Thursday, August 25, 2005

Having a hat attack

It's a hat half

The Fairisle Band up close

Take a close look at the half a hat above. Just take a wild guess what was the difficult part? Was it the plain blue bands top and bottom or was the drive you to drink part the fancy-schmancy bibbly bit in the middle?

You’d be wrong, all you bibbly bit voters. That was the simple, straightforward part. This is the hat of three new OddBall skills. Skill one was setting up and deploying the ribber without the use of small arms fire. Skill two was learning to use the garter bar to manipulating stitches off and on the needle bed. Skill three was the blue and white pretty stuff.

The schematics of the whole thing sounded pretty straightforward. Rib 13 rows, increase the needle count by 18 and blah, blah. The whole thing should have been called Operation Rib. First, was hauling out and doing the species identification on the tickle trunk of machine accessories, 90% of which I still have no earthly idea what they’re for. Right, I know, reading the manual would be such a good thing -- more on that later.

Now, previously I had mentioned that machine knitting was the perfect hobby for the woman who had everything, including three arms. I did not know of what I speak at the time. I do now. Machine knitting is the perfect hobby for the woman who has three arms and a prehensile tongue. I did manage to get the ribbing cracked off after about five false starts. Actually, once you’ve got the cast on comb weight put together on the item, it’s not so bad. I ended up ribbing 17 rows because by this time I was feeling reckless and to hell with the instructions.

Next step, transfer the stitches to the garter bar, add 9 needles to the each end of the needle bed and rehang the knitting…approximately every fifth needle will be empty. What they didn’t say is start in the middle and work your way to both ends. I, of course, started at the right and worked my way left. About two inches from the end, I ran out of manipulation room. Yes, the ribbing is stretchy and probably would have way more give to it if it wasn't attached to this metal comb, which does tend to stiffen things up. However, by the liberal application of brute force and the consumption of three cans of Alexander Keith’s Very Finest India Pale Ale later, I was ready to knit. Just set up the Fairisle patterning bit and I’ll be off. Instructions for setting up the Fairisle patterning bit would be in the machine manual which is right….hmmmmm, where did I put that thing?

That was Tuesday night.

Mid-Wednesday morning, afterI’d completely torn asunder three quarters of the house and actually did some housework (yes, things were that desperate), I located said manual. It was located right where I didn’t put it…under the refrigerator. The OddBall IT and Technical Support Division has developed some strange hiding places over the years but hat’s off to them…they outdid themselves this time. All I can surmise is that it had fallen to the floor and someone had kicked it under there by accident. In any event, the coils on the back of the refrigerator have been vacuumed. That job's looked after for the decade.

The Fairisle bit all happened inside 10 minutes. 40 rows of that isn’t much. Then it was back with the garter bar bit….which I’ve almost got the hang of. It’s all in how you hold your tongue and don’t breathe.

In any event, there’s half a hat. I’ll get the other half done as soon as I gather up the courage to repeat this ordeal. At some point, this is going to get easier. I know it is. In the meanwhile, I’ve nearly got that baby sweater trick licked, so I think I’ll go have at it.

Talk at you’se all laters; thanks for reading.


At 9:46 a.m., August 25, 2005, Blogger Liz said...

well I see everyone has survived except the thre cans of Keith's.and well you know that is alright

At 9:48 a.m., August 25, 2005, Anonymous the hubby said...

The manual was suppose to be in the fridge hiding behind the tomatoes.

At 7:30 p.m., August 25, 2005, Blogger Dudleyspinner's Tie Dye Rovings said...

Under the fridge huh, I hate to think what is under mine, ancient dust bunnies I'd guess. You are gonna whoop this machine yet!

At 1:34 p.m., August 26, 2005, Blogger Laurie (Moo!) said...

I think I'm in trouble.

I have a knitting machine (almost 6 months...used once) but don't drink.

How the hell am I going to do ribbing without the beers?

I'm sorry you had to do some cleaning. That's just too cruel a punishment for losing a tool.

Can I use your photo as a blog button, for your blog, of course?

At 8:25 p.m., August 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manual? Who reads those things? I think trial and error is working well for you. At least it's keeping us entertained! Cheers!

At 8:08 a.m., August 27, 2005, Blogger Liz said...

Never fails. Unless of course you are reading the non manual for the computer desk from hell


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