Monday, January 12

knitting for the insane

Forget proper knitting needles. Find two wooden spoons, or a pair of chopsticks, or a couple of wooden meat skewers.

Ignore flexible, thick and thereby easy to use yarn. Find some fine 2ply baubly hemp yarn that is made for expert knitters only.

Do not, under any circumstances, wait for a how-to book. Do not cheat by finding a comprehensive website and starting from A to Z. Following step-by-step instructions comes under the heading of Logic, which is severely frowned upon by the Insane.

Along the same lines, you are permitted to learn the first two stitches, knit and purl. However, it is then expected that you do not learn the next easy stitch, but that you plunge right in and attempt a rib stitch sample, simply because you were blogsurfing and came upon one blogger's post.

You should now be at the stage where you have knitted several rows, several times, and, if you have been Insane enough to do all of the above, created something that is an abomination to the eyes. It should be so bad, that peeople would pay money to see it as a circus show of freak curios.

Well done.

Now, you will not accept that you should be doing anything as rational as Starting From Scratch. What are you, sane!? No, instead, you will carry on and jump right in to a scarf pattern.

By this stage, you might have acquired a pair of regular knitting needles and some yarn. This is acceptable as long as you have spent enough time pulling your hair out with wooden skewers, or similar utensils.

New stitches will be learnt as you make the scarf. It would have been much to straight-forward to learn them beforehand. Yarn over, k2tog, and even how to read a pattern, all done during the process.

Easy patterns are okay, but you must not be seen to go for the easiest. It is expected that you have only one pair of proper needles and thereby limited to which patterns you could follow anyway. This is ideal, as it means that you will end up following something that is seemingly easy, but actually is nothing of the kind to a novice. That is the key to true insanity.

You will begin the pattern with a cocky 'I can do this' (only the truly insane would utter such a thing after the previous botched attempts). You will knit about 12 rows, realise you've made grave mistakes, consider calling it abstract art, admitting it won't even pass for that, and finally end up proclaiming that knitting is the Devil's Own Pastime.

Of course, you will persevere. You are after all a lunatic.

The least offensive:


(forgot to take a photo of the abominations, or, I thought they would hurt your eyes)

Remember, your goal is to cause every decent knitter to nash their teeth and wail in pain. However, your ultimate goal is to ensure that at no time whatsoever, does knitting become therapeutic, but rather that you continually descend further into the abysses of insanity. An inexplicably uneven tension should help with that.


  1. that all sounds really familiar. it's pretty much my approach to everything. jump in first THEN/AND learn how to do it.

  2. Blimey! That's looking quite impressive despite it being the Devil's Own Pastime an' all that, (have to agree with you there, and I do relate to a good deal of this post). And you know how to knit 2 together...what strange and wonderous things you are doing!

    It's the overwheening ambition to Do Scarves and such like that is so seductive, but that leads to worlds of pain. And yes, insanity.

  3. I never feel more incapable as when I practice my knitting. I have a dear friend who really thinks I should learn but I really am beginning to believe that it is a skill that I am lacking!!!!


  4. THat is hilarious! You should submit it to a knitting publication...

    I knew you would be that type of knitter-beginner! I think the chopsticks/wooden skewers/hemp string you had lying around bit clued me in to it. I've read about people like you! (And I recognize some of it in me. I'm the one who opened a tiny yarn shop for a year in my-former-small town even though I had barely knitted a sweater. Lo and behold, my customers thought I must be an expert since I'd opened a shop. LOL. I did a decent job faking it, and learned a lot in the year I had that shop!)

    Your knitted piece looks beautiful, btw.

  5. You crack me up....hilarious post! And really - it looks great! :D I'm still knitting just the regular knit stitch btw...haven't jumped to purling yet. haha...still hiding.
    CK (can't find the blogger thing)

  6. Wow, lovely colour and looks great to me. I'm still struggling with the basics!

  7. It looks good to me. And great advice!

  8. I've never knitted, I do however crochet.. once you've got past this insanity give it a try.... afterall us crochet folks have it right we actually use a needle with a hook on the end so the stitches don't fall off, and we can crochet in a circle without the need for cheese cutters! (lol that's what the knitting needles for knitting circles look like to me)

    I thoroughly recommend this book if you decide to give it a whirl, The Happy Hooker:

    Fab book and I think from the way you write, will appeal ;-)


  9. Hey guys,

    It's funny you all saying it looks good. It was an example of how awful I am! lol

    Lisa - that's hilarious about the yarn shop, so you understand! lol

    CK - can't decide if you're a scaredy-cat or sane. ;)
    Joxy - I AM considering rcheting as well, rather than instead of, that's another post....

  10. I've followed your knitting adventures and I started knitting a little while before you decided to undertake the feat. If I had blogged about my own experience, maybe you wouldn't feel like you were insane (or maybe just that you were in good company, haha)! I started with my grandma's random stash of old yarns and a pair of size 10 (haha) needles, learned the knit & purl stitches (w/o a book), skipped past scarves (recommended beginner item) right onto a Christmas stocking (pattern from internet; learned other techniques in the process), noticed the bulges & missed stitches & other mistakes but didn't really care, dropped that project for a pair of baby booties for my pregnant cousin (who was due in a week or less) & knit them with wooden skewers (familiar?) because (like I said before) I only had size 10 needles. The funniest part? Everyone who saw the booties (at the hospital) said "YOU knit those?! Wow! Those are so cute!" etc. Haha! (Not very good)Pictures on my blog.

  11. That photo does look quite good, actually. It's hard to keep the tension even when you're doing a rib stitch sometimes, so do not despair.

    The Devil's Own Pastime . . . now that was truly funny! :-)

  12. Sandra - that's brilliant. I would say 'in good company' lol

    Anthromama - Thanks. But finding it difficult ALL the time *slaps forehead*

  13. So funny! I love to knit, but my mother greatly struggles. We learned at the same time, by the same teacher, but she inexplicaably taught us two different ways, thus, we were unable to help each other at home! When my mother finished the first mitten (our first project was a pair of mittens)she promptly burst into tears and loudly proclaimed to one and all: "I will not make another mitten! You can't make me!"
    And she never did! That lone mitten is still floating around her house. Every once in a while I think I should make its' pair, but then...nah!


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