One Glove, Two Glove, Tight Glove, Loose Glove

Sometimes things work out just the way you planned them. Other things… not so much. Last summer I realized that I was down to only one pair of gloves (I’ve been moving my wardrobe in the direction of colours that actually suit me), and that pair were fingerless.

But it was summer! I had plenty of time to knit myself some full-fingered gloves, right? I cast on the first one the week before Christmas, and finished it before the summer ended, despite the inevitable fiddles of altering the pattern to fit. (I have small hands.) Autumn was interrupted by other knitting projects (with deadlines) and some knit-free weeks following eye surgery, and I was starting to feel the nip in the air.

side by side

The second glove knit up in practically no time at all (for me) – only a few days. There was just one problem with it. It was really, really tight.

Same pattern, same needles, same stitch count, what appeared to be the same yarn – but was it? Closer inspection proved that I had inadvertently used the ‘just-in-case-there-isn’t-enough’ yarn for the body of the glove, and the proper yarn for the fingers. Of course, this was only detectable under a certain light, and at the right angle.

I pulled the whole thing to bits (quite fiddly with the fingers, it turns out) and started again, this time using the proper yarn. And the result? You could have knocked me down with a feather – it was still much smaller. Not, perhaps, quite as tiny as it had been, but still visibly smaller. Observe:


I was (and am) baffled. Same yarn, same needle, same pattern. Different size. And it’s not as though my hands are different sizes, either – at least as far as I can tell. The only possible explanation (all right, the only possible rational explanation) is that I was much tenser when knitting the second glove. It’s funny – I didn’t think I was that stressed, at least until the Tiny Glove Happening.

However, since the winter draws on apace (it was one degree Celsius the other morning) I have decided that It Will Do. But next time I knit gloves, I’m going to try knitting them both in the same season. I’ll just have to learn to knit faster.


The original draft of this blog post – I usually write them ahead of time – ended here. Last night, however, as I was trimming away a little end that had come loose (you can just see it in the above photo, about halfway down the cuff below the thumb), I discovered that all was not well. Something more than a little end had come loose further along, and there was now a considerable hole in the almost-new glove.

I blamed it on the fact that the cuff of the Second Glove Mark II was knitted out of the fingers of the Second Glove Mark I – not a wise idea, in case anyone is ever thinking of doing it. You end up with a billion little ends to sew in, and the law of averages will soon result in your glove springing a leak. Take it from me…

The hole was beyond a mend: something more like surgery was required. I did my best to pick up stitches around the hand by where it met the cuff, and then carried on the unravelment from where the second hole had sprung up. Did I mention the second hole? It was right at the base of the thumb, practically.

At more than one stage in these proceedings, I considered wastefully chucking the whole thing and just knitting myself a new pair of gloves. Particularly at the point where I thought I’d only managed to pick up half the stitches, and the other half appeared to be laddering…

Mercifully, that proved not to be the case, and I managed to get all the stitches back onto needles, get a controlled unravel to even the round out, and then start knitting back out. Did I mention Second Glove Marks I & II had their cuff knit from the wrist out (hand started with provisional cast-on) because I was afraid of running out of yarn? I ended up using the reserve yarn for Second Glove Mark IIA (Cuff), since it was in bigger pieces than the twice-used ‘real’ yarn.

Alas, no photos were taken of the Franken-rescue process, as I was too busy panicking, picking up stitches, flinging off winter layers (I overheat when I panic), tap-dancing precariously along the outer edge of my abilities, knitting maniacally and then quivering gently as the adrenaline filtered away. Now all I have to do is sew the ends in, firmly this time. Because now, it’s winter.

Moving House: the Worst Case Scenario

What is the worst thing that could happen when you move house? Turn your mind to this for a moment. The moving truck getting lost? Or getting broadsided by a Hummer and exploding in fragments of your best china? Or your new house being destroyed by a meteorite, leaving nothing but smoking ruins to welcome you on your arrival? No – the worst thing that can happen is what happened to us.

meteorite-1060886_640Imagine: it is the morning after the epic move (which went surprisingly smoothly, actually). You drag your exhausted self out of bed and down the stairs to the kitchen, where you clamber over the piles of boxes to reach those life-giving essentials which you have had the foresight to unpack first: the kettle and the tea.

Only to find (insert horror chord here) that the kettle has sprung a leak in the night, and will no longer hold water. There will be No Cup of Tea.

Let me just give that its proper emphasis: there will be NO CUP OF TEA!

As Macduff so aptly put it, “Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.” The kettle was broke ope and the life of the building stole forth, by which I mean the water for my tea. Dire news indeed.

Vittorio Reggianini - A Shocking AnnouncementI was forcibly reminded of the morning of the first Canterbury quake, when after a rude and violent awakening at half past four in the morning, we had to wait until dawn to check the chimney was sound before we could fire up the log-burner, put a pot of water on top and wait for it to slowly inch its way toward boiling. (Some log-burners these days are designed for use as stoves in electricity-less emergencies. This was not one of them.) It was just starting to steam when the power mercifully came back on.

While we waited, however, I got a message from a friend on the other side of town who had a camp stove and who was, she informed me, sipping a hot cuppa as she texted. I may have considered trekking across miles of fractured streets and fording the Heathcote and Avon rivers in order to murder her in what would have been cold blood but for all the exercise – but I refrained. That would only delay the point in time at which tea and I would converge. Because while I might slaughter a friend for an ill-considered text, I wouldn’t dream of then drinking their tea over their cold dead body. I have my standards.

A Cup of Tea by Lilian Westcott HaleReturning, however, to the present. We were saved in our hour of need by the kindness of family who had a kettle going spare, which we went and snaffled as soon as we decently could, viz: after getting dressed and eating something, so as not to faint from inanition. And then we returned, rejoicing, to luxuriate in that historic beverage: the first ever cup of tea in our own home.

Or at least, I did. The Caped Gooseberry, despite my best attempts to convert him, remains what Don Pedro would call “an obstinate heretic in despite of tea” (if he had thought of it, or met him, or, in fact, existed).

When was the worst time you ever got caught without a cuppa?