Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stitch & Bitch Shetland No. 1

Well, it worked. Shetland's inaugural Stitch and Bitch was an evening of delight. I have to say that on the bitching front, everyone was a little shy - as far as I could hear with my ears swivelling like radar dishes, nary a word was spoken that could be classed as 'bitchy' but I suspect everyone was on their best behaviour since it was the first night. Doesn't do to unveil your Inner Harridan right from the get-go. Timing is all.

BBC Radio Shetland gave us several advance mentions with hefty emphasis on the second half of the name, so that it came out like stch 'n BITCH, but whether due to that or due to the email campaign conducted by Shetland Arts or even the poster I drew, it worked. Twenty three women signed up to be counted. They turned up in the darkness of a rainy Shetland evening and sat down, then from baskets and bags, pulled out an assortment of wonders - Shetland shawls, Fair Isle socks, complicated things knitted on four pins ( they are called 'wires' here) then, somewhat intimidatingly, everyone got on with the business of knitting like experts. Everyone apart from me, that is. They were all so workmanlike, so professional, that I stopped blabbering like a fool and started counting frantically to cast on a double-stranded monstrosity of unevenly matched yarns then began to knit an 'easy' lace.

That bird never flew. That dog never ran. That lace doesn't exist. Easy? Oh, puhleeeeeaze.

Needless to say, I fell completely silent for about ten minutes of deep and total concentration, whereupon I couldn't stand not joining in with the chat going on around me, and that's when my 'easy' lace went to hell in a handbasket. Next but one to me was a Fair Isle knitter doing things that should be outlawed with three yarns, two pins and nary a glance at what her hands were doing.

Oh, weep. She even stopped and unhitched her 'makker's belt' and lent it to me to try and see if I could manage to knit any better with one of my wildly gyrating needles anchored in a belt. Hard to tell. I knit so badly, the only thing that I'm really sure would improve matters would be if I could have an extra pair of hands grafted on alongside the set I came with. Even then, I'm not sure that would improve mattters.

The evening was delightful, and having been one if its midwives, I felt really pleased and proud as our baby took its first breath. In the manner of the good fairy conferring her gifts upon the newborn princess, here are the blessings and wishes I would bring to heap upon its dear little head.
Long may it continue.
May it go from strength to strength, and may it hopefully acquire some male knitters to leaven the mix.
And if there is anyone out there granting wishes tonight - PLEASE can the magical essence of the Fair-Isle Knitter Who Didn't Look Down somehow rub off on me and transform me from being a cack-handed fumblethumbs into someone who knits beautiful and original things in her own lifetime. The 'in her own lifetime' is, I fear, key.


Mel said...

It'd be nice if I could acquire that same skill, since I'll be embarking on quite the knitting adventure making my own wedding vest soon - some traditional Shetland technique, some not so traditional, and in a color pattern of my own design. If I could do it without looking I'd stand a snowball's chance in hell of finishing it before the wedding in June.

Debi Gliori said...

Actually, with climate change doing its weird voodoo thing to the seasonsit's entirely possible that snowballs won't melt in hell anymore. And hey - why rush it? Some things in life are just so much better taken slowly. Knitting your wedding vest is one to be savoured, I imagine. My insatiable curiousity leads me to ask what yarn you're going to use for such an important adventure?