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Knitting Revelation

October 30, 2009

Two days ago, the blizzard started. It was snowing so bad that we got out early at work. There is nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with my most comfortable, warm fleeces socks, a blanket and spending the night knitting while there is a blizzard going on outside. The feeling you get when you are warm and dry in your cozy home while it is freezing, dark and hostile outside is very comforting. So I was happily knitting away when after about 4 hours had gone by and all of a sudden my right hand started cramping up. I am very motivated about my projects and if I want to get a certain something done by a certain time, there better be a damn good reason to keep me from getting it done. I have wasted many a good night’s sleep trying to finish some stupid project I just HAVE to get done. So I was not happy that a cramp was going to keep me from getting 3 more feet of knitting done before bedtime. Since I taught myself how to knit, I have watched a lot of instructional knitting videos on the interntet. I have seen quite a few where it looks like the person is knitting faster than the flash. I actually had to watch one two or three times to make sure it wasn’t on some kind of time lapse. I swear this woman I saw knit ten stitches in about two seconds. When I very first started knitting, and I read the section on how to hold the yarn in your hand (the picture in the book I was using showed how to weave the yarn over and under the fingers in your right hand to control the tension) I didn’t really get it. So, I ended up holding the yarn between my right index finger and thumb and almost making a fist with the other fingers around the yarn. It was very painful after a while to keep my fingers crushed against my palm. But that was the only way I could keep any kind of tension. It has been causing problems this whole time but I never really thought about changing it. There have been times where my hands are actually sore the next morning and if I try to knit the next day, there would be serious pain in my fingers, hand an wrist. I always kind of had the feeling it was not a good thing but never really did anything. Until two nights ago. The cramping was so bad I couldn’t keep going. But I couldn’t stop, not with 3 usable hours before bedtime! So I decided to try the “correct method.” I strung the yarn over my right index, under the middle finger, over the ring and under the pinkie. I felt like a gimp. The stitches kept falling completely off my needles and the knitting was so tight it was bunching up in a big ball. However, after knitting a few awkward stitches, I realized what I was doing looked just like the superwoman speed knitter in the videos I had seen! Before I was bringing my whole hand, wrist and forearm in one giant engery-burning, muscle-cramping, time-wasting motion ALL the way around the needle. With the new way, all I had to do was basically make a little circle motion around the needle with my index finger. It was faster and it didn’t hurt! But I was so clumsy. I forced myself to finish the entire row. And it did take a lot longer than usual. But I could tell if I got good at it, it would be a lot faster. I did a few more rows with the new method and it felt a little better. When I got really frustrated I went back to the old way for a few stitches but it just wasn’t the same.

For the rest of the night I fought with my project. I wasn’t good enough at the new way to feel comfortable and the old way felt clumsy and hurt my hand. I was screwed. Also, the stitches using the new way were so tight the gauge changed. Luckily, I was working on the cover for my Swiffer WetJet mop so it is the one thing I have made so far that it didn’t matter what the stitches looked like (that’s another reason why I keep going). I went to bed pissed off.

However, the next day (yesterday) I tried it again. The first few stitches felt awkward and fell off the needle. But after the first row, I started to fall into a new rhythym. I did about 5 stitches really, REALLY fast without thinking about what I was doing. When I realized I had kind of zoned out, I knew it was starting to come naturally. I got off really early again yesterday because of the everlasting blizzard and so I was able to get a good long marathon knitting session in. By the end of the night, I had finished the mop cover and my hands didn’t hurt! I have turned a new leaf – I feel born again! I forced myself to learn the correct way and now I am much better off for it. Yea, I am going to celebrate by knitting the entire weekend! (Maybe)

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