14 August 2005

Frustrations, and a triumph or two

Frustration the First: (little Lemony Snicket reference there ...) No. 1 Son had been given a skein of handspun hand-dyed wool which was so chunky and uneven he couldn't knit with it, so I offered to knit a hat for him, with the wool. Found a pattern on knittydotcom via soule mama. Frustration number one - pattern says 'chunky wool' (no ply stated).
Frustration - pattern requires circular needles, (no size stated). I also had never knitted on circular needles in my life.
Frustration - pattern is for a newborn. No. 1 is eleven years old. Hence, head slightly bigger than newborn size.

No worries thinks I, I am an intelligent woman, I can wing it. Purchase needle(s?), begin confidently, making it up as I go along. "This many stitches should be right for 11-year-old head, using this unplied wool and undetermined sized needle(s)", etc etc. Ignore small voices in my head.

Wrong. Undid hat five times. Purchased bigger sized circular needle(s). Still wrong, but seriously fed up now so carried on regardless. Ran out of wool. Had to return to infrequently held exotic craft market. Found stall. Crafty looking woman wearing many handknitted clothes all at once says cheerfully "I just sold the last skein of that particular dyelot. Sorry 'bout that!" I purchase a purple dyed skein and realise this is becoming a very expensive hat. Continue doggedly knitting the now two-tone hat.

The hat is finished. It would fit an elephant.

Plan to one day undo it and try again. But don't have the strength just now.

Triumph the First: Finished a little hat for Best Friend's No. 4 wee babe. With knitted flowers! I finally mastered the knitted flowers! And no circular needle(s) in sight. Blessedly pleased with result.

Frustration the Second: Have tried unsuccessfully twice to make sourdough bread. The first time I obediently followed the recipe which insisted I use 2 tablespoons of yeast. Result - explosion of dough all over my kitchen and inside of my breadmaker. Took 30 minutes and much cursing (in front of the children, shit shit shit) to clean breadmachine. Rang up company to query/bitch and a nineteen year old blonde (how do I know? I don't. She just sounded 19 years old and blonde and yes that's an awful stereotype and no I'm not apologising) said cheerfully "Oh, that was a printing error. Sorry 'bout that!" The second time (and it took a good two months to work up the courage to attempt it again) I was in a hurry and instead of leaving my starter "in a warm draft-free location overnight" I put it in a low oven for a couple of hours. Result - it cooked and hardened. Third attempt (another two months later), success (!), although it took 30 minutes and much cursing (in front of the children, shit shit shit) to get it out of the blooming breadtin. Next time I will let the machine do the dough thing and I will handshape it and put it on a flat tray in the oven. Myself.

Triumph the Second: once it was out of the breadmachine it tasted sensational, especially dipped in Best Friend's Mother's brand new olive oil from her first commercial pressing.

Frustration the Third: I don't think that much yeast is good for women.

What a longwinded, mind-numbingly boring post. But I needed to get it off my chest and that, dear internet, is what you are for, said she cheerfully. Sorry 'bout that!

Note to self: shut up now

No. 3 son who is six years old: Mummy can I knit with circular needles?
Me, weary after many frustrations: No, you're six. Stick to straight needles. When you're 41 you can learn to knit on circular needles.

No. 3 is now knitting himself a hat, on circular needles. And having a darn sight more success than his mother.



Jane said...

What a brilliant post. I loved reading it all. I would heartily (and it is a hearty thing to do)recommend making bread by hand. So much easier and more control and definitely more satisfying. Look at Kath's links (at redcurrent) for making sourdough which uses a lot less yeast and more time.

I have been knitting for ages (more than 25 years) and realised long, long ago that, unless you are a knitting Einstein, it's never worth making it up as you go along. Maybe your son IS the next Einstein!

Windy City Wendy said...

I wish that new baby were mine just so I would have that darling hat to put on it. You do lovely work! I love that you're teaching your kids to knit. My son has asked me to teach him how to sew and I think he's finally old enough to use the machine without sewing himself to his project.

Suse said...

Three errata:

The pattern was from hello yarn not knittydotcom

The soule mama link doesn't work. Sorry. Will fix.

The pattern did specify needle size, I just didn't have it with me when I purchased the needle(s) so my brain 'reorganised' that memory.

Jees, I must have been tired when I posted.

ladylinoleum said...

Funny post! Good for son no. 3!

SueeeuS said...

I love the Lemondy Snicket refs!! Would love to see a pic of A's babe's flowered hat gift. (It is A, isn't it?)

SueeeuS said...

I'm a dork! Or just sleepy. The hat is SO adorable!!