Saturday, 13 December 2008

A Tax on my Knitting

The postie dropped a card through the letterbox on Saturday morning. My DVD had arrived, but I had to pay £11.97 and drive to the sorting office in the rain to collect it. Obviously I spluttered and fumed, but there was no way out. For some obscure reason, although the DVD cost $20 dollars and the pin $2.50, Andrea had put a value of $40 on the packet, and so I was into taxable territory. The Post Office then charge £8 to collect it. I consulted Google, and it seems that the old £18 threshold has been abolished and even tiny purchases are being hit - so there was no point in even trying to argue - and sometimes I think you have to admit that you are beaten. I'm glad I read that, because taking the receipt and trying to get out of it would have only done my head in. So, it turned out to be an expensive exercise all round! If you are going to order a DVD (or anything) from abroad, ask the retailer to put the exact value on the packet, and better be ready to pay tax and a handling charge if you use Royal Mail.

Was it worth it? Well, the extra expense and hassle kind of puts an unfair burden on any purchase: This had better be good - look how much it cost me! But even leaving that aside, I think the DVD is going to be worth it. Andrea Wong calls this Portuguese Style knitting, but I think of it as Greek. Years ago, a mate and I caught the Magic Bus to Athens and took a ferry to Crete and lived in the caves near Matala for a month. All the ladies in the Cretan village where we stayed knitted like this - with the yarn flowing over their shoulders and their thumbs shuttling back and forth so fast you couldn't see what they were doing. They made huge soft jumpers for the tourists - and because it was April and cold at night, I bought one, I think! Memory is so unreliable. I know I bought a pair of soft green cotton trousers to keep my legs warm, and I think I bought a grey jumper with a lot of garter stitch in it, but I can't be sure. Keep a blog, everyone!

Whatever name you give this knitting, it is interesting and completely different in style. For a start, the purl stitch is the easy one. I found it much easier to get the hang of the movements than when I learned Continental knitting - although my tension is still all over the place and I can see it will take a lot of practice before I can knit neatly this way. The knit stitch is much more difficult. In a few weeks time, I am going to make a couple more ribwarmers, and I could do one all in knit and one all in purl using this technique, just to get the hang of it. I think it may be easier on the hands because the pin (or your neck) tensions the yarn.

Andrea Wong's DVD is good value. She shows you the knit and the purl, cast on and cast off, increase and decrease, single rib, knitting backwards, knitting with two colours and a few other tips as well, so it pretty much covers the technique, which is good. I'm not sure about the pin - you have to be wearing something you don't mind sticking a pin in, and I'm not sure yet what I think about the feel of the yarn running though it. Still, I'll play around with it this week. I think the using the purl for garter stitch might be quicker than using Continental for garter stitch, and anything quick, I approve of.

No comments: