Friday, August 20, 2010

Lace Knitting will KILL YOU

So, I've been working on Annis, from knitty. It's my first adventure into real lace, using real laceweight yarn (although thankfully on size 8 needles!) and it's actually progressing pretty well.

I'm mostly through the complicated bits of the lace chart, working on row 14 out of 18. This is the last purl row on which you finish up nupps. Nupps are a unique stitch which I saw from comments on Rav that lots of people dislike. Many projects involve replacing nupps with beads, or just skipping them altogether. Now I can say that I actually really like them - ok, sure, the making 7 stitches from 1 part on the knit row is tedious, and the purling 7 stitches together part on the following purl row is dangerous. But successfully completing such a p7tog feels like a miniature achievement, and seeing the nupp form as I do so is also really satisfying.

But it's not what I'd call easy. Sometimes it's really hard to get the right needle through all seven loops; no matter how I angle it, one likes to stick up against the left needle and refuse to be picked up. I find I have to inch the 7 stitches right up to the tip of the left needle to even begin to have a chance at getting all 7; once it's there, I have to hold both needles in place SO TIGHT with my left hand while my right hand wraps the yarn around the teeny stub of needle tip showing through the loops; if I don't then maybe the right needle will slip out, no big deal - or maybe the prospective nupp will partially fall off the left needles. Much bigger deal. Then, I can take the right needle back in my right hand while keeping tension on the working yarn, although I have to pull it pretty taut in order to get it to slip through all the loops as I withdraw the right needle, instead of just popping off.

Like I said, it's satisfying - but it requires concentration and attention to detail, enough so that it also makes me a little tense as I'm doing it. Nervous energy, like a sliver of how it feels when you're psyching yourself up to do something scary. Last night, I was hanging out on the couch with Ryan, TV blaring something I'm not really interested in, while I worked. I gathered my nupp at the tip of the left needle, carefully forced the right needle through all 7 loops, and go to wrap the yarn . . . . when Ryan grabs my arm and shouts 'BOOGAH!'.

I don't really understand why, but this is one of his favorite things to do - surprise me and try to see me jump. Someday I'm just going to slap him, and then ask, 'Are you surprised now, bitch? Well, are you?' But in general I mostly ignore it these days, or just give him a look.

Last night, while desperately still applying my deathgrip to both needles with one hand, I looked him in the eye with full on hatred blazing from my inner core out through my pupils and nearly scream at him, 'WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU??' Instead of giggling or giving me an affectionate half-shove like normal, he actually physically leans back from me, his shock visible in his hairy face. It is even more satisfying than completing a nupp, to see him taken aback so.

Now, I'm not normally a delicate flower of womanhood. Curses and shouting are not uncommon in this household, although more often delivered in an irritated and half-playful, half-annoyed sense. I suppose it must have been the level of fury which he had uncovered (rather than the words themselves) which had struck him speechless.

I turn back to the nupp and ensure it is safely purled, transferred to its new home on the right needle, and set my knitting aside for a moment. This has been long enough for the rage to retreat back into the cave from whence it came, so now I can turn back to him, and say, "I'm sorry, but I was doing something really tricky and you almost made me ruin it, by grabbing my arm like that." He is genuinely sorry, realizing from my (admittedly overboard) reaction that he came much closer to the abyss than intended. I then forced him to watch as I showed him a nupp and explained how they were formed, then demonstrated the procedure for finishing one off.

He'll never be a knitter. But maybe last night I forced just a tiny bit more respect for the craft into him. At the very least, I think he is unlikely to BOOGAH me again while I'm knitting.