Just give me a minute

I had a lovely time up in North Bay this weekend, and if you get up that way, you should totally go to Stix and Stones – the owner’s got great taste, and the Fleece Artist selection would be hard to beat. I was there on Saturday teaching, and as I worked the room, moving from knitter to knitter, I had to pass this sample sweater Rae had about a thousand times.  Every time I walked past it, my enthusiasm grew and by the end of the day I’d snapped like a twig and the yarn for it was in my bag.

Yarn: 2 skeins Cotton Flamme from Americo. Sweater intention- Amiga. This is the version that set me off.

I swear to you, that I had every intention of finishing Omelet first.  All the way home I thought about that yarn burning a hole in my trunk, and I kept telling myself that Omelet was first. First I would finish Omelet, and then I would knit a little cotton sweater that was so, so the perfect shade of olive green, and so, so perfect for a summer evening, and so, so the right thing to maybe wear to Squam, and so, so the right kind of post-apocalyptic-my-clothes-are-all-chic-rags.  After Omelet.

When I came home, I even unpacked the yarn into the stash room.  I didn’t put it in deep, but I did put it in, and I did walk away, and I did go downstairs and I did pick up Omelet, and I did apply myself to the last of the four repeats of the chart.  Then I had this thought, and a smarter knitter would have realized it was over right then. The thought was "I should knit that sweater.  It would only take a minute."

Now, you know and I know that we all think that way, and that it’s always a big slice of crazy pie.  Crazy pie a la mode, none the less.  Sweaters, no matter how big or small (and this one is pretty small) don’t take a minute.  They never take a minute.  A sweater (even if it has three quarter length sleeves which makes them a lot faster) are never a momentary diversion.  Sweaters take at least a few days. More like a few weeks, or a few months, all things considered – but they never, ever take "a minute".  It never, ever makes sense that you would put down a shawl "for a minute" and knit a sweater. That’s nuts- and I know it’s nuts and that doesn’t change, even if it is a top-down quick cardigan on 5mm needles with 3/4 length sleeves and how can that take any time at all sort of sweater.
I kept knitting on Omelet, and when I reached the miraculous and triumphant end of the four endless repeats, I found my will to go on. The sweater stayed upstairs and I started the next chart – although it didn’t go that well.  After trying twice to get through the next row- it just wasn’t working.  I tried counting, I tried markers – it wouldn’t work, and after a good long think, I decided to do something radical.  I read the pattern. 

Shock washed over me as I realized that the instructions weren’t to knit rows 1-20 four times.  They were to knit rows 1-20 four times – and then rows 1-10 once more.  This my friends, was more than any sane knitter could tolerate, if she was sick to death of a chart and felt like it would never end.  I sat there, I reconciled myself to 10 more endless rows, I screwed my patience to the sticking point…

and let me introduce you to Amiga.  It’s a little sweater, and it will only take a minute.

108 thoughts on “Just give me a minute

  1. Who could resist in a situation like that? Happy knitting!
    Colleen in Kansas

  2. I’ve subcomed to lesser temptation than that, Mrs.Pearl-Mcphee…I’m sure we all have done the same thing multiple times!

  3. A knitter needs variety, and I think a shawl full of charts vs a stockingette sweater is the perfect amount of variety. When you get tired of one, move back to the other!

  4. Every relationship needs a break once and a while. You’re not the yarn harlot for nothing right? The shawl will understand, hopefully.

  5. Ahhh…temptation! It’s the fundimental desire that drives us all to brief, or sometimes unbrief, bouts of startitous. Alas, how boring our knitting bags would be without this disease!

  6. I hate it when you have to read the pattern! LOL The amiga is a great color, can’t wait to see yours after you finish it in a minute. 🙂

  7. Look how far you’ve come already! And I second Rycrafty – perfect for variety. Have fun.

  8. I’m in the middle of trying not to cast on another shawl before I finish the last, my resolve is wavering!

  9. I knit amiga last summer, in a gorgeous grey. I love it. Beware though, the buttonholes came out huge. So huge that I eventually ripped and reknit them as single yo buttonholes. And they are still huge; all the slack from the loose knitting migrates there. I still love it though.
    I almost brought it along to Lettuce Knit last week when I was there, but I hadn’t sewn the buttons back on.

