June 4, 2004

Cable this

Oh cables, how I love thee. I have reached the cables on the blue tank, and the magic happened.

notbluetank

What is it about cables that speeds knitting up? You would think that all that screwing around, moving stitches from needle to needle would slow you down, but nope. Cables up the fun factor and the whole thing just whizzes along.
I personally cable without a cable needle.

This is a decision that I made seven years ago on a Wednesday morning riding the 504 King Streetcar.

Some knitters learn techniques out of a sense of ambition. They want to be the best knitter possible and challenge themselves constantly. These knitters hear of a technique, or even more impressively, invent a technique, try it, then adopt or abandon it according to how it fits their personal knitting style. These knitters are on a constant mission to elevate their knitting to the highest possible form. These knitters know 7 heels for a sock, 3 ways to make a steek and 4 different buttonholes. I salute them.

Some knitters are content knitters. They have their own way of doing things and not much moves them to adopt new technique. What they are doing works for them and why change? These are happy knitters who are probably not going to try techniques for fun, but may try them to solve a knitting frustration or because a pattern they adore demands it.
Then there is me.
Riding the streetcar that morning, as I lovingly inserted my cable needle into the soft wool stitches, the streetcar shuddered it's way over the track divisions at Dufferin. (If you live in Toronto you know what I mean. That 20 feet of track will shake the teeth out of your head. I realized recently that I quietly clench every muscle in my body as I pass over it, just to minimize the wobble) As we passed over the last of the track, the cable needle (well, it wasn't actually a cable needle, it was a dpn, I lost the cable needle quite some time before this) slipped from the back of my work, hit the floor and rolled into the crack that runs down the side of the street car. It all happened so fast. I stared with horror at the crack, and examined my options.

1. Try to remove the needle from the crack with the power of my mind. (Although I always *try* this option, it is yet to work. I think it's important to keep it at the top of the list, despite it's miserable track record as an actual solution.)

2. Let it go. (Yeah...good one. I have that kind of personality don't I? Raise your needles if you think that I have ever, ever in my whole life just "let it go". )

3. Casually attempt to retrieve the needle by using the other needles that I still have. (Love it. "Casually", yup, my name is Stephanie and denial is a powerful force in my life. )

I opt for #3, because in my special kind of world, I actually believe that it is possible for me to dig a dpn out of a crack under my seat in a streetcar with my knitting while possessing dignity and grace. I began by "casually" leaning forward in my seat, extending my arm beneath me and attempting to raise one end of the lost dpn so that I could grab it with my other hand.

The attempt ended when I was crouched on the floor, arms twisted beneath the seat, dodging gum and assorted streetcar flotsam jamming my aran sweater (on the needles) into the crack...ignoring the stares of nearby passengers.
When the driver turned in his seat at a red light and asked me if I was "ok", with a look on his face that indicated his concern for my sanity, I kissed the dpn goodbye, reclaimed my seat, tried to look normal, and learned to cable without a cable needle. Never looked back.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but embarrassment isn't bad either.

Posted by Stephanie at June 4, 2004 1:41 PM