Once in a while, in all the busy-ness of this project of ours, it’s pleasant to sit back and reflect for a few seconds on Things to Marvel At. One of the things I marvel at right now is A Year of Techniques. Our participation in A Year of Techniques started with a simple email from Jen Arnall-Culliford, honoring us with a request to write a piece for the book she and Jim were planning. We were familiar with Jen’s technical knitting prowess from our days writing a column for the British magazine The Knitter, where Jen was an editor; we were delighted to contribute to the book.
Then Jen told us about the videos that were also in the works. Our ears perked up: videos! Could we work together to get these videos out to knitters? Yes? OK, let’s do it! And then Jen and Jim went off for a few months to acquire patterns from designers and make the actual videos. It was all very much a leap into the unknown, but we’ve learned over the years that if we hold hands with someone, leaping is more exciting than scary. Still, as the months went by, my curiosity mounted: what would these videos be? What would these learn-by-doing patterns be? I was prepared to be pleased, but I can’t say I was prepared to be CASTING ON A TOY MOUSE.
But that’s life, you know? You hold hands with someone and leap into the unknown and you find yourself casting on a whimsical rodent, and you are very, very happy about it at the same time as you are wondering “whose hands are these that are knitting a toy mouse?”
Each video has been a delight and a learning experience for me. Both the helical stripes technique and the pinhole cast-on are completely new information, and right away I found that I had ways to use them in my naturally-occurring knitting. The helical stripes video sent me on a garter-stitch cowl adventure that I greatly enjoyed, and this month’s pinhole cast-on is the very thing I needed to master to take another run at the Leaves of Grass shawl that I ruined in a tragic Public Transportation Snagging Incident over a year ago, so badly that I actually got rid of it in a white night of Kon Mari frenzy. Snagging catastrophe aside, I was never that happy with the very center of that piece. This time I can get it right.
In just these three videos, Jen’s calm voice has become the Voice of Trusted Authority to me. And her hands—even her hands give me confidence that it’s all very straightforward. We can do this! Just stick with Jen and all will be revealed, and all will be doable.
So here it is: the nose of my mouse:
(Nose + snout.)
There is much more mouse to come, of course.
I’m determined to knit Alex the Mouse all in one go, so as to avoid finding mouse pieces in an abandoned knitting bag one day, forlorn and dangly.
To all who are joining our merry band of rodent knitters, a hearty welcome! If you need a kit for Alex, scamper on over to the shop and we’ll fix you up.