Seventeen Days

There is a moment in every set of grand plans when it all seem so possible, isn’t there? Some spectacular moment where there is just enough time that it seems reasonable to hope for it, and you’re far enough along in your thinking or your knitting or your writing or whatever, that you can see it all finished on time, and it’s going to be glorious.

See, for about a week, I’ve had a pretty good Rhinebeck sweater plan. While I was at Make Wear Love, I bought this yarn from IndigoDragonfly. (I am always amused when I buy their yarn in another country despite living in the same province, but there you have it.) It’s Wingenhooven DK (merino/yak/silk) and after not a lot of reflection at all, because they just seemed made for each other, I’m knitting Remi.

I haven’t really been applying myself to it (though I’m almost done the yoke) because in my head, I’ve had buckets of time. Loads, actually – great heaps of time. I’m pretty sure that this a lingering Bike Rally effect, where I feel like I’ve got all this flexibility now that it’s over and really I’m just back to being as busy as I was before, which was pretty crazy busy but not dangerously busy.

This effect is so pronounced part of my very good Rhinebeck plan is is that not only will I finish Remi, but that I’m going to knit a second sweater as well.  Do you all remember when I knit Little Wave? Gorgeous pattern, and very well written, but it was too big when I knit it, and it’s way too big now.  (See that? Let us pause for a moment and recognize knitterly delusion.  The sweater was not “too big when I knit it.”  I knit the wrong size.  It wasn’t like rain, something that you can’t predict, I blew it.  Me. Not the sweater.)

That sweater fits me so poorly that I haven’t worn it since that Rhinebeck and I feel terrible about that, because I the yarn is the rather spectacular (and tragically discontinued)  Blackwater Abbey, and it was expensive and I have not been able to stop feeling like I wasted it, and my time.  This feeling finally got the better of me and I did something I’ve never done before.  I unknitted a sweater.

The whole thing.  I snipped the buttons off, I found the ends (wing of moth, I am so good at weaving in ends, it took forever to find them) and I pulled the whole thing out.  (Almost.  I am struggling with a bit around the pockets, but I’ll get there.)

I’m going to reknit it (before Rhinebeck) into my another edition of my most worn sweater ever. In 2008 I knit the Must Have Cardigan, and do you know, I have worn that thing just about every day of every autumn, winter and spring since then. It’s tossed on the back of my office chair most days, and it’s been on a fair few camping trips. It is a tribute to the yarn (Northampton) that this sweater was completely inexpensive to knit and only just now, eleven years later does it look a little shabby.  I figure this yarn and that pattern are a match made in heaven and I seem to remember that it knit up really quickly and…. Rhinebeck is in seventeen days and I think it’s all going to be fine.  I am at that exactly perfect, spectacular moment where hope, time and possibility have all come together, and I believe.  Two sweaters for Rhinebeck.  It’s going to work.

I think I better go start the second one.

58 thoughts on “Seventeen Days

  1. Hope springs eternal. Knitters aren’t the only people who tell themselves things they know are lies, but we may do that more often than most! You have more than the ability to make two beautiful sweaters in 17 days, and no doubt will do just that. I’ll stay tuned.

  2. This is not a lingering Bike Rally effect. This is the annual Rhinebeck Delusion. You always think you’ve got loads of time to finish your Rhinebeck sweater, at least until the morning the festival opens. That’s when you’re sewing on the sleeves or buttons, blocking the sweater and using your hair dryer to dry it, and finally discovering the glaring mistake you made. Like knitting the wrong size. Maybe you should use a spreadsheet next year.

    P.S.: I had to click the truck to post. Is this an omen about how much yarn you’ll be buying at Rhinebeck?

  3. As long as you’ve been knitting, I can hardly believe that this is the first time you’ve unknit a sweater. I have several “second edition” sweaters that I just LOVE the re-creations. Hope your plan for 2 sweaters works out in the next 17 days. However, don’t make yourself crazy. Enjoy the process. The retired PT in me hopes that you’ll be good to your hands.

    • I’m the same – as I’m heading towards the finish line first time around, I think it will infuriate me to do a reknit – but I actually enjoy the process of making it better.

  4. It seems like ages since we’ve had the Rhinebeck Sweater Race, and now it’s two sweaters! I’ve seen you win the race most years, so I feel like you’ll win this time, too (probably).

  5. If you can do that then I can get my UFO done in time that I’m avoiding launching back into after ignoring it for a year. Cool, thank you.

    Yours is going to be the best sweater ever. Can’t wait!

  6. I am now inspired to do the same: unknit an entire sweater in a yarn I love but, alas, that shit did NOT block out and it’s just too damn small…. xoxo

    • Good for you. It’s a bit unsettling the first time, especially beginning. Just keep going, you’ll love what you do with the “second edition”

      • Thanks! I’ve never taken out a completed sweater (I’ve taken out nearly completed sweaters)…. first time for everything, eh?
        Whenever I redo something, I’m always, always, always glad I did. Thanks for the cheerleading, Anne!! 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh! Searched the Must Have Cardigan on Ravelry and came to the crazy conclusion that it is the exact sweater I made my daughter about 10+ years ago. Now I need to go figure out where the booklet is buried!

