Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cirque du Soleil

If you've seen Cirque you know about the contortionists, the Chinese women who can tie their bodies in knots and stand on their head, as in put their feet on top of their head.  Amazing feats, all.

I think that knitting 2-at-a-time using the Magic Loop method simulates the contortions of the Chinese acrobats.  The method is fabulous because you can complete two of the same (or even different) things at the same time.  This means that you work on pairs, like sox or hand-warmers, as pairs instead of as individual items.

But you pay a price, just as surely as the contortionist, no matter how well trained, must feel aches and pains (and BTW, who of us has ever seen an aged contortionist?)  In the case of this knitting method, there's lots of twisting and turning.  You must carry and keep track of (and try not to tangle) two balls of yarn.  At the end of each 'row' you must slide the work and the needles to re-position everything for the next row.

I've cast on and knitted about 10 rounds of a second pair of hand-warmers, this time using the Magic Loop method rather than DPN (double pointed needles.)

The pattern is called "Wave" (from 101 One Skein
Wonders.)  In this foto you can see both hand-warmers.
The one on the right is next in line for knitting.

Getting started is a contortion trick, too.  My way of maintaining order (as well as my own sanity) is to cast on the 30 stitches to one DPN.  Then I can reposition each half of this count (15) correctly onto the long circular needle.  Looks like this.
Hand-warmer on the left and hand-warmer on the right.
Two balls of yarn.  If you look closely, maybe even
consider counting, you'll find the total of 30 stitches per
hand-warmer divided in half -- 15 on the needle lying
toward the bottom and 15 on the needle lying toward the
top of the picture. 

Knitting the first few rows of all projects takes a special form of patience -- one I've often wished I could transfer to other life situations.  Careful, watchful, a bit tedious, slow and steady.  Just a few of the adverbs that describe the action of "knitting the first row in Magic Loop method."

I recommend you try watching a few videos on YouTube.  Books are good, but the videos have the advantage of a pleasant teacher-like voice describing each step while you watch.  You might wanna begin with your needles and yarn and work along with the teacher.  Knit Picks has a wonderful tutorial if you wanna go step by step from pictures and words.  Knit Picks Tutorial.

Here's a few more pictures that try to tell the story of these hand-warmers as they are progressing.
About half way thru one half of one row.  The black
cord holds the stitches that will be knit 'on the way back.'
You can already see the ribbing offset that
makes the wave
The other pair, the cranberry colored ones, didn't take long -- and each of that pair was knit separately, (starting at the bottom and finishing at the top) before the second one was begun.  Used DPN for that pair.

Not sure I'll be able to compare either the process or the time-to-completion.

I am sure that Magic Loop is magic but requires more than a sprinkle of magic dust or a few abracadabras.  Somewhere along each row I'm un-contorting my yarn or needles.  Takes a few rows to get my feet to stand on my head.

Try it -- the world (and knitting) take on a completely different look and feel when you're standing on your head.

No comments:

Post a Comment