Friday, 15 June 2007

Shame, pain, and Matilda Jane

The shame part: I'm sorry I've been away from the blogosphere. I spent the best part of two weeks shut away in the attic with my books and no time for knitting. I decided to leave the blog until I had some progress to report, and I regret to say that I was simply too jealous of everyone with time to knit to look at any other blogs (I'm just catching up now; you've all been extremely busy). Then, once I'd done a decent amount of work and could have picked up the needles again, I managed to cause the pain part of this post:

The bandage is covering a cut resulting from a very exciting accident involving a reversing bus, a parked van, a helpful neighbour (me) running to fetch the van's owner, and a pothole, in which the aforementioned helpful neighbour (me) tripped, breaking my fall with the heel of my hand (irony bonus: the bus was reversing because of roadworks to fix the potholes). Upside: I had medical instructions to leave the kids' baths and the washing up to my partner for a week. Downside: it hurt quite a lot and I couldn't knit or type either. But on Friday, I could take the bandage off, and by yesterday evening, I was halfway through the yoke of Matilda Jane.

I nearly started on something else entirely. I was sulking around, feeling fed up with everything I was working on and wishing for something brainless and satisfying (besides ripping). "A simple top-down raglan cardigan!" I thought. My next thought was to design it myself, and the thought immediately after that was that I had absolutely no intention of doing more thinking than necessary while my higher brain functions are supposed to be devoted to the nineteenth century novel. So I poked about on the internet and I priced up Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and looked at the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns, and thought that actually I'd like something a bit less simple, and so I sulked for a bit longer.

And then I remembered the Matilda Jane pattern, and the bag of Rowan Wool Cotton that arrived last week for a prospective Fair Isle project, and suddenly I was knitting again. Matilda Jane is just the right pattern for now. It's thoroughly addictive: I ended up leaving it on the kitchen table and knitting a few rows every time I went in to do something. It uses short rows to shape the neck, and lifted increases for the raglan shaping. This is the first time I've used that increase, and I love it: it's so neat and satisfying, and somehow working into the back of a stitch gives me the feeling of knowing the intimate life of my knitting. It's also the first time I've used short rows without making a hell of a mess. (Disclosure: there is a bit of a mess, and despite close attention to the big VK book, I'm never totally sure that I'm doing them right, but for now I'm happy enough that there are no holes.)


donnac1968 said...

Good to see you back, sorry to hear about your accident. I know what its like not being able to knit at the moment!!
Glad to hear you are enjoying Matilda Jane though, can't wait to see it finished.

Caroline M said...

I've bought the knitting p&s patterns and sold them again without knitting them up. They were not for me.

I still find short rows fun, like some fast moving magic trick or turning a heel. I suppose in time the novelty will wear off but they are just so clever. Who would have thought that one of the first mistakes that you can make as a knitter could have such a useful function.

I'm sorry to see the hand, maybe you should keep off the washing up for another few weeks until it's had chance to heal fully.

clarabelle said...

hi Webbo, hope you managed to make some progress on your thesis? And sorry to hear about your weird accident?

The Matilda Jane pattern is as yet untried by moi. I've got it, I like it, but it just might be a bit too young for me (?!). I just love the back thingie though, like a corset. Ysolda is a genius.

And thanks for your comment on my blog. If you had posted sooner, you might have won!

Sarah said...

Ooh dear - glad your hand is on the mend now and knitting is possible again (hope the washing up isn't yet ;o)

Matilda Jane looks promising.

Rebel said...

Sorry about your wrist - that looks painful! - zuma

Seahorse said...

Ouch!!! Glad it's somewhat improved now. MJ is a really lovely pattern.

Queen of the froggers. said...

What a nightmare that freaky accident was. I hope it is better now. Matilda Jane is a great pattern ... I learnt lifted increases there too and the short rows! The pink is nice.

Badger said...

Good to see you're back, although not so good with the damaged wrist.

I find that if your short rows don't look as spiffingly fab as you would like, then it might be worth changing to a different method of doing them. If you're wrapping them then try Priscilla Gibson-Robert's YO short rows or vice versa - it might make a real difference to them :)

(And there's been no badger baiting, just a bit of behind the scenes nastiness directed at some jolly lovely people at a forum - thanks for the support all the same)

Lime Street Knits said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your accident, but glad to hear that you're knitting again. Good luck with your thesis!