The geeky life doesn’t get any better than this. As I write this I am up in the air, en route from Detroit to Newark and the second leg of a family visit. The flight we were supposed to take was overbooked, so we accepted vouchers to take a later flight. Now I’m feeling flush and happy to spend the $4.95 for the on-flight Internet service. This is so cool!
We spent the past several days in Peoria, Illinois, where we had a great visit with my parents. Now we’re headed to New York to visit Henry’s daughter, Sarah. I’ll be delivering Fluffy the Bear — for those of you who’ve been with me for a while, you remember that story. At long last, Fluffy and Sarah are going to be reunited, along with a special surprise that I’ll be revealing to her tomorrow, and I’ll share more on that soon. Best not talk about it here. She might actually read this.
I’ve taken my knitting with me, which came in handy on and between flights. Yes, that knitting. As you may recall, I recently started knitting again after a few decades off. Knitting is relaxing, right?
Um, no, not so much.
My determination, ambition, and enthusiasm are exceeded by just one thing: a meager skill level. It’s been a looonnnggg time, and I’m having a lot of trouble remembering anything beyond knit and purl.
As I learned quickly that I was in over my head (why didn’t I start with something simple, like a scarf? Don’t know. I always overcomplicate my creative life), I bought some knitting books to help me. Stitch ‘n’ Bitch by Debbie Stoller has become my knitting bible, reminding me about things like “yarn over” and “knit two together.” Okay, I tell myself. I can do this.
I have also discovered the genius of YouTube. There’s a video for everything, way beyond all the cute kittens! All I have to do is to go to YouTube and type in the mysterious, esoteric abbreviations that appear on a knitting pattern. PSSO? SSK? SL? They’re all there with little samples to show me what my work should look like, all with soothing female voices providing comfort and reassurance.
Turns out from watching these videos, though, that I learned to make stitches in reverse — probably a left-handed thing — so I still have to adapt some of the instructions a little to accommodate my quirks. Yes, not only did I start out with an overcomplicated project, but I also overcomplicate it with my personal style.
Of course, all the guidance in the world doesn’t help when I don’t read the instructions. Well, I did, repeatedly, but for some reason my eyes managed to miss some essential information, as often happens when I try to follow directions (I generally just wing it, which used to drive my previous husband crazy). Seems kind of strange coming from someone who wrote several procedure manuals on her day job, but that’s how it goes.
In this case, I totally ignored an instruction that required an additional 70 rows or so.
Here’s the thing. The skirt has ruffles. There’s an underskirt that’s supposed to go the whole length of the skirt, and then I pick up purl rows to add the ruffles. It’s really cute! At least it could be, in the hands of someone with a bit more skill.
I had already ripped and re-ripped the bottom ruffle multiple times. I finally understood the pattern, only to realize that I had to take it out all over again to add the missing rows. Does it matter? Yeah, this was one mistake I couldn’t cover up. The area meant to be the bottom skirt ruffle was going to end up, well, more at my bottom. I could get arrested wearing a skirt that short. It’s also rather chilly and windy on the Olympic Peninsula, so a micro mini doesn’t fit the weather pattern. But I am nothing if not persistent — years as a struggling writer have taught me that much.
After working and reworking the skirt, I am finally back on track. All of this doing and re-doing has given me quite an education, and all of a sudden I feel back in a groove again. My fingers have found a rhythm, and my hands their memory.
This is not to say that there aren’t any mistakes left in the skirt. I’m happy to report, though, that none of them will be visible. Just stay the hell away from my waistband. You don’t need to be looking there anyway!