Saturday, October 13, 2007

Knitting Crisis, and a Present

I was knitting along steadily this morning, all through the budget discussion and vote on new folks for various diocesan committees and councils, until suddenly, not far from the end of the skein, the yarn just . . . dissolved: separated into its component parts, which left me knitting with what felt like spider silk. It was very unsettling. I was in the middle of a row, which isn't a good place to join new yarn, so I managed to knit (very carefully!) with the insubstantial stuff to the end of the row. I've now knit two rows with a new skein, so I think I'm over the crisis, but it was scary.

Meanwhile, I'd been browsing a table of African crafts in the vendors' room. The fellow who died two weeks was very active in development efforts over there, and a number of us had felt his absence at that table -- which he always manned -- very keenly. I'd been back two or three times to look at various woven bags: all of them would have been good for carrying knitting, but the issue's how to get them back home, given my limited luggage. But finally, this afternoon, I saw one I just loved, and bought it. I'll cram it into my suitcase somehow!

When I brought it up to the payment area, the young African man who'd been patiently watching me dither over bags reached over and dropped something inside. "A bonus," he told me. It's a lovely necklace made of wooden beads carved to look like animals, and one's a lion, so it will be a great reminder of the MGM expedition, too.

I'm wearing it now. It makes me very happy!


  1. Oh dear. I forgot to tell you that it might do that. Some skeins are perfectly fine, but every now and then it kinda just dissolves. When that happened, I undid to the end of the row I'd been on and tied it there. I'd actually suggest doing that even now, very very carefully. If the yarn has broken, you're in danger of losing the whole shawl later.

    Un-knitting is a real pain in the rear and should be approached as something that will take a lot of time, because losing a stitch will also ruin a project. If you have a crochet hook, they are extremely helpful for knitting snafus.

    I'm far from expert, but if you've got questions, just ask!

  2. Ouch! Good luck with that. Prayers for patience and good manipulative skills on your part.


  3. What happened is this -- that particular yarn is two components: a strong string and the fluffy stuff. The string broke or was missing and you just knitted the fluffy stuff. and as eaquae says, you need to rip back to where the string is still strong and tie on a new piece, or the shawl will very likely develop a big hole and ravel from there.
    Don't despair! I try to see ripping out (some knitters call it "frogging" -- rip-it, rip-it) in the same light as revising text. Must be done, and the resulting piece will be the better for it.
    Good luck!

  4. Oh, dear, indeed! I'm now several inches past there, and inclined to press on. I very carefully knitted all the fluffy strands together; they just weren't twisted together; and I can't see any difference between that area and the rest (the fluffy strings are tenacious -- as I know from trying to cut them -- they're just a very different consistency).

    Also, weaving the loose strands into that portion of the shawl may strengthen it, no . . . ?

    In any case, it may be foolish of me, but I'm going to leave it as it is. If disaster ensues, I'll make Sharon a new shawl, and you can all say "I told you so."

  5. Eaquae Legit11:32 AM

    Good luck, I hope it works out! You're a braver soul than I (although you don't have your knitting-guru mother looking over your shoulder). I'd still recommend getting a medium-sized crochet hook for future goofs. I use a size 5 or 6, but I don't know if they size them the same in the States.

    Safe flight!

  6. Thanks, EL! I already have a crochet hook, and I've used it! I've also frogged as much as half a row to fix errors -- but with this yarn, I'm afraid that undoing a bunch of rows would create more problems than it solved.

    I took another look at the problem area; all the parts of the yarn are there. It didn't break, just untwisted. And I was careful to get all the strands (including the strong one) when I was knitting that row -- so I hope I'll be okay!

    But if this happens again, I'll definitely frog to the previous row!


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