Knitting is supremely meditative, a transcendent experience opening one’s soul to the magic of the universe, a creative act that directs the heart to the soil one knits above and the heavens that reach to the infinite beyond. And it requires some swearing.
Perhaps some instruction in the proper use of these terms should be put forth to prevent their misuse by knitters and explain to the uninitiated how these seemingly coarse words are, in fact, all a part of the art.
There is the usual curse here or there when knitting, say, a pair of socks. Beginners may find these words (if not the socks) come quite naturally. The occasional dropped stitch requires a brief word- generally about sheep droppings. The same word might be used when a double point falls out of a cable. Perhaps one half of a 2.5mm circular manages to pull itself out of a sock entirely. In general, the more dropped stitches, the more sheep droppings required and the more force with which the droppings must be referred to. This is, of course, all very basic language that even the inexperienced will master with ease.
As knitters progress to more advanced techniques, they might wish to find religion. A deep and sincere belief in the divine seems to be necessary for skills such as reading charts, color work, larger cable pieces and so on. Calling on the creator’s special attention to your work adds a certain spirit to the piece that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Some may find discomfort at the phraseology that is most commonly used in this effort. In such cases, consider visualizing a large concrete barrier designed to hold back water, rather than the actual act of cursing the C4B that should have been a C4F you just discovered 15 rows back in your beautiful afghan. Perhaps that water sustains an alpaca herd. Such visualizations can help move the knitter past the initial hesitation to swear at their knitting.
Lace knitting, a most forward technique, requires a certain category of its own. Here, the most advanced language must be used. This should not be attempted lightly. At every step of the process, lace requires delicate execution of the curse. From the finicky cast-ons that are almost never used to the unfortunate necessity of the crochet hook to cast off, there are appropriate words to be used at carefully placed intervals.
When casting on, try the religion approach discussed above, with perhaps a reference to male puppies- particularly if the instructions make little to no sense. References to the intelligence of the instruction’s author should be commonplace. If you are not comfortable with these, do not attempt lace. It only gets worse.
If you decide to proceed, continue with a smattering of sheep droppings here and there. A forgotten YO, a dropped stitch, losing one’s place in the pattern and so on are all appropriate times for such references. Like a garden, sheep manure applied liberally leads to the most beautiful of products.
Now, in lace, there will be moments when only the most unclean language will suffice. These times, such as a needle falling out of half the stitches, will require a conflagration of words. When such an event occurs (the knitter seems to know instinctively when the moment is just right), begin weaving together all of your previous language. Perhaps bring religion in first and that concrete wall that’s watering the alpacas. If that feels comfortable, the puppy would be good too. Throw in some sheep droppings for good measure and even some sheep mating. If desired, throw in the name of the yarn manufacturer, needle maker or pattern designer- whomever is deemed to be most at fault. For extra style, wrap it up with an off handed reference to some political party, tasteless food, or the homeless man on the street corner who is, of course, the cause of all the worlds ills. Nothing short of masterful execution will suffice. Lace is simply that demanding.
Once the maelstrom subsides and the lace has been blocked and dried, take a deep breath. Stand back and admire the finished object and know that, through the expert use of four letter words, a thing of beauty has been produced. Smile and enjoy.