Saturday, February 10, 2007

A slippery slope

Last weekend I made something warm for my head, so this weekend I'm making something warm for my feet: slippers. I was excited to attempt to knit something new. The pattern looked straightforward. It also appeared to be a relatively fast knit, even when keeping in mind that I have to make two of the objects.

I made excellent progress after an early evening nap last night. (I was wiped out after this week. I can't believe how fast it went.) I knitted some more this morning and then decided it was time for my first KIP in a week. I ventured to the Starbucks where I had knitted the last two times, but it was jammed. I decided against settling in at this location, primarily because seats were few and far between. I wanted a comfortable chair and a little room to spread out. I wasn't going to get it there.

Never fear. Starbucks are every couple feet, so I went to another nearby for my afternoon knitting. I had my pick of the place since no other customers were there when I arrived. I took my spot in a plush chair, set my messenger bag on the floor and my coffee and pattern binder on the little table, and went to work on the slipper. I only had a few rows to knit to finish my first slipper, so just like that one was done and in need of seaming.

Since sewing the hat's seam didn't go so well, I chose against seaming the slipper at the coffee shop. I wanted to watch the instructions on the Knitting Made Easy CD-ROM Kristin gave me and see if I could do better. Rather than start the next slipper, I turned to Jennifer's ribbed scarf.

During this time a young lady sat in the chair directly across from me. In my other public knitting experiences people have selected seats not as close, so this was a bit surprising. It was the best remaining chair, so it made sense why she'd take it. She removed her boots and curled up in the chair as she typed on her laptop.

I knitted the scarf for a long time, stopping occasionally to drink my chai tea latte and rub the drowsiness from my eyes. I had probably been there for an hour and a half when trouble befell my knitting. The right needle got snagged in my sweater's sleeve. While I shook it out, two stitches were dropped. This problem has been the kiss of death for me. I will not frog what I've done to correct this mistake, or at least I won't do it intentionally. (There's too much already knitted to rip it all out. Plus, I need to learn how to make this repair.) I knew the scarf was finished for the time being, so I put it away.

I wasn't ready to go, so I cast on the stitches for the next slipper. While I was doing this, the young woman got up to go to the bathroom and set her laptop on the small table between us. The screen was facing me, and yes, I looked at what she was writing.

There was no mistaking that it was about me. I didn't read it word for word, partially because it was just far enough that I had to strain to read it since I wasn't leaning forward and partially because I didn't want to be caught in the act. She had described my messenger bag, the binder I had sitting out, the slipper I was knitting when she first sat down, and my sigh when I obviously made a mistake on the scarf. She must know a little about knitting because I saw the word "purl", and she had observed that the flat, folded object was intended to be a slipper.

It certainly didn't seem like an accident that the laptop had been positioned in a way that allowed me to read what she had written. Before you start thinking this is some cute flirtation and that knitting brought love to the secret knitter (in time for Valentine's Day, no less), let me point out that I'm guessing she is seventeen years old. I can be bad at estimating ages, but I'd bet she is in high school, maybe a first or second year of college. I'm extremely flattered if I was supposed to be impressed or take that as a cue, but last I checked, life is not a Winger song. And if you must know, yes, she was attractive.

While I didn't read every word in the few paragraphs on her computer screen, I got the gist of it. Best I can tell, she was building a story around what I was doing. Her assumption was that the slippers were going to be a Valentine's Day gift. I saw the words "mangled slippers", but I'm not sure if that was in reference to what she thought of my knitting or if that's what I was replacing by making these. Let's hope it was the latter.

She came back to her seat and didn't say anything. Neither did I. Maybe this was a missed opportunity, but it's much more likely that I saved myself from providing a doozy of an ending to a high school creative writing assignment or blog post. That she got a call from her mother asking where she was lends further support to my assumption about her age.

At home I watched several sections of the knitting CD-ROM and looked at online instructions regarding seams. I learned that I have not been weaving in the ends properly. That doesn't surprise me. Ascertaining the best way to sew the seams was less enlightening. None of the tips appeared to address my situation. I tried my best and took my time. You know what? I think it turned out pretty well.

I'm not sure if it fits properly. Per the instructions I sewed the seam to the halfway point of the slipper length, but it seems like too much of my foot is exposed. The heel feels like it is going to slip off. That said, I'm happy with the job I did. One more to go.


At 9:47 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Much better seam! I like the slipper, too.

You should see me sitting here chuckling about the girl writing about you and you reading what she wrote! :-) I am a nosey person, so that's just what I would do.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Ok, Mark - you rock, and I'm super-jealous that you are knitting your own slippers! My friends make felted ones (knitted w/ wool and then washed in hot water to become like "felt") and I'm so jealous. I'm sure I could do it, but it's one of those things that I stay afraid of for some reason. Was your pattern a free one? If so, would you mind sending the link to me so I can maybe give it a try?
Very excited to hear about the scarf being under way : ) Hopefully you are able to pick your stitches back up w/o too much ripping, though!
And that's fun about the girl and her writing about you...what a strange experience, although I agree with Karen in that I would totally have read it, too haha

At 4:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The seaming looks great. Must have been kind of surreal to see yourself on the computer screen, I don't think I would have said anything either, but mangled slippers is a bit harsh.


Post a Comment

<< Home