Friday, 21 September 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

It's not often I learn something exciting now. I mean, I don't know everything, but there is a point in your knitting career when you have your way of doing things and learning other stuff becomes a a quick and enjoyable sideline. I try and keep on top of techniques for the shop but mostly come back to old favourites.

Which is why I'll not be buying the book reviewed in this blog post but I did get excited when I followed the instructions for an old Norwegian cast on. Apparently it's stretchier than the long tail, I can't deny it because I haven't got as far as using it in a project (though we have had some super cute sock yarn delivered for the birthday ) but I did enjoy learning it. For quickness' sake I'll quote the lovely Julie (and therefore the lovely Leslie who wrote the book).

Get your needles out:

  1. Make a slip knot, leaving a long tail. Place it on a needle and hold yarn in the slingshot position.
  2. Insert the needle tip under both strands of the tail yarn on your thumb.
  3. Come over the top and down into the thumb loop, coming out underneath the strand that is in front of your thumb.
  4. Bend your left thumb toward the index finger and reach over the top of the strand on your index finger. The loop on your thumb now has an X in it.
  5. Bring the needle tip through the bottom half of the X (nearest the needle), grab the index finger yarn to make your new stitch, drop the thumb loop, and tighten stitch. 
  6. Repeat steps 2–5 for the desired number of stitches.

Good ey? I enjoyed it anyway - bit more faffy than a long tail but it works and if it's stretchy I'm happy. What made me write is because of how similar it is to the long tail. I wonder if, back in the day when cast ons were being invented every day rather than eliciting much fanfare, some Arab sailor had gone on a long journey to the north and shown his Nordic counterpart this marvellous long tail cast on only for it to be bastardised by the cheeky, forgetful Norwegian? I wonder if that Norwegian actually remembered every step of the long tail cast on but thought, ahh, I'll just add this little step and then it'll be stretchy enough to make my famous stranded sailor cap even better - did he tell the Arab? Was it actually a little old granny that thought it up? Maybe the Norwegian cast on came before the long tail?

Where does it all come from?

Back to knitting... 



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