Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mobile Knitting

Sheryl was surprised that I knit lace while walking. Actually, if I forget my knitting I carry a pine cone or rock in my left hand. I have some nerve damage in my left side and need to hold something in my hand to complete the broken circuit. I think what it does is strengthen the impulse so it bridges the tattered synapses?

What works best is to knit. After much practice, I was able to do more than knit stockinette sock shanks -- now I can knit complicated lace while running down the cobblestone stairs on my hill and chatting with my daughter.

The other walkers in the neighborhood check that day's knitting, ask questions and say, "Oh, good progress! Did you finish the pair of socks you were working on last week?" They tend to encourage, not nag, and I'll often chide them for not having their knitting with them. There's a baby on our road and I've knit crawling bootees for her; other friends flaunt the socks I've knit them. A few people wait until they see me walking by, then dash out with their knitting, needing help with a dropped stitch or a new technique.

Things that make mobile knitting easier:
1) My emergency sock kit, which matches and fits in:
2) My messenger bag. I can use a stitch holder to fasten the bulk of a project to the strap at a comfortable height so there isn't any weight dragging on my wrists. The yarn fits in the bag and doesn't slip out because the fulled bag has grab.
3) I usually carry my bag only on outings. For the normal walk to and from town I hook the stitch holder to a belt loop or the front of my sweater, then tuck the ball of yarn in my left armpit. My arm just hangs there unless I try hard to move it, so it's a good system.
4) Another weight-abatement technique is to knit something from within the circle, like a sleeve. If I turn it inside out, then stick my left hand inside, the bulk of the fabric rests placidly on my forearm, relieving any wrist strain.
5) Pocket patterns. [Cassie, how's it going?]

Hazards of mobile knitting:
1) Lost needles. People turn them in to the circulation counter at the library since they know the needles are probably mine.
2) Humiliating moments when you realize you dropped the ball of yarn a block ago and it's been happily unwinding (the only thing wrong with a properly wound, relaxed ball of yarn is it can unwind over a very long span without tangling).
3) Signpost poles, curbs, and other obstacles that sneak in front of you when you're concentrating on a skp...
4) Knitting too far and needing the next page of the pattern. [See #5 above.]
5) If you think the peer pressure to produce FO's for the blog is intense, you should try KIP'ing in a neighborhood of knitters!