Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Adventures With Wild Cherry Bark

Ah, the joys of crafting.

I started to knit my sister's birthday present last night. Started out with my size three dpns. All went well, until I noticed that it was turning out way larger than it needed to be... oops, different weight of yarn than called for in the directions. No problem. Frog the first row (all that I had done at that point, glad I was paying attention!), do some mental math (grind teeth, find whiskey, give up and figure it out on paper, pray to Minerva that I calculated correctly), and cast on again.

OK, it's going great, everything is perfect. Now I get to where I change to size 5 dpns. Bear in mind, it's about 2 AM-- if you can't sleep, do something useful. I get out the package of size 5s, start to knit, and realize that there are only three needles in this set.

Now, if you have never used dpns, here's the reason I flipped: you knit x number of stitches on three needles, making a cute little triangle. But to do this, you need a fourth needle to knit the stitches. Ergo, I was fubarred. Flummoxed. Flipped out. I couldn't just run to the LYS (Local Yarn Store, to you non-crafters)-- it's 2 AM! And even if I had wanted to waste the gas to go to Wal-Hell, their craft department is under-stocked (evil Wal-Hell) and the chances of finding the size I needed were slimmer than Cher. I could just put the knitting away-- hahahahaha! Yeah, right!

But the little voices in my head, they are smart. "Lyn," they said, "what is a dpn, but a stick with modified points on the end? Can you not find a substitute somewhere in your craft supplies? Can you not-- listen, Lyn, this could work-- can you not use a size F crochet hook in place of the fourth needle?" After all, it isn't like the points have to be sharp, just pointy enough to slip between the yarn and make a stitch. The end of a crochet hook would work, and a dpn doesn't need to be pointy on both ends, as long as there is nothing blocking the end of the needle to keep the stitches on. So I whipped out the trusty hook, said a quick "pleeeeeease" to the heavens, and tried it.

Glorioski, it actually worked! Takes a bit of concentration, especially if you are a tight knitter (guilty), and the wider spot on the center of the hook handle is irritating when you are sliding yarn along, but IT CAN BE DONE. So thus I knit on Sis's present until about 3, then finally got to sleep.

I debated buying more dpns, because that wide spot on the hook is irritating, but I hate the idea of spending money for a whole set of needles when I really only need ONE. So this afternoon while calling the wide spot dirty names, I decided: I'm in Battle Creek anyway, I'm only a few blocks away from the Charitable Union, it won't kill me to go there and spend 50 cents for a set of size 5 dpns. Providing they had any. Knowing how the knitting needles do not always stay organized, I brought my trusty needle-sizer with me to be sure I didn't end up with a 4 or 6 (shoot, I could do that at home!). I ended up volunteering to sort the dpns and label them, because after the fifth set of needles with three different sizes, I was getting way more irritated than the hook made me feel! They were more than glad to let me organize them.☺ (A non-profit organization accepting volunteer help -- Ya THINK?!) So I spent a happy hour, sizing needles and sorting them into sets. Sadly, some of the sets only had three to a set, but there were also three sets that only had ONE needle to them. There was ONE size 8 dpn, one size 7, and one size 6! Happily, there ended up being TWO sets of size 5, so I bought one set and left one set for someone else (I am so generous! )

And bought more yarn.

Then, I asked what their needs are for charity knitting (if anyone is interested, they need mittens, lots of mittens, preschool to adult size), since I have them on my list for charity knitting this Yule season and I thought it would be nice to make something they can really use, rather than just make something and hope it fit a need somewhere. As a result, I left with a bag of yarn for free, to make mittens for them. On top of what I had bought for my own use. I'm just glad that my daughter doesn't read this blog, and hopefully she won't notice the two bags in the back seat of the car... apparently, the mis-informed young woman (at 21 I can't call her a child, I guess) thinks--- ready?--- that I have too much yarn already. Yeah, right! That's like having too much money, or too many books. Or in her and her sister's cases, too many shoes and purses.

Ha. I win.

Back to my knitting!