Many years ago, I wrote an occasional column for Simply Knitting entitled Knitting Ruined My Wife. As Jen mentioned in her introduction to this month’s Boost Your Knitting technique, the tubular cast on in the round, it was her obsession with this particular method of starting a project that led to the creation of the column. Today, I thought it’d be fun to take a dive in my archives and share the piece with you. It originally appeared in Simply Knitting, Issue 92, Spring 2012.
At 3:12 a.m. I was shaken awake. Was the house on fire? An intruder? Aliens landing on the roof? No, the reason I was dragged from my slumber was that, “I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about tubular cast-on.” If I’d had my wits about me, I would probably have made some comment about Mike Oldfield concept albums, but that would have started a conversation and inevitably I would have been left wide awake listening to her sleeping. Instead I engaged the ‘knitter filter’ and drifted off.
The knitter filter is something I have developed to cope with the constant stream of information about projects current, future and past, the colours, weight, fibres, quantities, softness, felting potential of various yarns, as well as the size, length, type and material of needles, stitch patterns, nupps, the importance of getting tension and that’s all before the eternal debate about British and Continental styles of knitting. I do want to show an interest, but I can’t cope with the quantity. It’s the aural equivalent of watching a film at double speed: you get the gist, but miss the fine detail.
When engaging the filter, it is probably best described as a meditative trance. Outwardly I appear to be listening, with a relaxed smile on my face and the occasional nod, but in reality I don’t hear a thing. I do, however, seem to take it all in on a subconscious level, rather like those tapes you listen to while sleeping to give up smoking, or to learn another language.
The upshot of trying to block out all things knitting is that I am now some kind of knitting savant; I spout information or advice without really knowing what I’m saying. Two seconds after the alarm clock went off the other morning, I was faced with the question, “The pattern says to use intarsia, which is 70 stitches over 48 rows, but I want to use Fair Isle instead and that will only take 38 rows. What do you think?” I tried to make a witty comment about thinking that I needed cup of tea and a shower, but different words came out of my mouth. I suggested knitting test squares to compare tensions and adjusting the pattern accordingly, or if all else failed, just doing what the pattern said. This wasn’t a one-off either. I’ve been known to make such comments as, “You could knit that in the round as a tube and then cut steeks for the armholes,” or, “That yarn looks as though it would split really easily and won’t give a very good drape as a fabric.” It’s not just happening at home, either, as my colleagues are starting to make remarks about my knitting monologues.
The scale of my current affliction is such that I now wonder whether it was indeed aliens, intent on conquering the Earth through implanting knitting know-how, landing on the roof that woke me up.
What would my 2012 (?) self say if he could see how much worse it was going to get! Joking aside, I hope you’ve enjoyed this blast from the past — I plan to share more of the Knitting Ruined My Wife archives over the coming months. And if you still haven’t tried out the tubular cast on, what are you waiting for? You can find the video tutorial right here.