Clever casting off

Well, now I’m impressed. Seriously impressed. And a teeny bit pleased with myself, too. As those of you who’ve been following me so kindly for a while will know, I’m no experienced knitter. I don’t knit very fancy things, although most of what I’ve attempted so far has turned out rather splendidly (she says, conveniently overlooking the temporarily-suspended lacy knitted jumper fiasco). I also tend to aim high. I’m frequently quite hard on myself. Oh, and I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. Not always a great combination, I freely admit.

And so to my current knitted rabbit project:

Before you get excited and acquire the erroneous extremity of the twiglet, I didn't draw this. It's a photo of the packet.

Before you get excited and acquire the erroneous extremity of the twiglet, I didn’t draw this. It’s a photo of the packet.

It’s not always immediately apparent, not to an inexperienced knitter, anyway, exactly what level of support – or indeed what level of helpfully accurate punctuation – a knitting pattern is going to offer. This, I have found, can be a decidedly hit-and-miss affair. Indeed, the temporarily-suspended lacy knitted jumper fiasco is both temporarily suspended and a fiasco precisely due to the several huge assumptions made – and resultant huge holes left – in the pattern. (Perhaps this is an intentional reflection of the lacy nature of the pattern. If so, it’s not funny.) OK, so the afore-mentioned pattern is actually an advanced one (did I mention I sometimes bite off more than I can chew?), but still. Harrumph.

Anyway, back to the rabbit…

Initially, I had a fright with this pattern. Early on, I came across instructions like this:

K2 then m1, k1 to last 2sts, k2  –  14 sts

I looked at this; then I looked at my knitting. I had nine stitches on my needle and I needed to end up with 14. My first reading of the line above was this:

Knit 2, Make 1, then knit to the last 2 stitches and then knit those too

Clearly, this was not going to give me 14 stitches, but rather ten. Then I realised that they meant this:

Knit 2, *m1, k1* to the last 2 stitches, then knit the last two stitches

Phew! Once I’d identified the fact that the pattern wasn’t clearly flagging the section you needed to repeat, I knew what to look for and I was all of a sudden becalmed.

So the rabbit was now progressing nicely. I’d made the head – here’s the head:

This be the head.

This be the head.

And I was about to finish the body – here’s the body:

This be the body.

This be the body.

… when I came up against this:

‘Cast off by (or*)

P9 then place right hand needle parallel to left needle with right sides together and hold both needles in left hand, each needle will have 9 stitches on each. Using a third needle (of similar gauge) knit first stitch from both needles (as if knitting 2 together), repeat with next stitch and then pass first stitch over second, continue casting off to end of row. This creates a very neat and strong seam that will be between the legs of the rabbit. *Alternatively cast off the remaining 18 stitches in the normal way and sew up along with the back seam see “making up”.’

Tearing myself courageously away from the monstrous comma splices and other spine-chilling punctuation horrors (can you tell I’m an editor?*), I now faced the dilemma of whether or not to attempt the new technique. Hell, thought I, you only live once. So I set to it and lo!

This be the bum and the bum seam.

This be the bum and the bum seam.

How marvellous! I cast off and sewed up in one fell swoop! I still can’t quite believe it. Isn’t it great when craft is just so darn clever?

* For any editors reading this post or any others of mine, kindly note that editing is my day job and this blog is my hobby. I therefore exercise my right to artistic licence when it comes to the – admittedly sometimes rather inconsistent – punctuation choices in my ramblings. You’ve got to let your hair down once in a while, after all!