Don’t Stand and Watch
April 13, 2010
Top Tennis Tip #2 from my spring break tennis experience: “Constant Movement: Hit and move—don’t stand and watch.”
I am beginning to think that tennis and knitting are the same thing. The same motions repeated over and over. The thrill of a decent serve; the agony of a bad bind-off. The blisters! The backbiting! The bad calls!
Speaking of bad calls . . . I mulled the bind-off situation for the Diminishing Rib Cardigan. (See yesterday’s post if you’re just joining us for this thrilling drama.) It became obvious that I couldn’t just stand around and watch the thing. So I took heed of the comments so generously given to me–to rip out the bind-off I’d finished and return to the tubular bind-off specified in the pattern. All you armchair knitting life coaches: you knew I wanted to rip the thing out, didn’t you? I just needed your support.
Last night, with Hilary Mantel’s very grimy novel Wolf Hall coming out of my computer (16th-century London! Stanky–they certainly could have benefited from a few Air Wick® Hidden PleasuresTM Nite LightTM Scented Oils), I commenced to following Top Tennis TIp #2: Constant movement!
Here’s a photo of the first attempt–a k2tog, return stitch on right needle to the left, repeat to end.
Terrible, now that I look at it! Ech! Begone! Off came this original bind-off, with a certain manhandling of the snarly mohair stitches.
I actually left the sweater on my desk for hours, with all these stitches just DANGLING there:
You’re looking at k1, p1 just wantonly, irresponsibly left out in the plain air. One misplaced cat could have blown out the whole thing. I shudder.
Since I’ve already dragged you into into the deep on this–tubular bind-off is a laborious yet elegant way to finish a ribbed edge. You divide the stitches onto two needles, the knits on one, the purls on another. When you join these two batches of stitches together with Kitchener stitch, the result is an edge that magically goes from front to back in an uninterrupted column of knit stitches.
In came the tubular bind-off, with a critical, obvious change in technique that you all suggested in such unscornful tones: shorter lengths of yarn. I didn’t use 12 feet of yarn to do this sewn Kitchener. I canNOT beLIEVE I didn’t think of using shorter lengths of yarn, spit-spliced together. I’ve been spit-splicing throughout this sweater. I MEAN REALLY.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat: when doing something tedious and potentially soul-sucking, say, a line of Kitchener equivalent to 35 sock toes, an audiobook takes the edge right off. Not only did I get through the bind-off, I’m now deep in stanky, vivid Henry VIII intrigue.
Is this actually better? I dunno. It’s what the designer Andrea Pomerantz intended. It’s going to be great when it matches the tubular cast-on at the neckline, someday. If I can get the curly foldy neckline problem fixed.
Kind of like my backhand. It’s going to be great. Right?
PS Many thanks, you guys, for introducing me to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. SO COOL. It creates a wicked stretchy, resilient edging. If you really want to feel like you’ve had a cup of coffee with a knitting genius explaining another knitting genius’s technique, watch Cat Bordhi take you through this bind-off here. In fact, if you click on that link, you will find yourself in a rabbit hole of Cat Bordhi’s instructional videos. An AMAZING trove. SOLID GOLD.