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Now having written such a bold and haughty statement I will add that I’m often too lazy or too impatient to fetch, or wait, for the right tool. Whether it’s gardening or knitting or cooking – doesn’t matter.
Last week I was getting anxious and wanted to shovel some of the rich compost we’d cooked up from last year’s table scraps and cut grass into the new herb bed. The weather was glorious and I needed to get dirty. I couldn’t help it. I needed, down deep in my spirit, to garden. I shoveled the rich black composty goodness – as Chris calls it – into my wheelbarrow and trucked it over and shoveled it onto the top layer of the herb bed. This was achieved using the right shovel, the right shovel for me (small and lightweight). I was happy.
That task accomplished I wanted to till it into the existing topsoil/sand mixture. This is where I got impatient. I must be honest. I’m a wuss. I don’t have the physical strength to start a lawnmower, trimmer, tiller, edger or any other tool that requires me to pull a rip cord. (I have a suspicion it’s not called a rip cord and also that because I’m such a wuss I should never ever go skydiving.) I instead took my trusty shovel in hand and begun turning the composty goodness over into the soil. After quite some time I was exhausted and my shoulders ached and to top it off – I was only about half finished. Chris came by on the mower and told me that if I could wait he would till it for me with the little tiller (as opposed to the one that we pull behind my little Deere tractor (as opposed to his big Massey Ferguson tractor)) but that it wouldn’t start and he’d have to work on it when he had the chance. Okay I thought – this is one of those times that the right tool is mechanized and I really would save myself some physical pain if I practiced a little patience.
Get the picture? Me using my noggin.
Now – for the flip side.
I’ve been working away on my Haapsalu Spring Stole and had a set back with a nasty dropped stitch incident. This was the second set back. The first happened very early when I realized that the deep red yarn was nearly impossible to see using my go-to needles. My trusty Knit Pick Harmony Wood circulars (right) are just too dark to see the dark yarn on and I caught myself blaming my failing old-age eyesight and my fledgling design skills. The answer, when I finally quit whining, was to switch needles. Simple – I know.
Because I love a wicked good point on a needle when knitting lace I pulled out an addi-turbo lace needle (left). See? Really good points on those shiny needles. Shiny – as in metal slippery shiny needles. The yarn is nearly cobweb weight and alpaca. The addi’s just didn’t have any grip and grab to them like the wooden needles. So – dropped stitches. And tense shoulders.
Finally after my last post I faced the facts. Either stop the project or look for yet another needle with grab and light color.
I didn’t want to frog this project. I love the yarn. I love the little garnets. I love the design. Then my friend Jessica said she imagined seeing us each wearing our Saffron Threads shawls walking around Taos together. Holey crap that did it. There was no way I could frog a shawl that had potential for a dream stroll like that!
So back to the needle cache. It’s not really a needle cache per se. The fixed circulars (not the type that are supposed to come apart) are simply a jumbled mess hanging over a door handle in my office. So I dug through them with a needle gauge in one hand and testing them in the little holes until I managed to locate a regular addi circular needle in the correct size. I’m not a big fan of the addi bamboo circs. The join has a divit where very fine yarn has a tendency to catch, and the tips are rather blunt, but I was in a situation. I needed the stickiness of the bamboo to help with the drop stitches that I was encountering (yes it happened more than once!) so I decided to take a chance on the old addi.
I’ve now finished the repeat (it’s an 18 stitch, 36 row repeat) and am pleased to report not another instance of dropped stitches! The right tool, I’m telling you. I’m playing it careful as I move the yarn over the join and so far so good.
If any readers have a suggestion for another brand of wooden circular needles to try – please share them in the comments!
The right tool is important to get the job done smoothly and with optimum ease. Maybe I should keep repeating this until it becomes my nature….