sudden knitting emergency (not often wool nowadays, but still referred to as such.  Yarn just doesn’t sound right).  Temporary satisfaction of this urge is so easy now with  internet shopping and  has the added benefit of providing a colourful insulating layer for the spare room.  Sorting and categorising the different types by weight, colour, purpose and age, while planning future projects,  is a very useful displacement activity when housework is on the agenda, as is “just one more row.” (then another and another …)

A closer look at the image above shows that knitting has health benefits too.  It is meditative, mindful (impossible to think of anything else when knitting aran with all its cables, bobbles and lattice-work) and therapeutic, so much so that a group, Stitchlinks, has been set up at a local hospital to help those suffering from stress related illness. using knitting alongside more conventional therapies.  I need to remember those benefits when I am tinking and tutting in the corner.   I shall remind my husband, when the clicking and occasional heavy sigh disturbs his viewing, that, without my knitting, he would be unable to watch undistracted, as I would feel the need to talk,   even daring to ask for clarification of the plot,  instead of being the reasonably calm, almost silent,  occupied and content  woman he shares the settee with every evening.

(Tinking = unpicking i.e. reverse of knit-ing painstakingly stitch by stitch – often necessary when constructing complicated patterns using expensive mohair yarn and being distracted by three part thrillers).

P.S.  Just read an article about a lady who knits while running to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research.  Hmmm, now there’s a thought …








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