Sunday, August 19, 2007


OK, so, apparently I am not smart enough to knit. Perhaps I should take up something simpler, like nuclear medicine or stock market analysis.


Because I like to consider these things ‘lessons’ rather than ‘failures’, let’s review what went wrong, shall we?

We can start with someone trying to do a fidgety pattern with lace-weight yarn while a three year old is underfoot. We can almost start and stop right there. So as I’m sitting there muttering, “Knit 1, ssk, yarn over, knit 2, knit-two-together, yarn over, knit one, yarn over…”, Captain Adventure is coming up with ways to ruin me.

There was the “let out piercing screams just as mommy is trying to wedge her needle under five stitches for the knit-five-together maneuver so she’ll jump and drop all five of them” tactic. And then there was the ever-popular “grab the ball of lace-weight and run off giggling madly while mommy shrieks in horror and half-kills herself trying to get after you”. With bonus points for putting slippery toys right under her feet before starting it.

And of course, the “let’s get all three of my sisters to chase me! And then I shall fling myself, giggling madly and with my sisters in hot pursuit, onto my mother so that she must twist in ways nature never intended to avoid impaling us with her extra-pointy lace needles! Wheeee!” gambit was in full play.


A rational person would have stopped right there, said, “OK, so, this is a project for later – when all four of them are in (pre)school and I have uninterrupted time.”

But oh no. I never learn. I never, ever learn. I will lose count and I will drop stitches and I need projects which are easy to recover when said events occur. Thicker yarns and patterns which are painfully obvious even in really bad lighting with four people all shrieking demands at once – that’s what I can handle right now.

But can I remember this? Can I hold onto this information? Can I acknowledge that I am not able to handle more intricate patterns with the Denizens underfoot? Oh no. No. Instead, I say that I can do this pattern, you know, in quieter moments.

So when we were getting in the van for the two (three – there was traffic) hour drive to a friend’s birthday party, I said, “Cool! I’ll take my knitting – they won’t be able to jump on me while we’re driving!”

Well, guess what I learned? The only thing harder than knitting lace with a three year old bouncing on you, is knitting lace in the car while your husband is going, “So anyway blah blah blah did they take down that fence over there? Why did they put that k-rail there? Is that the new college campus? OH! Lookit that cool car, whoa, that’s completely classic!” while the van is going boingy-boingy-boingy-boingy down the road and all the children are yelling about the movie and arguing about the movie and asking you for snacks and kicking the back of your seat even though you just threatened to meld their feet to their own chair with duct tape if they did it even one more time. (And I would have, but my husband refused to pull over at a hardware store. Sheesh!)

There is only one word for what I had by the end of the trip: Disaster.

This morning I looked at the misplaced yarn overs and the huge loops of ‘why is that there?’ extra yarn hanging off the back and first I said, “Dang. Hmm. Well, but I can fix this…”

About an hour later, I admitted that no. No I can’t. And it isn’t going to be better tomorrow, and it isn’t going to be easier during gymnastics.

Fingering-weight projects are just going to have to take a back burner until Captain Adventure is ready for preschool and I can have an hour or two of nobody pulling on me.

Yarn demon: 3. Tama: 0.

I’m going to try a boring kid’s sweater for Captain Adventure. Simple pattern, knit up in the round, basic stripe pattern with no fiddly stuff. Just stripes. Straight up, stripes.

I’m probably going to bollix that up, too.

I really should consider taking up another hobby. Like solving the affordable housing crisis, or perhaps finding a cure for cancer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pout in the corner while casting on 146 stitch of good old worsted weight wool leftover from projects past…


Yarnhog said...

Oh, yeah. I made almost an entire lace patterned sweater on a very, very long car trip with my husband, kids, and dogs. I frogged almost an entire lace patterned sweater when I got home. Now, I keep a "knitting with kids around" project in my purse and a "knitting without kids around" project in my knitting spot.

Sunny said...

FWIW, I completely understand. I have 3 dogs, a cat, and a chatty husband. Unless I am knitting a simple something, I end up with conversational distractions or a cat running down the hall with the ball of yarn or my yarn will suddenly be covered in dog drool. Ugh! Dog drool is the worst, and the yarn is just never the same after...

I have been working on the Mystery Stole 3, and let me tell you! Trying to knit lace with beads and all of these distractions? Hah! I may have to just give it up. But it's sooooooo pretttttttyyyyyyyy!

