Technology - Circuits

January 21, 1999

Hidden Pearls: Rings Steer Web Explorers to Back Roads

Some of the most obscure and most fascinating sites on the Web can be found almost exclusively sticking to its soft underbelly, in Web rings. Take, for example, Tales of Fur and Fiber (, run by Rachel Hecht, which includes a page of superstitions about knitting.

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With the Webmaster's Himalayan cat, Firkin, and Maltese dog, Oliver, as guides, we learn: "Knitting for children you may have in the future, but before you are pregnant, is bad luck." "If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you." "Don't knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he'll walk away from you!"

Ms. Hecht, who lives in North Miami Beach, Fla., joined her site with the Free Knitting Patterns Web Ring (, part of It includes material from the Knit List, an online knitting group.

Someone desperate to find superstitions about knitting (and isn't everyone, at one time or another, during this brief time on earth?) would be out of luck in all but one of the major search engines. Alta Vista picks up the Fur and Fiber site. But other search engines turned up uninspiring results or nothing at all.

Looking for the arcane in Net nooks and crannies.

The searches produced many hits on the "Innuendo" album by the rock group Queen. The album includes "knitting" and "superstition" in its lyrics, and the occasional mention of Madame LaFarge, the knitter from Dickens's "Tale of Two Cities."

But at the Web Ring site, there was just one ring devoted to knitting, and the superstitions were easy to find by browsing through the list. So where else could one learn this crucial information: "Stabbing your needles through your yarn balls brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn"? Let the wearer beware.

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