Tuesday, 15 March 2011

secret languages

How amazing is language?  Not just the sounds of different languages, or my love of French that I speak ever so imperfectly, but also the languages within language, so many words, too many for one person to know.  Dr Johnson might have got close; but now the Oxford English Dictionary has a whole company to work on new editions, plus public contributions, and a committee to decide what's in or out.  

My younger son (ever after referred to as DS2) loves language and new words.  Reading out loud to him one day I reached for the dictionary, not only to find out what the word meant but how to pronounce it.  The book was The mouse and his child 

(image from Amazon)

the word CHTHONIC.  It became DS2's word of choice to 'test' teachers using it where ever he could and always delighted  when it was assumed he had made the word up.  As he moved classes we would ask if his teacher had 'passed the chthonic test' yet.

A couple of years ago, I found myself working for a company based in the USA in their city of London office. On their intranet they had a 'word for the day' from Websters Dictionary one or two of us began to collect them and then see if they could be slipped into an internal e mail (we didn't always escape notice)

Slumgullion -  prolix – chawbacon -  eldritch -  exculpate

So I don't know why I was surprised that the knitting world has its own language. A little while ago I asked here how FROGGING came to be a term for unravelling

One or two people suggested that when you rip back knitting it sounds like 'reddit reddit' (or is it 'ribbit ribbit'?).  One non-knitting friend suggested that the way unravelled yarn becomes curly is a little like frogging on a hussars jacket. 

Then there is TINKING

Which also means undoing, as in knitting backwards, (well almost) I have chosen to think this is unpicking stitch by stitch rather than ripping with (non)gay abandon.

I may not have known what it was called till recently but I certainly understand STASH

You probably noticed there is a bit of a theme going on here, all the large, project, sized yarn is in mauves, greens and blues.  My stash usually lives in a large plastic box with a moth proof (I hope) lid but I rather enjoyed setting my hoard out here miser fashion.

I have always had some sort of crafty project on the go - boxes and baskets of half finished hats, pictures or cushions hidden away in the bottom of cupboards.  As a teenager it was a bit touch and go as to whether I would ever finish one thing before beginning another.  I do try to finish my projects, I really do.  But multi tasking is in my nature, it is the same with reading, I think I have already mentioned that I have a tendency to have several books on the go.  Right now I have a number of interesting woolly things ON THE NEEDLES

Paper chain scarf

cardigan for granddaughter

And vintage cardigan (still not finished)

I realised last night at a new knitting group, where the delightful conversation ranged from world book day to afghans, hand spun yarn and power walking that I need another project - something that I can knit and not worry about forgetting the increase row.

All those partly knitted hats, socks, afghans and jerseys are sometimes also called WORK IN PROGRESS.  This always makes me smile.  As a lawyer in private practice I would be pursued to increase my work in progress, ie number of hours logged against client work.  The target was 1600 hours a year (if there are any city lawyers reading I can hear cries of 'you were lucky!) I was always behind.  Now I do a slightly different sort of legal job and WIP no longer engenders a feeling of dread, instead it represents a choice of what to pick up and knit with this evening (but I'm still far short of 1600 hours)

Do please add words you know to the comments below.  Meanwhile, does anyone know what the word is for 'no-good-at-calculating-how-much-yarn-is-required-for-the-project'?

Just one simply will not do!




spinndiva said...

This post made me smile! :)

Mara Acoma said...

OOoo I have one. My friend came up with it and it's started spreading through the local groups. A 'yarngasm'.... it's the effect certain yarn can produce when you fondle it hehe

Ally Jay said...

My favourite is from The YArn Harlot when she talks about SABLE, stash aquistion beyond life expectancy. My knitting group and I are beyond help in this area and have embarked upon a yarn diet to see if we can shift the kilos from our hoard of yarn.

Amanda said...

going to take CHTHONIC into school on Monday and test on the staff - am not optimistic! :D

AllyB said...

Hello! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Your knits are beautiful, especially that vintage piece. My word offering is "zaftig" which is what I'm feeling after sitting around all winter. Nice to meet you! Hope you're having a great weekend.

Bubblesknits said...

I'd say the word for that one is "D'oh!!!". At least, that's what I yell when I realize I've underestimated yardage. ; ) There are also UFOs a.k.a. Unfinished Objects.

Catherine said...

I love all those new words, thank you everyone for such nice comments

I'm definately going to try and use SABLE! I am certainly building up to having one



Caroline said...

Can I ask where you got the pattern for the booties you posted a photo of at the end? They are gorgeous, and I seem to have a little obsession with collecting baby shoe/bootie patterns!