  10. Yup that’s how come I started on Flaming June from the current edition of Knitty rather than finish hubby’s sweater (that is a few mere hours away from being done). It’s summer… he won’t wear his aran hoodie til the autumn whereas a cotton 4ply cardi for me!!! It makes total sense ;0P

  11. Interesting that both ‘Omelet’ and ‘Amiga’ come from the same issue 35 of Knitty!

  12. Well they both look lovely. Maybe if there is a cool summer evening you can snuggle up in your new sweater and finish up the shawl. I had the same weakness yesterday. I’m trying to finish up a baby blanket but I really want to knit a little cardigan for myself. Somehow I compromised and ended up knitting a sweater for the baby. This one is for a newborn and even this itty bitty little thing will take longer than a minute. 😉

  13. I began laughing hysterically at the line (It’ll just take a minute). After I composed myself, I was really cheered by your determination to finish Omlette and, consequently, totally crushed when the sweater won. Because I know how that feels. And I am trying hard, hard, hard to conquer the urge to start new things before I finish old things on the needles.

  14. I completely understand. My husband asked for a pair of socks (realize that it takes me 4 -6 months to knit a pair of socks) and I really wanted to knit, among 2-4 other things, the Milk Run Shawl. So I cast on the shawl today and will knit the gauge swatch for the socks later today, because his socks “had next.” But the shawl has been calling me.

  15. I love my Amiga! It took more than a minute, but it was a pretty fast knit and I wear it all the time. I didn’t like how the buttons weighed it down, so I took them off and re-knit the bands without the buttonholes, and it’s much better. It works well with a shawl pin.

  16. That shawl was totally asking to be put into time out. Hopefully you left it out to see you knitting on the sweater so it can think about what it’s done.

  17. Both the Omelet and Amiga are gorgious and will look fabulous when done. Think of the sweater as a break from the shawl.
    As to the “just a minute,” it sounds like that thought is coming from the same place that keeps telling me that I can finish 100 rows of a beaded feathered peacock shawl in 6 days!

  18. I’ll have a slice of that pie, with extra “la mode” please!
    That yarn looks lovely. I’m sure you’ll be much happier with the sweater right now than the black hole part of this shawl.

  19. Despite that horrid mistake (haven’t you learned to read a pattern yet Stephanie?), the shawl is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the sweater.
    And I still want to know what yarn that is you’re using for Omelet.

  20. I firmly believe that knitting projects suffer from Acute Separation Disorder (ASD).
    ASD presents when a knitter senses the conclusion of a project and begins to look for another before the current project concludes.
    The project does everything in its power to not separate from the knitter with cute moves like a) another page of instructions b) pointing out an error 20 rows down.
    The knitter’s dreams are dashed at that moment. The new project must wait, or the.knitter might wind the new yarn as the anticipation builds or stuff the current project in a time out bag and cast on!
    Don’t let ASD ruin your knitting dreams.

  21. I can see how the sirens got to you. What an amazing sweater–yours and hers.

  22. Yes, I can truly understand. My current project has so many stitches and so many rows of garter stitch. I am bored–yes, bored–with it and am ready to begin a different more interesting project.

  23. I really wish you’d stop doing that. My queue is long enough & I don’t need any more project flinging themselves at me.

  24. I feel for you. I did the exact same thing with GlennaC’s Allons-Y! Missed that after I was done with a chart, I was supposed to knit so many rows of it again before starting the next one. Just about drove me nuts.
    That sweater will be done in a minute…for sure!

  25. I love this post–actually it has been wonderful since a friend told me about your blog. Don’t have a lot of friends who knit as much as I do and understand the “knitting more than one item at a time” mentality so your blog and the comments really help me!!! 🙂

  26. I am wearing my Amiga right this minute. And I pointed out the pattern and yarn to a colleague this morning. Perfect summer sweater!

  27. I too have knit this one and it was a really fast one to do. For the buttonhole I just did a simple YO and came back. I can’t remember if you change needle sizes for the neckband in the pattern but I did go down a size. Yep this one should take maybe 2 minutes to make at the most. 😉

  28. I’ve been side tracked while working on the “shawl whose charts will never end.” I’m currently working on my third (third!) Age of Brass and Steam and I love the heck out of the simplicity. I know I’ll get back to the other shawl, but I’ve needed the quick gratification to help me get through. I feel bad about it, not one whit.

  29. I am knitting the Omelet shawl right now too. I am about to start repeat 4 1/2. For the second time. I did it in January, and finished four repeats before I figured out that I only had two charts across instead of four. It got put in a time-out while I knit a few simpler shawls and a baby sweater. Sometimes these things happen.

  30. There’s a reason you’re my favourite writer! I had to giggle at your predicament. How many times have we all been there before? You’ll feel a whole lot better about Omelet after you’ve finished Amiga.

