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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Do you believe in magic (loops)?

I found many ways to disappoint my father as a teen-ager. He was my school's athletic director and a math teacher. So, naturally, I was a lackluster tennis player and dropped honors calculus for pottery my senior year. He never blamed me for being a poor athlete because there's only so much one can do to overcome being horribly uncoordinated. But he swore up and down that I was good at math and throwing that talent down the toilet.

So I sort of feel like knitting let's me tap back into math, but in the warmest and fuzziest of ways. Alterations to patterns and yarn substitutions require skills I haven't used since the mid '90s. I feel as though I'm definitely reawakening an unused part of my brain.

And I guess some knitting techniques challenge my poor coordination, too. Like the magic loop recommended for the sleeves of the Hot Lava Cardigan. I admit that double pointed needles confound me some days, particularly that first row. My sleeves inevitably look like crap. My seaming skills have improved tremendously, so I had resigned myself to knitting most things flat. But then this pattern introduced me to yet another way, the magic loop.

Maybe this technique is old hat to some of you, but the magic loop and I are just getting to know each other. You basically use a very long circular needle to knit small circumferences, like sleeves. When done correctly, it kinda looks like this:

(Please ignore my big toe).

But when I started my sleeves, the magic loop felt unwieldy and uncomfortable, kinda like this:

This cardigan has an unusual construction, and I hate to admit it, but at this point it looks eactly like a shrug. Since a few folks know of my newly instated shrug ban, I lie and tell them I'm knitting an elephant trunk cozy, which is what it kinda looks like at this point.

I'm also starting a new feature on my blog called "The dumbest thing I've done all week." There is a lot of competition for this distinction. I've been working a lot of overtime and odd hours, so I'm exhausted and taking shortcuts like parking illegally and driving on empty.

But this week's winner occured Tuesday, when my bathtub wouldn't drain. I was livid, particularly since this precise thing happened a week ago, right after my super temporarily turned off the hot water. There was apparently a pipe issue following a flood in my typically well-run building's basement. The super had to use some sort of loud machinery last week to get my pipes running again. So when the tub wouldn't drain again this week, I was ready to call the management company or the mayor or something. The super came back and found the culprit -- I had pushed the stopper down. Oh dear. So dumb.


Blogger yahaira said...

you'll have to tell me how it goes, for some reason no matter how much I read about it or how many videos I want on it my little mind cant grasp the magic.

btw what yarn are you using?

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Lee Ann said...

Oh crap. That reminds me...there's no gas in the car. Trust me, you've got competition: I drove down a one way street the wrong way the other day and scared the crap out of my passenger...and I live here, I know that street is one way, I have no idea what happened. Apart from a brain glitch, of course.

Sigh. I think I'm getting old.

Warm, fuzzy math is the best, btw. Try knitting a moebius strip. You'll feel positively brilliant ;-)

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Skylar said...

Um yeah, I'd like to learn that magic loop technique too, but, maybe later. And I should SO have one of those "dumbest thing i've done all week" thing too. Can't wait to see the sweater though.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I can't even make fun of you for that b/c I'm sure I've done worse!!

Girl, we might be knitting Hot Lava at the same time...if I ever get my bum to the LYS for some new circs.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Purly Whites said...

That's not dumb at all! But that is a fun new feature.

If you find you just can't abide the magic loop, try two circulars. You do have to go out and buy a second needle of the same size, which kinda irks me, but it is way easier.

2:21 PM  
Blogger the knitrider said...

haha, poor thing. its always the stopper. i have never heard of the magic loopy thing, so dont feel left behind!

2:27 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I love that sweater - good luck with the magic loop. Can't wait to see it! What yarn are you using?

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Kym said...

wow- all of the tops that you made look great! excellent color choices too.

why do dads always assume that when you suck at math, that you are just hiding a secret talent for it?? it would be so much EASIER to just do the problems than not...

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Magic loop intrigues me...I fear my pea-brain would be unable to grasp the concept though. Looks like you got it down!

1:55 PM  

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