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too tired

There is sometimes a cruel twist in being both recorder and typist. Sitting through a hearing once is usually enough. Having to sit through it again several times (there’s no such thing as being able to type straight through with the majority of work we do, so you’re constantly going over and over bits to make sure you’ve heard it properly) is just malicious, I tell you, malicious. That’s been my very recent experience and I decided to finish work 10 minutes early because I couldn’t do another minute of the stuff without wanting to scream!

On a nicer note but almost as frustrating, I was trying to find a circular knitting needle that was somewhere between 40 cm and 60 cm. The shorter is the recommended size for the White Caps Cowl, but I’m finding it altogether too frustrating to work on. The longer is more than the recommended length but I suspect I may end up using it to get my work established, whether or not it’s the right size. It’s just not possible to cast on and straighten out stitches on the 40 cm circular, I’m distressed to say; not for me, anyway. So I’ve had to resort to my mother’s trick of doing the first few rows back and forward to get some stability going. Then I’ll try to join it and work in the round.

If you’re a knitter, you might want to tell me why I’m wrong to do it that way and I’ll listen politely but your arguments won’t sway me from my path. If it was good enough for my mother – a knitter in the days when everyone knitted their own socks and whose cunning tip might therefore be seen as born of long experience – then I see no reason at all why I shouldn’t make life a little easier for myself by following her example.

And it’s a long weekend here. I plan to sew and knit as much as I can. I have Apronalong fabric to sort out and patterns to tidy before I get cracking on that project. Still, the forecast is for a very wintry lot of weather indeed, so staying indoors sounds like a perfect plan. If you’re having a long weekend too, and even if you’re only having an ordinary one, I hope you’re able to get lots of sewing and knitting done.

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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gauging by reactions

I’ve mislaid my knitting needle gauge (I’m reasonably sure it’s about the place somewhere but I truly cannot track it down). I could probably get by without it for a while but, as I have a lot of old needles and some of them aren’t obviously marked with a size, it’s something I would eventually need (assuming continued absence of original, etc; and it’s been missing for a while).

Cue present situation with scarves on size UK 8/US 6/4 mm needles. I thought the pair I picked up to start on mark II of Eldest Son’s scarf (Dr B and Boy both reckoned Eldest Son unlikely to wear what I was busy with; in fact, Dr B said categorically that he wouldn’t) were about the same size, but to both eye and feel, they were a little thicker than the metal needles I’d been using for the other scarf. That’s perfectly possible, too, as knitting needle gauge can vary somewhat especially with older needles and different countries; my lovely long, pink Italian needles that I pretended were UK 10, and which claimed to be UK 10, actually aren’t (discussion below). They’re somewhere between sizes but it didn’t matter. I used them anyway and I absolutely loved, and still love, how l-o-n-g they are (15 ins/39 mm or so of good workable space and a bit to spare). That they’re pink is an added bonus because it means they’re extra easy to find.

So, anxious to get started on the next version of the scarf and absent the gauge, I went with the flow. I mean, it’s a scarf. No biggie. Instead of Silk Garden which was decreed too bright for Eldest Son’s austere taste, the scarf is now in two close shades of Cleckheaton Country Tartan (both with a blue base). It’s looking good and it’s lovely and soft and will be very warm. It’s quietly understated and my colleagues think it should be just the shot for A Man (any man). Boy and Dr B, I can tell you now, are less convinced of its appropriateness for Eldest Son although they think it’s perhaps more his style than the Silk Garden scarf.

Long pink metal and short aqua plastic needles

However, I thought I’d better replace the needle gauge because I might need to be more precise about something in the future (near or distant). The last one accompanied some magazine or other that I bought when I was living in England. I don’t suppose the magazine was expensive and I probably bought it for the gauge (perhaps it was an English Women’s Weekly, given their fabulous knitting patterns one of which could well have caught my eye) rather than specifically the content.

I tracked down a sturdier gauge (it’s a pack of two for the wider range of today’s readily available size of needles) whose appropriate slot tells me my old needles, instead of being “maybe UK 8/US 6/4 mm” are actually nearer “maybe UK 7/US 7/4.5 mm”. In fact, they are a size somewhere between UK 7/US 7/4.5 mm and UK 6/US8/5 mm. However, the gauge is confusing, too, setting out equivalents that tells me precision in needle sizes is not a firm concept at all.

It states that 3.5 mm needles are UK 9/US 4. Then it assures me that UK 9 are also equivalent to US 5 and 3.75 mm. My 3.5 mm needles say they’re UK 10, which the gauge recognises as 3.25 mm/US 3. Who’s right? I suppose you pays your money and takes your choice but there is an extent to which it doesn’t matter, so long as you use the correct size to obtain the correct tension/gauge (more confusion around terminology). I’m not giving up on my old needles just because they don’t fit the gauge because the scarf is looking nice.

You might say the scarf likes the old needles and I here admit that so do I. As I said, I do love my pink Italian numbers but the very length that makes me love them means I couldn’t use them on the bus. Those I’m using now are short, which means I can knit on the bus without fear of stabbing anyone or having to adopt a cramped style to avoid annoying someone sitting in the next seat. They’re plastic. Actually, they’re probably bakelite, I don’t know; I believe they’re what might be called vintage (they once belonged to my mother). They’re soft, anyway, and don’t hurt my hands or make them ache. They’re quiet (mind you, I don’t make that much racket when I knit anyway). They fit into my handbag. And what is more, they’re aqua. (Excuse the quality of the photo, my phone was handy and the real camera was not.)

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Knitting, Musing

 

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