Saturday, March 2, 2013


          My grandmother was an extraordinary needlewoman. She knitted beautiful sweaters, vests, gloves, and mittens, often worked at gauges that most modern knitters would find far too fine. She did this while having to filter pattern directions not only through her bipolar disorder (where Satan lurked), but also through her knitting technique, which was not simply Continental style (most Americans knit English style, so she was usually out of luck when it came to seeking help with a knitting problem), but the more obscure Combined style*, which reverses decrease shapings and plays havoc with instructions that require you to knit through the front or back of a loop**.

          And it is because she was able to do such lovely work under difficult circumstances, I believe, that Satan spent so much of the time he could have profitably spent torturing sinners and fast-talking people out of their immortal souls instead hiding Grandma's knitting needles.

          Not to put too fine a point on it, but The Prince of Darkness was jealous of Grandma's knitting mojo.

          For Satan knits. And he occasionally publishes patterns, as every knitter can attest. There are knitting patterns that exist on a level of fiendishness almost impervious to the abilities of even the most skilled knitter. And they are signed with Satan's sigil.

          Here is a selection:

Hostile Helmet—headache guaranteed.

Prohibited Pullover—impossible to get on;
equally impossible to get off

Swarming Scarf—only some of them are poisonous.

Vicious Vest—don't make any sudden moves.

          But Satan is not content with creating fringe from centipedes (which, even though it's undeniably creepy, I also have to admire for its sheer perverse cleverness) or dreaming up a pullover that padlocks itself to your body.

          No, what he really wants is to knit a nice argyle cardigan that will accomodate his wings, but he has never been able to get the gauge right. And colorwork has proven entirely beyond his abilities.

          Grandma would have been able to toss off an infernal, wing-accommodating cardigan without batting an eye. A brimstone-proof, machine-washable, completely reversible cardi that disguised the potbelly, flattered the fiery skin tone, and made the old fiend look taller.

          If only she could have found her knitting needles.

*Used in eastern Europe, and almost unknown here until quite recently.
**No knitting instructions that I'm aware of are written for Combined knitters. We are on our own.

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