  8. I’m making 7 Christmas sweaters. SEVEN. I’m freaking myself out. I always start knitting for Christmas August 1, and when my boys were little, that was plenty of time. But my boys are 6’2, 6’6 and 6’…and 2 of them are 2x.. The other sweaters are for my daughter and my 3 granddaughters.
    So while freaking out a bit, I have my daughter’s sweater done, 2 of the granddaughter’s done, the body and 1 sleeve for the smaller of the boys done and am on the yoke of the last girl sweaters. Hopefully I’ll have that done tonight and it’ll just be 2 men’s 2x sweaters left.
    Oh… And then my mom asked for a sweater… I bought the yarn, my friend is knitting that one.
    I feel your deadline pain…

  9. Why did we ever learn to be so good at concealing ends? And to pride ourselves on it? If we were perfect it might make sense, but apparently some part of our brain said “Well, I may be flawed, but at least I can make fixing it rough on myself.”

    • Same here. I’m currently looking at more than a couple sweaters I’d like to recycle but not sure if the search and rescue effort is better than the cost of new yarn. Selecting and buying new yarn is so much more fun than trying to find and pick out all those hidden, woven ends.

  10. Sure you can make two sweaters in 17 days! You’re Stephanie “Freakin’” Pearl-McPhee! You don’t need sleep (she said sarcastically). If anyone can do it, it’s you!

  11. I loved that little aran cardigan too. I seem to remember that Jared Flood made a version that looked pretty cool. But, do keep in mind that it’s often so warm on Rhinebeck weekend that the best thing to wear is anything NOT wool (although there’s always the mornings and the nights).

  12. Hahahahahaha I knew immediately where this was going! I believe in you, Stephanie. If anyone can knit their sweater for Rhinebeck in 17 days, it will definitely be you. You grit this,girl.

  13. My brandy-new granddaughter’s name is Remi. At least part of her name is, though we’ll call her that, lol. So I will be figuring out how to downsize “Remi” dramtically, lol.

  14. What’s really shocking is that I actually stopped and did the quick math that somehow 2008 was ELEVEN years ago! My knitters math says it was really just a few years ago

  15. I met you wearing that Little Wave at Rhinebeck, and indeed I thought it was too big, especially the sleeves. This made me feel good, and helped me excuse a lot of my errors, most of them also making “too big sweaters”
    If I see you at Knit City, I will identify myself as the rude one!
    I will not be wearing my Oban Sweater, because I have given up on trying to get it done…so close…also because I’m really trying not to make those sleeves too long…

  16. Wait, but what about “I love how it turned out – it’s a bit big, but I wanted a workhorse of a sweater, a cozy grampa kind of thing, and it suits perfectly”?

    • Suits what you were trying to do, but then…turns out that you just don’t reach for it to put it on. Funny how that works out, no??

  17. I’m also contemplating a second Rhinebeck sweater, but unlike you, I’m unlikely to actually finish it (though it could be a good project for traveling to the festival). I have seen you knit things in less time, so I have full confidence in you!

  18. 2008 doesn’t seem that long ago, but when I looked at your pictures, you’re in a different version of glasses and you (and me too!) have a bit more grey in our hair now. Cheers to Rheinbeck sweaters, I hope your needles fly!

  19. Can I make an impassioned (and probably completely pointless) plea for a) sanity and b) solid, real satisfaction you can wear, even if it is only partial, and SUGGEST that you finish Remi before splitting your time in starting the second one…just, you know, in case??!? It’s not like starting the second one simultaneously is going to somehow double your available knitting time…(yeah, I know, Party Pooper, bah….)

    (this is not to say we’re not looking forward to the recreated Blackwater Abbey–that yarn looks delicious, and there IS a certain unique satisfaction in wearing something you’ve magically reconstituted out of something that just didn’t quite work…)

    • (I suppose if she’d actually heeded this suggestion the rest of you would have been all, “what have you done with the REAL Stephanie?!?”)…sigh… =) You’d be right: it would make for WAY less suspenseful (read: entertaining) reading!!

  20. Same song, different day! At least the first sweater will make you easier to spot in the crowd.

    Wishing you success…

  21. The world goes so fast – Thought I’d be clicking a Ravelry link to the Must Have Cardigan, but no . . . I have that book, somewhere, from when I knit the Urban Aran sweater. Maybe someday I Must Have it too – good luck!

    • P.S. This also makes me think, “I’m not going to Rhinebeck this year, but I probably have time to knit a Rhinebeck sweater by then!” (Knowing my last Rhinebeck sweater was not completed until the following March.)

  22. Go Steph! No matter what happens you’ll provide joy and entertainment for all of us, which we appreciate greatly.
    I made my recent knitting deadline: book character dress up day at my daughter’s school. She’s even wearing the sweater regularly as part of her normal wardrobe. Proud mummy here!

  23. I love that you are doing this! I have a silk/merino sweater that is way too big and I haven’t worn it in years. I’ve been seriously considering doing this very same thing… You’re giving me encouragement <3

  24. I knit the Must Have for my first Rhinebeck in 2015. I loved knitting it and might join you on a second one. But not quite yet. 5 sweaters on the needles – time to finish one. Good luck with the plan. Sounds doable to me.

  25. We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
    There’s a choice we’re making
    We’re saving our own lives
    It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

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