Necessity is the mother of invention.

We know nothing (for all you Game of Thrones fans) of true ingenuity.  Ok, so I’m speaking in broad generalizations; some of you may very well be quite ingenious.  For the purpose of this post, play along.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with a woman who had sought me out to help an older friend of hers who was knitting a sweater and needed help with the next step.

I asked all the typical questions.
Me: Can you tell me a little about the sweater: yarn, pattern name, the part of the directions that are giving her a problem?  Pictures of the passage in the directions would be great.
Friend: I know she said she is having trouble finishing the part around the neck of the sweater.  I’ll try to get more information from her and will be in touch.

and later:
Friend: She does not have a pattern but is copying the sweater from another sweater!!!  I haven’t seen it and truthfully know very little about knitting.
Me: Ok, then I definitely need to see her.

Friend: Also do you have some large round needles to bring along for her to try?  I think Alba needs a different size needle also.
Me: Do you know what size she is on?
Friend: No.

I had no idea what to expect.  It was an adventure.  I was pleased to meet Gail (the friend), Alba (the knitter), and Miriam (Alba’s daughter).

Alba laid out all the pieces. The yarn was super-bulky and she was knitting it all in garter stitch. She was in fact copying a sweater from a sweater

and had made a paper pattern.  That took me back to Home Economics sewing classes.


As I looked at the sweater pieces and knitting needles, I did a double take.  She had knitting needles that were made from wood dowels. They were super long, shaved to a narrow tip, and had sliced wine corks for needle ends. I can’t tell you how happy this made me. Alba wanted to knit and knit she was going to do.

The sweater is for her Minister.  Through mixed English and Spanish she explained that she wanted the sweater to have raglan sleeves and didn’t know how to go about it.  I took gauge measurements from her knitting and finished raglan measurements from the store bought sweater and did some rough calculations. Then I wrote out instructions and reviewed them with Miriam who was also a knitter.

Miriam told me she had tried to convey to her mother that she needed to learn how to purl.  Unfortunately she had not been able to teach her.

It was then that Alba took out her practice swatch.  SHE WAS KNITTING ON CHOPSTICKS! I kid you not.  It was awesome.  I even took out my needle sizer to see what size “needle” she was on.  It was a #10.5, in case you were wondering or are ever at a loss for #10.5’s.

I taught her how to work the decreases for the raglan, purl, and stockinette stitch. As she knit I would correct her in English and her daughter would relay it in Spanish.  High School Spanish came trickling back.  I also learned the word for knit: tejer.

Alba told me how much she loved knitting and all she wanted to do was knit.  When her daughter asks her if she wants lunch, she just smiles, laughs and says she just wants to knit.  I know how she feels.

While Alba practiced her new skills, I talked with Miriam and Gail.  I asked Miriam what they would do for circular needles.  Really, I was only half kidding.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Miriam said that once when she needed circulars, she took the wire from a wire hanger, put cut pieces of straws on the ends, and taped them on with scotch tape. I just love the ingenuity. That was totally thinking outside the box.

The time flew by.  I’ll have to brush up on my Spanish, specifically knitting terms before we meet again.  I think I will also bookmark google translator!