Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting Past Stymied

I have to admit to a hiccup in my knitting. A hesitation. A query. A lapse into over-thinking. It all had to do with this:

"M1 (lifted bar increase)."

I thought I knew what it was. Then I was pretty sure I knew what it was. I manged to progress to "hmm, I wonder " and from there it was a slippery slope down to "I haven't a clue."

Google did not help. It led me further down I-Know-Nothing Road. Apparently there is a diversity of opinion among the knitting community re: What constitutes a "M1." A lifted increase that makes a bar? The same thing as k1f&b, which results in a bar? Lifting the bar between the stitches ? A stitch lifted from the previous row? With the left needle? With the right needle? Knit from the front? Knit from the back? With a twist? Shaken, not stirred? Wait, that can't be right. This is knitting. Although I begin to regret the lack of gin.

Confusion was compounded by the designer's expressed preference for what I had learned as the twisted yarn-over increase, where you YO on the increase row and twist the stitch when you come back to it in the next round. Nothing about lifting or bars anywhere. In fact, she specifically differentiates it from a "lifted bar."

Last night, frustration ensued. Paralysis induced by an overdose of information. A Mel Brooksian tragedy ("Tragedy is when I cut my thumb. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die")*.

This morning, it occurs to me that I have "low-tech" resources available. They're called books, magazines and pattern packets. They include the Anemoi Mittens, which I'm hoping to turn into Anemoi Mitts once I finish the Endpapers, but that's receding farther and farther into the Future.

I went with my good friend Margaret. For one thing, she helped save the assembly of the Perfect Sweater. For another, in a fortuitous overlap of Zimmermania and Stranded, it's the technique Meg Swansen demonstrated on my Knitting Glossary DVD. Not only does the method come with stellar recommendations, it appears to be working. The thumb is beginning to flair out.

And while I feel some concern over my tendency to either stretch the stitches between the needles or to over-compensate in reaction, I'm reassured by the stranding inside.

Well, that and Elizabeth Zimmermann's assurance that Time, that great evener-out of stitches, will eventually work its magic. After this latest, labor-intensive, knitting blip, I could use a little deux ex machina.

*The Two-Thousand Year Old Man.

No comments: