Tyrol, at one point, was a real place. It still exists. It’s a region of Southern Austria known as, duh, Tyrol and a region of Northern Italy known as Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. Ahhh, that useless bit of information comes from my mother. She spent her single digit years (and a few double digit) in Sicily and just like us American students being forced to learn all 50 states and their capitals and how those states came into being… well my mom had to learn all 20 regions of Italy and their capitals and history. Italian kids are lucky… they get 30 less pieces of useless information to learn (I can’t say all 50 states, but I can sing them in alphabetical order! And please don’t ask me the capital of Nevada… I don’t know it and, frankly, I don’t give a damn.)
So, you’re wondering why I’m babbling on about Tyrol… well it’s because my latest project is Ann Budd’s Tyrolean Stockings from Interweave Knits Fall 07 issue. These beautiful stockings caught my eye when I first leafed through the issue in the periodicals section of the local Borders. I turned to my mother and said “oooooooooooooooh, i love those! i want those! but i don’t think i could make those” and she gave me a confident “oh, you’re an amazing knitter, you could make those, they don’t seem that hard.” i bought the issue and spent 2 days lusting after those stockings before finally announcing to my mom “I am making those stockings!” her reaction “well, if they don’t fit, i’ll take them!” That day at work, i went to KnitPicks.com and ordered my yarn: Swish Superwash in squirrel heather.
A few days later, the yarn was in my possession and i spent a good few minutes fondling it. I had never worked with Swish before and this was my first time feeling it… oooooooh it’s soft. very soft. too good to be true soft. I dug the needles I had also ordered out of the box and proceeded to knit my gauge swatch… and something amazing happened: I got gauge on the first try!!!!!!!!!!! i never get gauge on the first shot with the suggested needles, this was amazing. this is a good omen, this means that i will have no issues with the pattern, so i cast on…. and my first problem occurred.
The pattern suggests using a cast on method known as the “Old Norwegian Cast On” okay… what’s that? So off I flip to the glossary at the back of the magazine and I try to follow the directions… Interweave, your instructions SUCKED!!! it took me the better part of an hour to figure out how to cast on. I missed most of my favorite show, Hotel Babylon trying to figure out this cast on method. These instructions were extremely vague and the pictures didn’t help. I stared and cursed at them until finally I figured out that I was misreading the vague directions and i figured it out. After i finally decoded the CO instructions, I CO with lightening speed and moved onto the first section of the chart.
I have to admit, I hated chart knitting. I’ve done it twice and it makes my eyes cross. Mainly because I’m an idiot and I don’t think to blow up the chart using the photocopier at work. Yup, I’m that special. But this chart wasn’t too bad, once I took the 5 minutes to play with the photocopier to enlarge the stupid thing. I sped through the first section in about a day (okay, that’s a long time for most knitters, but i don’t have much knitting time available b/c i um, work) and had no major issues (a few bad twists, but that was easily fixed). I then moved onto the more “complex” portion of the chart where I would make those lovely “v”s that are on the shin of the stockings. I was scared, nervous, i thought i’d mess it up… so hesitantly i moved on… and realized “what the hell was i scared of? this is dirt easy” and i wound up memorizing the chart, something i thought i’d never be able to do. i was even able to work on these stockings while on my birthday present trip to Maine (see previous entry for details of that trip). i actually finished the second section of the chart while in Maine. I was so proud of myself.
oh, and did i mention that these stockings are made using double pointed needles (dpns)? did i mention that until now i’ve hated, no despised dpns? and if i add a cable needle to the mix and i want to stab something with the needles? well because i was smart enough to order bamboo dpns, instead of the pretty metal ones that Knit Picks sells, i am saving my sanity. figuring out how to CO and to wrangle the damn things was a mess, but i’ve gotten the hang of it, and it took me forever to figure out how to wrangle the cable needle as well, but no blood was shed and no tears were cried and nothing went flying across a room. i figured out everything and now i’m happily working on the leg decreases of the stockings, slowly making my way to the heel flap and then the foot.
here is my progress thus far…