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Knitting ... with Extreme Prejudice!

I was at my fave local yarn store (Three Bags Full) having a chat, as one does (when it doesn't seem too busy and the staff show every indication of keeping the conversation going--occasionally I can indeed pick up on some obvious social cues!), and the topic turned to knitting holding two strands together. 

 

(For the young and innocent among you, some people knit holding two strands of yarn together, presumably from two separate balls (only daredevils and the criminally insane pull from the outside and the centre simultaneously) ... you have to constantly knit two together, but since you're knitting with two strands of yarn this will create two loops instead of one (if you only knit one loop at a time, when holding two, your project would rapidly become ridiculously wide, with each row twice as wide as the one before)).

 

I quickly announced that this was something Uncle Stashley would never, ever, ever do, not ever, not unless he were paid handsomely for it (like Tom Cruise, I'll do almost anything for enough money).  One of the staff members was actually doing it at the time, with the professed reason that the yarn she wanted to use didn't come in a biggie size, but two strands of a smaller weight, knit together, gave her the required gauge.  Nope, I wasn't having it.

 

You see, I'm just fundamentally prejudiced against holding two strands together.  But, like any prejudice, once you recognize it you can begin to see past it.  Elizabeth Bennet ended up with Darcy, didn't she? (She did.  If you weren't sure, you should read it*, now).

 

Reasons for Holding Two Strands Together

  • Because you don't have yarn in a big enough weight.  Not a good enough reason for Uncle Stashley.  Either pick a different project, or go find an appropriate yarn.  Instead of working with a nice, reasonable, easy worsted-weight yarn, you're dealing with tiny fingering-weight yarn, but knit with big worsted-weight-sized needles, and you're making sure you get the needle in both loops each time, (and remembering to do so when you pick the project up again after a lapse), well, I can't even.

  • Because you want to liven up the project with two different colours.  I have some sympathy for this, but for the most part, nope, not a good enough reason, especially because most of the time the effect is roughly equivalent to "dog's breakfast."  Any attractive stitch pattern is rendered unrecognizable, for instance.  There are enough yarns out there with interesting colour variations already built in, or else you could actually use colour in a considered, deliberate way (intarsia, stranded, double-knitting, etc.)  So no.

  • Because you want to add thickness to the project. Now, you would think that if you end up with the same gauge, it would be the same thickness--but advocates of holding two together will swear that it's slightly thicker than a single yarn would have been, with extra air in the stitches.  Oh goody, twice the effort for 5% more air, Uncle Stashley says, no thank you.

  • Because you want to introduce just the tiniest bit of sparkle.  Now this I can get behind ... you have, say, a plain (but beautiful) worsted-weight yarn, but then you knit it together with a very thin, almost non-existent thread of shiny silver, and the gauge doesn't really change, but there's a delicate shimmer throughout your project.  This appeals to Uncle Stashley, hitting right at the intersection of glamour and subtlety, two things he's fond of but which rarely meet.

 

What else am I biased against?  Apparently anything with the word "cosy" in it.  Here is a list of actual knitting patterns available on Ravelry (I won't link to them, but you can easily search them up), in order of ascending stupidity:

  • tea cosies

  • mug cosies

  • egg cosies

  • baby cosies

  • milk cosies

  • soda pop cosies

  • apple cosies

  • vase cosies

  • cell-phone cosies

  • iPad cosies

  • candle cosies

  • Kindle cosies

etc.

 

You get 17 pages worth of patterns, 48 patterns per page, for a search of "phone cosy" on Ravelry.com, there oughta be a law!

 

Socks, most of them.  I can't tell you how many times I've searched for a pattern that might be nice with some yarn I've acquired (and can't remember what I'd acquired it for, this happens more often than my husband knows about), and the search engine turns up socks.  Like, no. I don't know about you, but my time is actually valuable.  If I'm going to invest the time and energy to master Bavarian Twisted Stitches* they're going to be up here, folks, somewhere near the face, not down under my pant cuffs and inside my shoes.  Yes, there are plenty of store-bought socks out there that are fun and no one can really see them, but those were acquired for $3.99 and minimal effort, not six weeks of swearing at your sock-weight yarn as you struggled with Multi-Coloured Brioche Cabled Socks. 

 

Anything Costumey (slightly ironic, since I run a community theatre company, The Broadway Chorus, in my spare time). Pink Pussy hats with ears on them, cosplay costumes, "knit" armor, no.

 

Projects with non-stylized images on them. Whether it's a photo-realistic wolf, or even a near-phot0-realistic wolf (when you stand back and squint a bit), it's tacky. I'm not even willing to go for Mickey Mouse, despite my love of all things Disney.  Nope, I'm only interested in abstracted designs, e.g. like this Arts & Crafts-inspired piece.

 

Beige things, probably because I don't like beige, but also because beige things always seem to be loose, drapey items worn by willow-slim women (standing on seashores) overtop of white and possibly foam-blue clothes as if they daren't not blend in with their coastal-chic beach house from a Nora Ephron film that one imagines they live in.  

 

 

 

On The Needles

 

(I will mark with a ! those projects that have advanced, and !! those projects that are new to the blog.)

 

  • !!Lerro, by Lee Meredith (on the 2nd diamond in Section One)

  • !Sophie's Universe crochet project (Part 6: Round 52)  

  • !GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (adding the steek stiches and knitting from eventual armhole to neck) 

  • !Persian Dreams Blanket (row 31 of the third hexagon) 

  • A Church Mouse sock (4.5" through the 5.5" of the foot prior to decreasing to toe)

  • !Sweater Sample (from the Sweater Workshop, finished the raised stripe section)

  • A Random Blanket (about 40% through)

Glossary

 

*it = Pride and Prejudice, one of my all-time top ten books.  Don't just watch the movie(s), you're missing out on some hilarious, trenchant prose. 

 

*Bavarian Twisted Stitches = a method of knitting where knit stitches are purposely twisted (it makes for a tighter fabric with more defined 1 over 1 cables).

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