Last night, instead of going to a Christmas party for Ben's clients or working on the christology paper that was my original reason for passing up on a night of karaoke, I spent two hours trying to teach myself to knit in the round. debbie stoller likens this technique to "wrestling with an octopus," though since only four(!) needles are used, it's really more like an aluminum and cotton quatropus. I diligently cast on my 64 stitches, and was rather impressed with their uniformity and alignment. And then I triangulated two more double-pointed needles into the row, poring over The Knitting Experience and Stitch n' Bitch to make sure I was properly slipping my stitches purl-wise. I made it around the awkward tube a few times before I realized that the beginning and the end were connected not by real stitches but by three overextended strands of yarn. I more or less diverted that problem, figuring I could go back later to sew in a seam (which, incidentally, defeats the purpose of knitting in the round). All was well until I dropped a few stitches. I thought I'd relooped the snags in the right direction, but when I came around the bend to the knitting I'd "fixed," suddenly the new stitches were inexplicably inside-out. I tinkered with it for another half-hour or so, trying to salvage my inch of pseudo-tube.
The quatropus won the first round. I tore it all out, and all I have to show for my first foray into knitting in the round is a pile of crimped cotton. There is surely a profound spiritual lesson to be learned here, but the pattern calls for a baby hat, not an epiphany. I'm taking bets for round two.