Monthly Archives: October 2012

100 things to do in 1000 days; #57: Knit something.

My mom is a huge knitter (or, she’d tell you, she was when she could still see), but aside from a green square when I was about 11, and a scarf several years later (I was so proud of that fuzzy blue line), I’ve never knitted anything before, not really. I couldn’t even cast on (i.e. begin the first row of stitches), and only knew one kind of stitch which, 10 years later, I’d pretty much forgotten. When I made this list, part of its raison d’être was to prod me into being more creative, as I’d somewhat abandoned the realm of art during my journey through the hell known as “doing an undergrad.”

Anyway, I was exploring the internet and wound up on some Firefly related page and I saw this:

Jayne's hat

Jayne’s Cunning Hat

And I knew what the “something” I was going to knit was. It’s perfect for a beginner – the whole point of the hat is that it’s shoddy! But how?

The answer? The internet. Oh, and –

“Mom – I want to knit a hat.”

Which – and I want to thank her, because I couldn’t have done it without her, but my mother is not a nerd. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s insane, but she is fundamentally unable to understand that the point of making a Cunning Hat, is for the hat to be a Cunning Hat. So I got things like:

“Why do you need to shop for wool? I have wool here.”
“Those colours are horrible, why don’t you choose colours you like?”
“You don’t need the colours to be exACTly the same.”
“I don’t understand this pattern. Why do you need to use a pattern from the internet? I’ve got a pattern just like that. Well, close enough.”

Don’t need to be exactly? Close enough? Oh, mother. Oh, mother no.

Also, she was very mean about my knitting pattern comprehension abilities. If any of you have knitted before, I’m sure my idiocy and cluelessness is hilarious, but really, reading a pattern unschooled is like reading a programming script** expecting a novel, or, if you’re fluent in all forms of jargon, possibly having a stroke.

I mean, this is the sort of thing you’re confronted with:

Gauge: 3.5 st/in; 4.5 rows/in.
With orange, CO 60 with Twisted German.
(K1, p1) 22 times (44 st).
K1, ssk, knit to last 3, k2tog, k1.

I mean, what the fuck is this shit? “Um, 44 street, 1 in? I guess that’s inches! Hey, I got one!” In fact, I’m sure I’ve actually seen p2tog used somewhere in Turing script.

I had to Google all sorts of things – ssk, CO, k2tog,  DPNS (ah yes, Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation, I thought so. Or maybe it’s  Democratic Party for a New Society. Or just double-pointed needles.)

When it came time to actually knit the thing, the instructions told me to get out my circular size 10 US needle, so I went into mom’s knitting bag and took out a 10 needle. “No, she said circular,” Mom said, wearing that same expression she gave me when I asked if I could have some of the “chocolate milk” (read: mudslide) next to her bed when I was eight. I don’t understand. The needle I’m holding is circular. Mom sighs. So I look at the needle head on, in perfect impale-my-eye formation. It is definitely a circle. I wonder if there are maybe oval and square shaped needles? No, that doesn’t make sense, wool doesn’t hold a shape.

At this point, mom is fully hysterical. Why? Because all “circular” means is that the needles are connected.

This is clearly heart-shaped.


So whatever. Next, it is time to find out what size my head is. The things you can go through a quarter of a century without knowing.

And then the knitting begins. That’s not so interesting. It’s a lot of metal clacking while watching Buffy and explaining what Firefly is during family dinners, but NOW IT IS DONE. I can cast on, knit, purl, and stocking-stitch, knit on the round, decrease number of stitches, AND make a pom-pom! Go me.

The Hero of Carleton

I made that! All by myself!

Cunning Hat

** Which reminds me of this quote from Top Gear where Clarkson and May poke fun at the incomprehensibility of car abbreviations.
Clarkson: …The essence of it is that, from now on, small car ads are going to be impossible. We’re not going to know what on earth they’re written about.
May: I’ve written one, for a BMW. “For sale, BMW 528. 19k, VGC, TNT, FSH, PAS, AAC, OBC, ICE, ABS, EBD, PDC, DTC, DSC, £15,000.”

Books Read During the Rest of 2012

  1. Angela’s Ashes (****1/2)
  2. Gatehouse to Hell (-)
  3. The Shadows Behind Me (-)
  4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (****)
  5. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (****)
  6. Maus I (****)
  7. Maus II (*****)
  8. Spring’s End (-)
  9. MetaMaus (****)
  10. Getting Out Alive (-)
  11. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (****)
  12. Fragile Things (***1/2)
  13. Fragile Things**
  14. If Home Is Not Here
  15. If Only They Could Talk
  16. Casual Vacancy
  17. Out of My League
  18. Mocking Jay
  19. Mythology for Dummies
  20. Don’t Know Much About Mythology
  21. Euripides I
  22. Euripides IV
  23. Frogs and Other Plays
  24. The Better Angels of Our Nature
  25. The King’s Speech
  26. Virus Hunter
  27. Emma
  28. Les Miserables
  29. On The Road
  30. The Scarlet Pimpernel
  31. Shadows of the Empire
  32. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  33. The Hot Zone
  34. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  35. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


* = irredeemably awful
** = middling
*** = decent; has value (of some sort)
**** = very good
***** = amazingly fantastic
****** = almost never used; the perfect book