Lil' devil hat

Image Details: ‘Lil’ devil hat’ by thomasina, via Flickr.

Do you ever get that feeling, when you start a project, that you are a bit doomed to failure? Like there is some celestial force which just does not want you to finish it. Bad joo joo if you will? That the craft karma fairy is punishing you for all those unfulfilled skeins in your stash, those hibernating projects, those Christmas mitts that aren’t getting done? No? Just me then…

Or I could have been struck by a bout of knitting buffoonery.

And the little child shall teach them

Image Details: ‘And the little child shall teach them’ by Chris Boese, via Flickr

The Oxford English Dictionary defines buffoonery as ‘behaviour that is ridiculous but amusing’. Amusing to some, no doubt, and probably to me also at some point in the future, but right now I am in the middle of a calamity-ridden knitty funk. ‘How so?’ I hear you ask. One word: Damask.

I decided to join the Damask Knitalong on the iMake podcast group after some serious banter from Martine, Chloe and Kate, who are jointly hosting it. I tried to be sensible. I tried to be disciplined, but there is something slightly playground about everyone talking about something on Twitter that just makes you want to join in. I have to say, it’s a lovely shawl. The yarn I am using, some Nuturing Fibres Supertwist sock wool, is lovely to knit with. Luckily for me, it also seems to stand up fairly well to being frogged, and there have been at least 3 furious ripping back sessions already and I am only on Row 5. Oh. Dear.

Who has time for anything else after the first 2?

So things on my first knitalong are not going too well so far. Well, the knitting isn’t, the chatter though, is great and there have been lots of people chipping in with tips and videos to help with the pattern. And, the finished object does look very impressive. Or it will if I ever get there. A recent bout of insomnia brought on by stress at the number of things I have on the go has led me to decide that I am going to put Damask on hold until 1 February, and concentrate on the other ones that need finishing. Once I wrote down all my wips, it became obvious that I did not have quite so much to do as I thought, and that all of it wasn’t as urgent as I thought, it was just that everyone else was making such great progress on their shawls that I was panicking at the back, shouting ‘wait for meeeee’ in a little squeaky voice. Not really a cause for night terrors…

Devil yarn. It's possessed, I tell ye.

So, I thoroughly recommend that you join the knitalong group on Ravelry and get involved. There are still people who are only just starting now, so there should be someone at the same point as you at least. If not, knit the first 4 rows and wait until 1 February and I’ll be your buddy! Chloe from Sparkly Shoes Are Faster has written a top ten tips for completing the shawl, which should be checked out before starting, there is some great stuff in there. Martine has blogged about it here, as has Kate, here. Episode 35 of the iMake podcast also pays homage to the great Damask, or you can check out what everyone is tweeting about it using #damaskkal.

Nurturing Fibres yarn.

I have my top tips so far to add, probably with more to follow once I am brave enough to crack on with the knitting. I will accept no liability for the results to anyone following my advice…

1: Make sure you save enough yarn for long-tail cast on. Getting to stitch 276 of 297 and running out is not fun. Ever.

2: Pay attention. Laughing along to the iMake podcast whilst merrily knitting row 7 instead of row 5 is a bad idea.

3: Knitting and Pinotage do not mix. See lessons #1 and #2.

4: When it all goes wrong, don’t cry, you might felt the yarn. Pour another Pinotage instead.

5: In case of shortage of Pinotage, you cannot substitute in Blue Nun. No, not even you, Kate. I don’t think you can even get Blue Nun in South Africa. You can get it in the Gala Bingo though.

6: Read Chloes tips. Read them again. Once more, with feeling. And a Pinotage…