If you missed the first part of the saga, it's here.
In Which We Grapple with Continental Purl
As you might expect of one who has cut people open, rearranged their insides, and stitched them up again (without killing them), Willibald has steady nerves and nimble fingers. Teaching him the long-tail cast on and the knit stitch was as easy as Britney Spears just before last call.
I got him started on a garter stitch scarf in alternating blocks of gray and gray. After pulling back his work twice he sped forth, jumping right over the color change without a hitch. His first block or so showed the variations in tension that we all deal with at the beginning, leading him to insist the scarf was not a scarf, but an "irregular polygon." But he persevered, and when the scarf had reached about half its length we began to discuss his next move.
Slippers were briefly considered, but he liked the idea of knitting a hat to go with the scarf. And so I pulled out the old reliable London Beanie. It has stripes to give it a bit of interest, and the tight, short fit means it moves quickly.
"All we need to do," I said, "is teach you to purl. That way you can do the ribbing at the bottom."
"Is it difficult?" he asked.
"A little fidgety at first," I said. "But with some practice it becomes second nature."
So we sat down cozily with two cups of green tea and soft music, and picked up our needles. Half an hour later, Willibald was eyeing me with the sort of beady-eyed hatred normally reserved for ex-boyfriends who sleep with your sister. (Or brother.)
"I don't like purling," hissed Willibald through clenched teeth.
"I can see that," I said. "But you just need to keep trying, and it will click for you. I promise."
"Do I have to purl?" he said.
"Well, strictly speaking, no. But it'll keep you from doing a lot of cool things if you can't."
"This doesn't work," he said. "There has to be a better way."
"Well, it's been done like this for at least a couple of centuries, so it has been proven to work. But if you can figure out an alternative, please make sure you let me know."
"Don't take that tone with me."
"You need to relax."
"I am relaxed."
"Dude, you just bent a steel needle in half."
"I have extremely muscular fingers."
"I think we're done for tonight."
What will happen next? Will Willibald ever learn to purl? Will Franklin strangle him with a 24" Addi Turbo and bury him under a pile of stashed Rowan? And what about Naomi?
A Little More About the New Wheel
Nothing magnifies joy like sharing it with others, and so I was delighted at the response to the new arrival in our house. There were a couple of questions, so let's take a minute and answer them.
Szarka asked whether the crank hole (giggle) in the drive shaft (giggle) was elongated from wear and whether this interfered with operation as it does on her wheel. I took a look, and the hole is as it was made - no distortion. It operates perfectly, although before I could get the drive wheel to rotate consistently in one direction I did have to treadle quite a bit to get a feel for how much force and frequency (giggle giggle) to use.
Ted asked if the wheel is tiny, and suggested that it might be designed for flax. Sharp eye, Ted, just as I'd expect. The wheel is quite small (though not miniature) which I like because when I sit at it I look like a basketball player. It also has a distaff, and the flyer hooks are placed so as to encourage spinning Z—or it is S? Whichever is the opposite of the usual direction for wool. The orifice, though, is no smaller than the orifice on my Ashford. (Heh heh. Big orifice.)
Heather asked for a closer shot of the inlay (yes, it's inlay) on the bench. Here you are.
Odd, isn't it? The top bit is obviously a shield. There's more inlay around the rim (giggle, snort) of the table. If anybody reading this has similar marks on their wheel, needless to say I'd love to hear from you.
There were questions about, and suggestions for, names. I don't know that I'll name it. I used to be a namer of inanimate objects. My computer in college was called Fanny. But when your sock yarn starts to talk to you and impinge on the hospitality of friends, it sort of kills the thrill.