The art of masochistic knitting starts with selecting the right pattern, needles and yarn.
What is the “right” pattern? The right pattern contains predominately lace that is created on both wrong side and right side rows and therefore does not provide any rest rows of purl or knit. Decreases with slants that are inherent to the look of the pattern, yarn overs that are distant from their balancing decreases and central double decreases that must specifically occur in specified spots repeatedly in order to ensure proper shaping make up the “right” pattern. You know you are practicing the art of masochistic knitting when the possibilities of an errant stitch are many: failure to use the correct slanted decrease or missing the decrease altogether, omitting yarn overs due to confusion, adding yarn overs due to confusion, losing the specific spot for the central double decrease when the stitch marker either A) falls from the needle, or B) just doesn’t match where you think you are in the chart.
Speaking about charts. The “right” pattern will contain a chart that is so small you need reading glasses and a magnifying glass to see one square. The chart, though tiny, covers an entire page. You are truly practicing the art of masochistic knitting when you have no idea how to use your copier to enlarge the chart and therefore must work from the teeny-tiny version.
The “right” pattern will also call for working an intricate lace pattern over no less than 300-500 stitches in one consecutive go-round. If the pattern requires continuous working of 500 to over 1,000 stitches you are into the Fine Art of Masochistic Knitting, and that’s a whole other category.
The “right” needles are the next tool in the art box. Any needles that have a super fine, slick, metal surface are the “right” needles. To test whether they are slippery enough, cast on 30 stitches and knit one row. Then hold the needle with the tip pointed downward. If all the stitches slip from the needle faster than a seal on ice slips into the sea, you have the “right” needles.
Next is the “right” yarn. It must be lace weight or finer. Gossamer is ideal. Thin and wispy, a yarn that won’t tolerate any ripping back is key. This increases the pressure to get the knitting right the first time. Pressure is as important to masochistic knitting as air is to human beings. If you can only knit at night, choose a dark, dark yarn. It will be harder to see and along with the ethereal quality of the yarn reading your stitches will be impossible.
Remember, in masochistic knitting where you think you are in the chart and where you truly are will not coincide. The number of stitches you need on your needles to complete the pattern will not be the number of stitches you actually have on your needles. But don’t fret. It is too dark, the yarn too thin, the needles too slippery, the number of stitches too many to make an exact count of what is really on the needles.
Happy Masochistic Knitting.
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