  31. I believe you. (I covet Amiga too–and had the same thought about it, timewise.)

  32. This is why I never knit shawls, beautiful though many of them are. The idea of endless repeats and the stitch count! OMG, can we talk about the stitch count? A person can get up into the *hundreds* of stitches…on one row?? How do you stand it?! I hear/read of hundreds of stitches on a single row, my eyes glaze over, my breathing becomes shallow, I actually picture myself a-g-e-i-n-g as I knit rows containing hundreds of stitches, and well, that is why I have never knit a shawl…it’s a pity, but I just can’t get beyond it. The fact that you made it so far, impresses the heck out of me! Enjoy the sweater, bet it’ll be done in just a minute 😉

  33. I don’t know what you think’s crazy about that? What do you mean a sweater doesn’t take a minute. A minute is a very elastic term. I mean a minute in New York is actually about 20 seconds but a minute in El Paso can be days. It’s all about the culture you’re operating in. It’ll take an El Paso minute. You’re good.

  34. Those are not really knitting needles that you’re wielding, now, are they, Harlot? They’re really magic wands in disguise, right?

  35. I think it looks like you’ve made quite a bit of progress on Amiga already…surely it won’t take too many minutes

  36. A ha ha! thanks for the introduction to Amiga. It’s lovely to meet her and i’m so glad you are saving me from Omelet! Consider it your gift to the knitting stratosphere. It is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and I have only the highest respect for those who knit it through to the end and have the pleasure of wearing it or gifting it.
    But me, i’m going to stay far away from a knit that you don’t want to do 10 more lousy rows on and the shawl isn’t even that big on. I know my limits and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    (I have 3 – no 4 – shawls that I’ve started and stopped because they just become too much. I will get to them.. I promise and swear.. but in the meantime, i’ll keep knitting my socks that make me happy. Cheers!

  37. Whenever I find myself thinking a sweater will take “only a minute” (and I share this attitude with you, apparently), what I really mean is it will take me only a minute to CAST ON this sweater, work on it until it has stopped distracting me from my other knitting, and then will be happy to settle into a bag until I am ready to spend more than a minute finishing it (this can be months, btw).

  38. I’m laughing so hard right now. I needed that.
    And yes i too have added Amiga to my queue as well. Thank you!

  39. Thank goodness you got started because you want to have it finished in time for the apocalypse! I’ll be the one wearing socks and some kind of baby blanket toga….cause that’s all I can seem to knit.

  40. I really wish you hadn’t shared that sweater with us. I have 3 urgent projects (a hat for the new grandson that has a cold head, a sweater for my husband with his football team’s logo, and a unknown number of pink hats for a snowshoe fundraiser for Susan G. Komen next winter) I’m working on and I need to make that sweater – now!

  41. Ooooh. I understand the temptation! That sweater is gorgeous. But I’m excited for Omelet, too! (I didn’t know there was an “American” spelling of that word either, btw… I’ve always written it omelette.

  42. I knitted Amiga with the Amerigo yarn too. I’ve been wearing it since it got hot here in TO, but it’s freezing cold in the buildings. Love it! I didn’t add any buttons since they would have weighed down the sweater. I think I picked up 3 out of every 4 stitches, and now I have pointy ends, but it looks great!

  43. I, too am knitting Omlet. It’s been in a time-out for about a month. Again. First time out was because I was silly enough not to use a lifeline, stopped in the middle of a row, and as a result, didn’t catch the three dropped stitches until they were too far down for me to fix. So, take two, frogged and restart. Now I’m on repeat 2 and took a break for a baby sweater and 4 pairs of socks….ish. Ok, I’ve cast on four pairs and finished one and a half.

  44. Well of course you had to start it. But my hypothetical question is…is it worse to discover you had 10 more rows to knit, or to misread it as ‘knit rows 1-20 three times, then knit rows 1-10 once’? The former requires you to knit 10 more rows. The latter that you rip out 10 rows that you didn’t have to knit. Not that the ripping out is a big deal, but there’s the time you’d have spent knitting 10 unncessary rows. Is ignorance really bliss?

  45. Wait wait… only two skeins of yarn to knit that sweater?? And in stockingette?? Surely it can’t take more than a minute…
    As always, your words express the heart (or illogical mind?) of every knitter.

  46. Have fun with your sweater! Put the shawl in time-out and go have a good time with that perfect olive yarn. 🙂 You deserve it!

  47. I’ve been thinking of Amiga for a while, and before that, I was thinking of Mothed for a while. But I have soooo many partially finished lovely things on the needles, I just can’t do it. I really need to finish something – anything!

