Pardon My French

You are getting sleepy…

The good news is, I got four and-a-half inches higher on the back of the sweater I’m crocheting.

The pattern uses an interesting variety of stitches — half-double crochet, treble crochet, single crochet, and chaining — but it’s really quite straightforward. You make a row using two types of stitch on the right side (i.e. the outside) to make the cables, and then a simpler row using the other two types on the wrong side (i.e. the inside) which becomes the row on which to work the next bunch of cables. No counting is necessary, unless you get to the end of a row and things don’t look right.

Today I decided to turn on Radio-Canada, the French-language version of the CBC, and worked away with one ear cocked to the talk shows. Because my French is rusty, I need to listen more carefully than I did fifteen years ago. And because bilingual jobs are more in demand than unilingual ones, I thought it would be smart to use my crocheting time to brush up on my langue seconde.

Stitching went along merrily for a while. Then suddenly, I got to the end of a row. And things didn’t look right.

I counted. There were the right number of stitches on the fresh row, but the lower one seemed short. Okay, whatever, add an extra stitch at the end of this row, chain, turn, do the next cabling row.

About a third of the way along, I noticed that on the previous cabling row, I had missed a stitch. Now with single crochet, which makes puny short stitches, this mistake might be remedied by shoving in an extra stitch without the error being too noticeable. But I had missed a treble crochet, which means that a piece of cable about the length of the road from Toronto to Montreal was missing.

And so, that first third of the most recent cabling row, the entire in-between row, and two-thirds of the previous cabling row were promptly unravelled.

Would you like the punchline now? It’s short, so pay attention. It’s:

wait for it…


The bad news, then, is that of the four and-a-half inches of crochet I did today, three of them were pulled out.

Needless to say, the word “multitask” does not appear on my résumé.

10 Responses to Pardon My French

  1. Gina says:

    I remember my grandmother pulling out her crocheting so many times. It always hurt to watch.

  2. lavenderbay says:

    My mum mostly crochets now, Gina, but she used to knit. I have this idea that unravelling knitting stitches is more complicated than unravelling crochet work, possibly because my mum used so much — umm — French when she did. Hmmm, maybe that’s why I crochet: I have enough things to get mad at already without knitting as well. 😀

  3. But one-and-a-half inches stayed!

  4. LOL… You know you had me going… I don’t know much about the art of crochet so the verbiage was a bit of a learning curve for me. Kinda like your experience with French. But the punchline is awesome. You sure know how to tell a story.

  5. lavenderbay says:

    You’d like E.g., James, she’s an optimist too!

    Oh, good, Urban Thought, I’m glad you were able to follow the story. E.g. has no idea what those stitches are either, even though she knits. My challenge for this story was to include the jargon — simply because I like the sound of those words — and yet make the tale comprehensible to the lay person. From what you say, it sounds like the challenge was met. Your input is valuable — and encouraging!

  6. Seabrooke says:

    This isn’t about crocheting, but might loosely, indirectly, tie in to the resume comment… 🙂 I ordered a copy of 2009 Writer’s Market last week and it arrived on Wednesday. It’s 9/10ths a yellow pages for writers, a catalogue of all the book publishers and magazines and trade journals and literary agents and everything else pertaining to writing. But about 100 pages of it is dedicated to helping the aspiring writer find their way, figure out how to get their stuff published, and how to make a living from writing. I found what they had to say incredibly useful, and very inspiring and encouraging, and I immediately thought of you as well. You’ve really got a gift for writing, and I think it would be a shame if you didn’t do anything more with it than blog here (as much as we your readers enjoy having you do so!).

    I thought if you bought a copy of the book it might inspire you to follow up with some magazines, either publishing your fiction short stories or non-fiction articles on stuff, or your limericks with poetry publications. You might even feel like trying your hand at writing a novel! There’s a Canadian Writer’s Market, too, which has its own intro chapters, but I found the US version (which also has Canadian listings) to be much more useful as far as tips and stuff went. The Canadian would be useful for getting specifically Canadian magazine or agent listings. I also like what it has to say about using an agent for representing your book, and a few other points.

    Anyway, I wanted to share this, in case you hadn’t heard of it, and encourage you to pursue some sort of publication of your writing!

  7. lavenderbay says:

    I was just about to turn the computer off and turn in when I noticed your comment (that needed approving) , Seabrooke. Wow. Wish me luck getting a good night’s sleep now! Bless you. Maybe I’ll trip over a drift and fall into a bookstore sometime soon.

  8. Alyson says:

    And what’s more you inspired me to go to a sale (yurghhh) and buy wool to start knitting a scarf…and we have the hottest weather in two years.

  9. Alyson says:

    That’s so not the same as what Seabreeze said but….well….uhhhh…

  10. lavenderbay says:

    Good for you, Alyson! The scarf will be all ready for Autumn. Just remember to wash the sweat out of it once it’s made.

    Well, certainly, what flavour would you like? Size 4? Fine. Tuesday and aloha.

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