I can't believe I just said that, because after the prequels where he behaved like a complete jerk (and a total wuss in Episode III), I've got a bone to pick with Yoda. Bail Organa was the only real hero (and likable character) in all three of those ill-considered Star Wars prequels. And I never thought I'd have reason to mention this here, but since I'm on the subject, Light Wading has been after me for a long time to blog this, so I'll call it her birthday present: After the prequels, Princess Leia represents the triumph of nurture over nature. Look at the genetic material she was saddled with: whiny, violent Anakin and whiny, passive Padme. Neither one of them could string together a coherent sentence! The whininess was full force (pun intended) with her twin brother, but at the same age he was whining about wanting to go to Tashi Station, she was a diplomat, a Rebel Alliance leader, and a better shot than any stormtrooper I've ever seen (as opposed to her mom -- was the entire character of Padme proof that feminism is dead?). Bail Organa, you did good. You'd be the reigning Father of the Millenium if you hadn't gotten blown to bits in Episode IV.
But I digress... (and how!)
As I was saying to Nell earlier, jumping into a pattern truly seemed like the best way to learn. I can practice increases and decreases till the cows come home, but I'm not really going to learn anything about them until I put them into practice. And so far, the experience is bearing this out. Not only have I successfully increased, I've made short rows. Short rows!! The way I hear knitters going on about short rows, I thought they were the hardest thing on earth. I was surprised when StringTheory2.0 and Natalia explained how simple they were, and even more surprised when I navigated some with no difficulty, save knitting into the wrap and twist, and I didn't do that the second time. It's like magic!
So I can actually talk about the pattern and have it make sense, I will reveal here that I'm knitting Norberta. At this point it only needs to stay secret from the Mad Husband, because he loves dragons and I want to surprise him. I came across her and it was like fate. She's made with KnitPicks Crayon, which I actually had in my stash -- I'd gotten it on sale, but the one time I tried to crochet with it, it was a mess because it's boucle and I couldn't see where to put the hook. Turns out that whatever its failings for crochet, it knits up beautifully. The pattern calls for two strands held together and it makes such a lush, velvety fabric. And it's machine washable! At $1.99 a ball, I'm going to have to reconsider this one.
At this point I've knitted the main body up to the neck. I'm curious to see how the head's going to come together, but the pattern's been so well-written so far that I'm not worried. I am a little nervous about the decreases, since I'm combination knitting, but the boucle texture should disguise any decreases leaning the wrong way. The Ravelry project gallery has been totally helpful; I even modded the pattern a little to make the tail longer after reading other knitters' suggestions. I'm having so much fun! I hope I can finish her before the Mad Husband figures out what's going on.