  48. And this, my dear, is why I am head over heels in love with you. I, too, am fickle hearted when it comes to projects and yarn. I am a tower of Jello when t comes to resolve. “I will finish this blanket before I start anything else. I will NOT cast another sock. I will NOT stop into the yarn shop for a look-see.” It is entirely possible that we are sisters from different mothers.

  49. Oh my – I hate the feeling that comes when I realize that I have mis-read the pattern. It’s such a HUGE let down. This is typically when I have to decide whether I really want this project or not. I’m so proud of you for having the fortitude to continue on. Good on you!!!

  50. Ooohhh… LOVE the pattern and the yarn. We’re into year 3 of me reading your blog. I’ve almost started knitting several times, but not yet. Rhonda M.

  51. Too funny (well not the part about 10 more rows). I just finished Aspen wrap in Cotton Flamme and have been debating between Amiga or a second Aspen wrap for the other 2 skeins, now I know….Amiga.

  52. Girlfriend, I am so with you on this one. Very wise decision to take a little break from the lace.

  53. As my poor mother told me once in the eighth grade, when I had strep throat and was literally crying because missing a day of school meant missing a day of seeing “the boy of my dreams”: – “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
    PS: It’s very hot and humid down here in New England so you really do need a new little cotton sweater for Squam.

  54. I always feel so much better when this happens to you too!! 😉
    The sweater will be lovely, as will be the shawl with a proper time out of course!

  55. Resistance — as always in such cases — is futile. Enjoy yourself!
    Bear in mind, of course, that this sage counsel comes from someone whose WIPs generally run into double digits….

  56. Some days are like that…even in Australia!
    My favorite quote, and it does seem to fit so many occasions- like this one!

  57. Stix and Stones is a beautiful yarn store and the owner is lovely. I bought yarn there while traveling and ordered more once I was home.

  58. Maybe the Doctor will lend you his TARDIS, and then it really will only take a minute! I clicked on the Ravelry link for the sweater, and wished that I had a second pair of hands: I could finish up the baby gifts for Mackenzie, and start a summer sweater of my own. Have fun!

  59. Dammit, Stephanie, that blasted Amiga was already in my queue. In fact I have the yarn downstairs. Wasn’t it enough that you forced me into that vortex of baby knits a while ago? I’ll never finish these dull grey socks now. Thanks a lot.

  60. I knit Amiga, and it really did take a minute!
    I may do again (I liked it so much) with different buttonholes.

  61. Speaking as a fellow knitter with four, count them four projects on needles and three in the warm up basket, I can see the logic of starting something that will take “just a minute” to knit. Have fun with the sweater!

  62. If you manage to conquer those rolled edges as the link claims she did, I may be in very, very big trouble. Bad enough that this reminded me of the Ormond I abandoned when nights got cool …

  63. Right now I don’t like you for introducing me to Amiga. I’ll probably be over it and back to my recognition it would take me seen years to knit after a good sleep though.

  64. Yarn Harlot, you shameless hussy! You didn’t just have a slice of crazy pie a la mode, you had extra nuts sprinkled on it!
    Because we all know that even a sleeveless sweater for that famous B-word fashion doll takes more than a minute. Especially if you see fit to ignore or alter the pattern.
    I’m sure Joe’s gansey is sobbing its wooly heart out over your fickle, fickle ways!

  65. I didn’t actually start knitting. I just made my luscious new skein of “Archangel” Malabrigo into a nice big ball (should have been working on afghan, correcting papers, cleaning, cooking…).

  66. ah…well…after a ‘minute’ of sweater, the last ten rows of Omelette will be refreshing, something different, maybe enticing. maybe. I like that sweater and yarn.

  67. Amiga is a gorgeous sweater. There is no way to resist. I think it will be super flattering on you. Omelet will just have to wait.

  68. I’m in the middle of knitting two pair of plain stockinette socks. It’s obligatory knitting and I really want to finish it, but I’m bored out of my mind and am itching to start something new and fun.
    You are not helping. 🙂

  69. This is Karma, my dear – you did the same to me with that ColourInfestation-thing. But it took only a minute, and now I’m back to knitting my Amiga. 🙂 Enjoy yours!
    PS: I’m still laughing. Loudly. 😀

  70. I would have needed at least three cast ons and maybe a bit of a tantrum. But I have them all the time over my knitting. It’s all about reading carefully. You wouldn’t know I teach people how to decipher those sorts of things in a different realm would you?
    P.S. My bestest friend has the color infection but I am trying to hold off as I have a stranded shawl and a laceweight beaded shawl on the needles and DO NOT need another shawl as a distraction. But there are three blues in my stash calling my name.