Anonymous said...

I learned this lesson during Sockapalooza. I was making "Reptilian Lace" from Knitty, and I had to frog the first sock three times, because I kept trying to knit it during breakfast time, and not only is it impossible to keep track of a cable/lace pattern chart while shouting at children to stop poking each other and eat their breakfast, but it is even more difficult when said children keep stealing the post-it note that you're using to keep track of where you are in the pattern chart ("But Mummy, I NEEEEEED it for my invention! I'm making a machine to build you a new red car with no top on, because I looooooooove you!") (A red convertible - does this boy know his rev-head mother or what?).
Now I keep 'breakfast knitting' and 'knitting for when 7yo is at school and 4yo is catatonic in front of Bob the Builder'. Breakfast knitting at present is a very boring garter-rib sock, and the other project is my first-ever Baby Surprise Jacket. I figure I need to concentrate on the mitres and shaping this time around. Later I may be able to auto-pilot it.

Amy Lane said...

Worsted weight socks. In the round. And excuse me, the baby is about to feed a whole box of cereal to the dog...

HDW said...

Tama, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! I sympathize!!!!!! I knit my smoke ring during naps and before they got up and after they went to bed. Between sessions it was kept in a zip lock bag, INSIDE of a zippered pouch, INSIDE a Backpack!!! little curtain climbers won't get the best of me!!!!!! Ha ha or so I thought....I caught my 1 year old and my 3 year old as they were stomping on the ziplock did I not hear the zippers.....wellll ummmmm .....errrr, even moms have to go potty once in a while!!!!!! MAN O MAN heaven forbid, the what goes in must come out rule applies to us to?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Go back to it for a quiet time project..........or am I the only nut job that has kids who nap.............people look at me like I am crazy when I say they nap for about 2 hours.........hey it is good for me !!!!! Ithink I would go nuts without those precious moments!!! :( Getting close to that time with the 3 year old, although even my daughter (7) will doze on occasion if she sits still in the afternoon!!!

Good luck!!! It is beautiful!!! Did you see that Susam has all of her patterns 50% off? Including the smoke ring!

Anonymous said...

Mercy. Kudos to you for even attempting lace with four little ones in the house! Maybe get Captain Adventure one of those nifty little spool knitters that are designed for small kids? You know, the brightly colored plastic ones with the weird faces or whatever? That way he might - MIGHT! - feel less of a need to mess with Mommy's knitting, since he has some of his own. Just a random thought!

Helen said...

I recall standing at the Skaska booth on it's first appearance at Stitches, sure I could knit one of those Orenburgs -- at least, by the time I'm 90 given the delicate yarn and amazing stuff etc.
Year one, I said "I'll wait til the kids are older"
Year two, I said, "to hell with that, I'm buying one". It was pricey. I love it. And even now, that junior high is becoming part of my life, there is some knitting I can't do when they're home. I can knit lace now, but something that delicate may have to wait 'til they're in college.

Jen said...

Here's a trick I learned from a friend when we were waiting tables together and the bosses kids were really into annoying us. She brought them a big bag of sunflower seeds to eat. Kept them busy for a couple of hours with cracking the shells and eating them. Then again, they were from China and had never had them before so the novelty of it all was there for them. heh

Science PhD Mom said...

At least you can manage to knit what I have termed "Immensely Complicated and Never to Be Attempted" knitting projects like sweaters. I managed to bollux up my very simple scarf from fun fur yarn. There is a big gaping hole in one area, which I will clumsily patch with yarn when I am done...IF I ever finish it, with DD attempting to "help" at all turns. I think the new hiding spot of on top of the water heater will work...

Holly Bee said...

Oh! Nightmare of lace!!! I have decided to only work on in the round or top down boring-boring stuff until, well, all my kids are, in college?

Or are some people not meant to do lace?

Anonymous said...

I think it's very generous of you to knit Captain Adventure a sweater after all that.

MadMad said...

This is why I have like 10 WIPs going at any one time... the road sock, with no pattern whatsoever, for k while passenger, the easy sock, with an easy to remember and do pattern, like jaywalker, for when kids are around or I'm pretending to care about their soccer game, etc., etc., culminating in lace for night-time after everyone's gone to bed. The good/bad news is, I still make mistakes!

Ariel said...

Ah, not so much with the post-frogging afterglow, I see. I can't even listen to music while knitting even simple lace. You're a brave woman for trying complicated lace with kids!