Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Learn Something New Every Day

I really wish I could live by this axiom. Unfortunately, once you pass a certain age, it really is hard to learn something new every day. I mean, when you're two, there's so much to learn. Nouns, for one thing. What's that? A shoe? Cool! And what does it go on? A foot? Even better! Two things learned in the space of two seconds. Learning is a full-time job for a kid.

The curve does taper off, of course. By the time you've reached the grand old age, 29-plus, as I have, most of the nouns have been mastered, as have the basic motor and social skills needed to make it in day to day life. Barring a sudden relocation to a third-world nation, it does get tricky to learn something brand-new every day.

Which is why I'm so very chuffed with myself today. Because I learned how to do this:

That's right, I finally took the plunge and taught myself how to do two circular items at a time -- in this case, mitten cuffs -- on one long circular needle. And as soon as I grasped the concept, I wondered why I'd waited so long.

I took the technique from the 2-at-a-Time Socks book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. I've had this book for awhile, but for some strange reason, I was reluctant to give it a try. I'm not usually this intimidated by a technique, so I'm still puzzled by my resistance. As it turns out, it really is simple. I do all my circular knitting magic-loop style anyway, and this just tweaks things enough to make the process interesting. The hardest part about this project so far has been winding my yarn into a decent center-pull ball, a necessity since I'm working from both ends at once.

I was so eager to finally give this a try that I cast on this morning, only to get called away and leave my knitting out on the living room ottoman. Sure enough, Little Z got ahold of it and turned it into a minor rat's nest. That wouldn't have been much of a problem, though. I was my subsequent poor winding skills that resulted in not one but two completely unserviceable cakes of yarn. Far from being "the charm," my third attempt resulted in the great-granddaddy of all rat's nests. Both DH and I have spent hours on this thing today, all to no avail. Luckily, I had two more skeins of the KnitPicks Bare that I'm working with, and once I overcame my rage and pigheaded determination to fix that stupid skein rightnowgoddamit, I simply wound up another one -- correctly, this time -- and had a go.

And because I can't do anything halfway, tomorrow I start the patterned portion of the mittens. Two cakes of yarn, both being worked from both ends simultaneously, carrying strands in both hands. It'll give me something new to learn tomorrow, too.

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