  71. Ah, well, things always look greener on the other side of the fence, and what a lovely shade of green it is, too. Top down? 3/4 sleeves? 5mm? why of course it will only take a minute.

  72. At least it wasn’t “3 repeats and rows 1-10”, requiring ripping back 10 rows. I know you can do both. Love the amiga, too!

  73. Oh, Stephanie, I just love you. Indeed, indeed, only a minute! Here’s hoping it comes together nicely. What a fun post to read this morning. Whee! Yes, crazy pie a la mode. Been there, done that, but then haven’t we all?!

  74. Thank you for your eloquent chronicle of what EVERY knitter experiences!
    Karla “Oh I’ll kitchener that toe later, this hat will only take a minute” Mellinger

  75. “I should knit that sweater. It would only take a minute.”
    Ha! That’s my downfall, because I think that about every distraction that pokes at me.
    “I’ll just pull up a few weeds….” “I’ll just finish reading this book….” “I’ll just make some brownies…”

  76. How uncanny – I’ve just cast on Amiga (in a different yarn as over here in England.land we can’t get all the great yarns you have) and I’ve shut the door (with slightly more than the usual difficulty and quite a lot of kicking and squeezing)on the spare bedroom/stash/land of WIPs which WILL get finished when the weather turns colder/hotter/wetter/drier…… honestly! But how could anyone resist Amiga when there are so many beautiful projects shown on Rav.? And I could wear it to Woolfest (June 22-23 in the English Lake District – probably the best show this side of the pond)so really it’s almost obligatory, but I’m still glad that I’m not the only one! Thanks for a great post.

  77. Okay, I could maybe resist the temptation of Amiga, but then you show us Americo, too? Their website is delish! No retailers in Wisconsin, though. 🙁
    I can’t wait to see you in the sweater, and if your version is more like the store sample, true to the pattern, or Steff-ified.

  78. I finished my first Amiga not long ago. And because I’m so easily distracted by other knitting projects, it took a few months to finish. I love it tho. Same color as yours. Next is another one in black with the modifications of the shop version.

  79. The suspense was killing me, I couldn’t read fast enough. I would not have made it as far as you did. Can’t wait to see the sweater.

  80. Until I ran across your website while working graveyard a few years ago, knitting was not half as much fun (and there was no kindred soul with more projects than wool in the stash!).
    Thank you for the wonderful quality of your blog and your many entertaining books!
    I have one small caveat: your “Where’s the Harlot” link only extends to June 2012, but I see you are visiting a reachable knit shop in Oakland, California, USA in July (sold out unfortunately!)…can you update with any other Caifornia locations! I would so love to take a class or attend a lecture!

  81. …still on row 19 of Brigewater Shawl. Can’t figure out what went wrong. Afraid to frog. May never start it again. Need professional help. Want to start weaving project. Got dear hubby’s scarf off the Kromski Harp at 5 am this morning. Loom is calling. Shawl is in the knitting bowl……need professional…
    …loom…warp…help.

  82. I totally get your obsession with Amiga. Last Saturday I took Brena Dayne’s top-down raglan class at The Yarnery in St Paul, and one of the women in the class was wearing Amiga. I have been thinking about it ever since (and I suspect that others in the class have been, too).

  83. I feel like we need to have multiple WIPs specifically BECAUSE we sometimes get frustrated with a project. I am dying to knit a sweater soon, but I have SO many other things to get done with actual deadlines. Seeing this post is making me SO much more tempted though!

  84. I am constantly surprised that we seem to have similar taste in patterns. I have Amiga on the needles (for more than a minute, I’ll admit). I am encouraged to get back at it. Thanks.

  85. Thanks for pointing out the possibilities of this pattern! I look at Knitty but hadn’t noticed this one before. Now I know just what to do with that odd rayon/cotton slubbed yarn that has been languishing. Couldn’t resist casting on already!

  86. I can’t blame you! I had had Amiga in my favorites for months, but seeing the picture of that shop sample you saw… Was swatching for it as my first sweater within 20 minutes! It just appeals to me so much more with the extra length and the neat collar.
    It helped that I remembered I still had a small-sweater quantity left of a denim-blue slubby linen/cotton blend (recycled from a giant thrifted commercial sweater) that looks just like the sample yarn…
    I should be finishing a Tunisian crochet shawl, sewing up several toys, blocking the shawl I finished last week, sewing a darn button on my poor Duet that’s been sitting for 5 months… But this sweater won’t take long, right?!

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