Here’s the thing. While I believe it’s possible to lead a completely secluded and private live, away from all human contact, relying only on oneself – and even though there are days when I fantasize pretty wildly about giving that a shot, the truth is that I think we all do better when we’re around each other. It keeps us accountable, and reliable, and sane. We behave better because other people are watching, and for those of us given to impulsive flights of fancy that begin with phrases like "You know what would be fun…" or "How hard could it be?" having other people around can be an important sanity check. That’s why yesterday surprised the heck out of me. Normally, I say something like "I think I’ll knit a sweater in ten days" and either you guys come out and say that you think it’s crazier than a bag of wet weasels, or someone like Rams, Presbytera or ThatRachelH will say something subtler like "Hold on, let me just get the popcorn, this should be fun to watch" and I get tipped off that my plan is a little dodgy. I’ve learned that anytime one of those three thinks my life is going to be fun for them, then I know that it’s going to be as much fun for me as a Brazilian wax. (Not that I’ve had a Brazilian wax, you understand – but I’ve seen pictures and mentally placed it in the same category as going for a 10 hour car ride with a difficult relative and no yarn. Just not going to happen.)
Now, yesterday when I announced my plan to knit a sweater in ten days, only a few people said it was crazy and my three weathervanes said nothing (which by the way, was total cheating, since I know with certainty that 2/3 are occupied at present.) The rest of you? I don’t know how fast you knit, I don’t know what sweater experiences you’ve had, and you didn’t even know what sweater I’m planning – so I felt like I didn’t have to take your warnings all that seriously. I did see one comment from someone that regularly knits Rhinebeck sweaters, and does know me, and could guess what sort of sweater I’m planning, and that was Glenna, and she said:
I added a 2nd Rhinebeck sweater to my knitting when Rhinebeck was 2 weeks out, even though my 1st one isn’t quite done yet, so heck yes. You can totally do a sweater in 10 days, I believe in you!
I’m taking that to the bank. Glenna would know. She knits tons of stuff, and designs tons of stuff, so that means this is a totally doable plan – and with that decision, I took my yarn (The very fabulous and sadly discontinued Classic Elite "Waterlily") and my pattern: Miss BB – and I started.
Now, a sweater in ten days is a bit of a stretch (especially when I’m teaching two of those days – but whatever, I find it easier not to cloud the issue with facts and logic) and so I’m going to do a few things differently so that I reduce the chance for defeating errors.
1. I made a swatch.
I admit, this swatch is small, but I don’t find them super reliable anyway – but I did knit it, and wash it, and feel great about it.
2. I started with a sleeve. I did this because a) sleeves make great swatches. They’re bigger, and way more reliable indicators of actual working gauge. b) It always comes down to the sleeves and I hate that. c) Sleeves are comparatively small parts of sweaters, and if a sleeve isn’t working out you can almost always come back from that.
3. I am not going to put it in the oven. At all.
At the end of last night I had a sleeve done, and I washed it, blocked it – and this morning it’s dry, and my gauge is still good – and I really like it, and I think it’s going to fit, and –
This could work. It doesn’t feel too crazy at all. I admit, I could be just running on the high that a sleeve in a day gives any knitter, but I’m going to go with Glenna on this, and not think too much about the URL in the address bar for her blog. Only forward.
PS. Thanks for saying the food looked yummy in yesterday’s post. It was! The delicious looking brussel sprouts are from Canadian living, and they were outstanding, and the tart thing is a Potato Tatin from the great vegetarian cookbook Plenty, which is so fabulous it’s getting ridiculous action in our kitchen. I can’t recommend it enough, even for carnivores. Everybody eats veggies.