March 10, 2006

Peukalo is thumb

Late last night I realized that I had been prevented from having hours of knitting time by Sam's project on Pluto, and I felt a little deja vu. I think that it's possible that this is the third time in my life that I've lost knitting time to a project on Pluto. Once when I was in grade six, then twice with Amanda and Meg. Go on. Ask me anything. Average surface temperature? I know it. Atmosphere? Yeah baby. I'm trying to celebrate being a walking Pluto trivia receptacle without being hostile about being quite sure that knowing that Pluto has a retrograde orbit probably has displaced something really useful from my limited brain space.

Today in fact I'm blaming Pluto (and it's apparently intimate and perennial relationship to the Toronto District School Board) for not being able to read Finnish.
This mitten kit that I'm wild about (scroll down, it's the one with the 14 colours) has my full attention, and last night I cozied up with the pattern, needles and a good attitude, and I sat down and read the instructions.


Now, this was not a surprise. I knew the intructions were in Finnish - but I really didn't see that as a barrier to understanding.

I'm an optimist, I feel pretty good about my intelligence, and as a general rule, if I'm interested in something ...I can make it work. Perpetually (and despite failing miserably at things on a regular basis) I'm convinced that if I really try and am really motivated, I will really be able to do something. This means that even though I don't speak Finnish, have never had a Finnish lesson, don't speak with Finnish people so can't have even picked up a word or two, don't have a Finnish radio station I like to listen effect, have no working knowledge, relationship or ability in this area....

I believed that if I really made an effort. I could read Finnish.

I thought that (there is really something wrong with me.) I thought that my knowledge of knitting (holy crap) would throw me enough hints that I would be able to figure out Finnish, at least in a knitting pattern context.
Plus, I had this picture to illustrate how to do the twist/braid thing on the edge of the mitten.


No problem, right?
(I know. You don't have to mock me. I mock myself. It's like I live on planet happyland.)

I sat down with the pattern, common sense and a good outlook.
Three hours later I had established ............ things.

1. The first instruction is probably "Cast on 52 Stitches." I say probably, because the mitten's looking a little big. No way to know.

2. Pretty darned sure that "krs" is the Finnish version of "sts". (This is so much less useful than I can tell you. Essentially it means that I have worked out that stitches are relevant and manipulated in this knitting pattern, which...frankly, I had suspected for some time.

3. The online Finnish translator said that "kerros" means "floor".
This is bad news, in that I'm not sure what the floor has to do with mittens, unless the words before it say "throw on" , in which case I'm right on track.

4. The online Finnish translator knows very little...perhaps nothing, about knitting.

5. Neulo is a significant word. The translator has no idea. I did a google search on it, and the first three hits were these pages.
I now suspect it may mean "Knit". This is a good start.

6. Peukalo is definitely thumb.


7. My best try (which is really just making up whatever I want) is very much wrong.


8. I really don't speak Finnish. Even if I really make an effort.

9. Finnish is not a language that is intuitive to me. Concentrating does not help. Loosening up does not help. Wine does not help. Nothing about really, really wanting to read Finnish actually lends me this skill. I have no idea why this shocks me to no end.

10. I would like mittens, and therefore I feel compelled to admit all of this and throw myself on the mercy of anyone who can confirm that "molemmista päistä" has anything do do with knitting. I searched for in on Google images, and it may be a beaded man, a dresser, a sort of table or tomato or a yoga pose. If you can narrow it down, could you let me know?

While we're at it, I'll also cop to not being able to bowl, write Russion or spin cashmere, despite my emotional belief that I should be good at these things.
Carry on.

Posted by Stephanie at March 10, 2006 11:51 AM