Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In the Words of Plato

(or, alternatively, Parenthetically Speaking)

[7:00 p.m. Edited to add photographic evidence.]

I think Plato had a touch of tunnel vision when he said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” She may be the mother and perhaps curiosity is the father but I would argue that carelessness is perhaps the crazy, big-haired aunt, who just maybe drinks too much and sometimes has a potty mouth and takes Invention to see dirty movies its parents’ would never approve of.

Remember me saying just last week that I don’t always follow the knitting rules – and (furthermore) that this usually works out for me just fine? Well, my latest foray into knitting-from-a-pattern-but-not-precisely-following-the-pattern isn’t one of those “usually” times.
I am sure that we have all seen the beauty that is the mitered square. For example, who hasn’t seen the gorgeous Psychedelic Squares blanket or stood in awe of Mason-Dixon Kay’s queen-sized mitered square blanket?

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I am taking a short break from the Daisy sweater so that I can sent a dishcloth to Dorothy. If you missed the post where she talked about her friends who lost all of their worldly possessions during a move, you can find it here. In subsequent posts, she talks about giving some to others in need as well if she gets enough. (That soothes a little of my slow-knitter-guilt, knowing that even if it takes me nearly two weeks to get a dishcloth made, it will still be wanted.)

We are, of course, all well aware of what they say about the road to hell and good intentions....Nonetheless, when this (“quick”) little diversionary project began, my intentions were good and my heart was pure. (Do you see the sun shining and the hear the birds chirping? Do you hear the la la lala la la la lala la la of the Smurfs’ theme song?) Good intentions firmly in hand, I whipped out my copy of the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, thinking I would knit a Ballband Dishcloth. But I lingered a little too long over at page 109, looking at the pattern for the mitered square blanket. Then I got a wild and crazy idea: I’ll knit a mitered square dishcloth. Those are fun! Those are quick! And different! And easy! (If a made-for-tv-movie of my life is ever made, this is where the ominous background music comes in.) In actuality, this is where the winging it knitting comes in. The pattern calls for Tahki Cotton Classic, which as you may or may not know, I am slowly and methodically stock piling for my long awaited knitted-quilt project.

(Am I the only one who does this – buys yarn for a big project in stages? I am so excited about this project. I can't wait to knit this gorgeous, destined-to-be-an-heirloom specimen. Why do I feel so guilty about the amount of cash that I am going to ultimately sink into this blanket? I have swatched and swatched and calculated what I need: 27 skeins of the red for the main body of the quilt and another 25 skeins of different colors other than red for the additional blocks. It is sick, I tell you! On a semi-regular basis, I get out all of the yarn I’ve acquired for this project so far and admire the colors and the combinations and contemplate how much more I need to buy…silently, secretly trying to figure out in my mind when I can afford to order the skeins of the red. Is this just me?)

Sorry, back to the dishcloth at hand. . . . I do have quite a bit of the TCC ferreted away in the closet of the spare bedroom. But I am a selfish hoarder. I refused to part with enough of my Tahki Cotton Classic to make a dishcloth for someone in need. (I know I know! You are thinking, “What a bitch.” You are probably right.) I do have some really great pale pink/white/yellow/hot pink superwash wool by Lang (with which I am willing to part) that I got last fall for an ill-fated jab at knitting socks for my niece (sorry, Whitney!) I made a washcloth for a friend’s baby from the other skein and it was amazingly soft and nice. Ahoy! The sock yarn it is!

With (relatively) great enthusiasm, last Wednesday morning, at 5:00 a.m. I cast on 72 stitches, while waiting in the same day surgery for my husband to have a minor procedure (he is fine – just an epidural for back pain…), and off I went.

The second row of the pattern was my down fall. (It was 5:00 a.m., people, and the chick at the same-day surgery that makes the coffee for the waiting room was sick that day! This was also the morning following the crash of the air conditioner.) It says “Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Purl” And my sleep and coffee deprived brain, momentarily distracted by the ants parading across the arm of the chair – in the waiting room, of the HOSPITAL – thought, “Purl? Purl my ass. Knit!! Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit! It won’t matter! The purl, the knit…they are practically the same…Right?”

In case you missed the memo: The purl, the knit…they are not the same.

Of course, I didn’t really think this through until much later…I mean much MUCH later (about halfway through the third mitered “square”). Apparently still addled by the lack of sleep and lack of coffee I finished one square, promptly set it aside without too much thought and proceeded to do about 8 rows of the second square at the hospital, then the rest of the second and the third that evening at a friend’s house, mostly with my eyes closed, I guess. (Maybe if I had gone on to bed when I should have, I could have avoided this.)

That Thursday after work, when I came home (to our friends – our A/C was still down), I decided to lay out the “squares” and decide what would go where. That is when I discovered this…

Knitting the purl rows apparently (who knew?!?!?) jacks up the gauge. Aren’t they nice? Mitered… diamonds. Knit does not equal purl. Here we are – four million words later – finally getting to the point:

I decided ripping and starting over was not an option. (This was supposed to be a simple, quick project.) Instead, I would improvise and make it something new. I decided that, with these colors, they would make a lovely flower-ish shaped dishcloth. After I post this diatribe to Blogger, I am going to finish knitting the last … petal. (It has been a busy week. I haven’t knitted much.) I will show ya’ll the final result in the next few days and you can tell me if it is a disgrace to knitters everywhere or if I should stick it in the mail to Dorothy.

I bet you thought I was never going to get back around to Plato, huh?


Laura said...

Okay now. That's how my dishcloths always look when I'm done knitting them but a bit of tugging on two corners and going through the wash always straightens them right up. You need to try that. And then do the seaming. Unless you've already made flower petals. :)

My that's a lot of the TCC for the knitted blanket of your dreams. Need donations? You could set up a button on your sidebar for donations via PayPal to your blanket fund. You know - just in case someone (like me) doesn't have any of that TCC stuff in their stash to offer. :)

Kristy said...

Hi Laura! Have we "met" before? I clicked on the link on your name and didn't recognize the blog...If not, nice to meet you - Thanks for stopping by! :)

I have washed, a coaxed and blocked and manipulated but they are still diamond-y shaped. I did get them to a point that they look sort of square-ish, but then it was very obvious that the stitches were all stretched out and distored. With 5 of them, they look like it was supposed to turn out this way.

As for the TCC, I wouldn't even know where to begin to set up a button or PayPal or any of that. Is this a pretty common thing? I haven't ever thought about it...

Anastacia said...

I usually just buy odd balls of yarn, when & where I find them cheap. I do mostly charity knitting/crocheting, so it usually works out just fine. I'm making a mitered afghan out of acrylic yarn, it'll eventually end up at a local nursing home, though I'll probably keep a few of them & do something with them, after all of my hard work. I AM following the pattern, but mine aren't quite square, either, though not so diamondy as yours. I think my decreases don't quite go where they are supposed to go, but they are square enough, and when blocked & sewn together, I think they'll mostly all be fine (except for the one square I made, that's off by about an inch!)

I sometimes stockpile yarn towards a large project - I'm planning 2 matching but different sweater/cardigans in wool, so though it's not as much yarn as a whole afghan, it's still way too much wool for me to buy all at once.

In case you're wondering, I found your blog via a comment you made on the M-D blog. I'm so obsessed with all things M-D, I'm following anyone who briefly mentions it on their blog!! :)