If you ever doubted

When I headed out the door for Rhinebeck last Thursday, things were tense with the sweaters though I felt pretty hopeful. I was pretty sure I could finish, but I’d also made a commitment to myself to remember that knitting is fun, and Rhinebeck is fun and not to let anything get too crazy in the knitting department.  Turns out that there’s a wide range of what’s considered crazy though, and while I think that trying on an unfinished sweater in an airport lounge bathroom is pretty normal, I could tell that this wasn’t the prevailing attitude in that facility, though as a rule I’m pretty poorly understood as an artist, so that didn’t bother me much.

Neither did asking Kellee to put all our luggage in the backseat so we could block the Must Have Cardi as we drove…

as a matter of fact, I think it was her idea.

I rolled into Rhinebeck eve with two finished (but wet) sweaters, and they both dried by morning and do you know? That made two sweaters in eighteen days not as nearly dramatic and insane as I thought it would be. I did have to set aside other knitting and display a kind of knitterly monogamy that’s not really me, but still – look at this.

Sweater: The Must Have Cardigan.  I love this pattern, and knit it as written, with only two changes. I made it a little longer (because despite being rather on the short side, I still don’t really like a cropped sweater) and even though the pattern says to just hold the stitches for the back neck button band, I tried that last time and it was too stretchy.  This time I cast off and then picked the stitches back up again, and I am much happier with that.  Yarn: the very sadly discontinued Blackwater Abbey.

Sweater: Remi – oh do I love this, and I’m not alone. Two of my Rhinebeck friends said that this was their favourite, of all of the Rhinebeck sweaters I’ve ever knit, and I don’t know if I’d go that far, but mercy do I think it looks sharp. Yarn: Wingenhooven DK in Revival.

Good looking sweater, am I right? I’ve never thought that circular yoke sweaters suit me (in fact I’ve always thought that since I have shoulders like a quarterback, it isn’t really a good look for me) but I think maybe I was wrong.  It looks just fine, and I am going to wear the heck out of it.

I won’t be wearing the heck out of it over the next several days, because 36 hours after landing from Rhinebeck I got on a plane with Joe and headed out to visit his parents in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, and the weather here-  while well suited to my nature, is not exactly the sort of place you’d wear a wool/silk/yak sweater.  In fact, it might be dangerous.

More tomorrow – though my office couldn’t be nicer today, I’m going for a walk. Extreme sweater knitter, out.

Technically not sweaters

Ok, I can admit it. There is a tiny, little, itsy-bitsy chance that I overshot a little on this plan.  I can say that because I’m supposed to get on a plane for Rhinebeck in the morning, and I am not finished two sweaters. I’m actually not even finished one sweater, though it’s a near thing.  Here’s where I am.

That’s the Must Have.  It is very nearly a sweater, if by almost a sweater you understand that I can’t wear it like a sweater although it very nearly almost has all the parts that you need for something to be a sweater, if they were joined together, which they are not. I am super close to finishing the button band (I cannot be the only person who perpetually underestimates the amount of knitting in a button band) in fact – it’s half cast off. (Almost.) I’ve got to sew the whole thing together, maybe tonight, and then sew on the buttons and then it just needs a quick blocking. I’ve blocked the pieces already, so it’s really just a quick bit of tidy up after it’s sewn together.  I think steaming will work, just this once.

This is a different problem – Remi is still mostly armless. The sleeves are only 3/4 length, and I have knit about 10cm of one, and I do have to fly tomorrow and then there’s tomorrow evening and then, well, yes, it needs to be completely blocked but doesn’t it seem doable? Doesn’t it? (She says, in a slightly shrill manner, with a hint of hysteria sneaking in around the edges.)

I’d actually think that this was all completely doable if I’d done anything else today, like pack, or wash the clothes I’d like to pack, or gone to the store to get the things I need to pack, or if I’d cleaned up the kitchen, or if roughly 3394 emails weren’t in my inbox waiting for me to finish answering them, or if I didn’t have a meeting this evening that I don’t think I can sew up sweaters at. (I think I can knit sleeves at it, so maybe all isn’t lost.)

Essentially I’ve worked out that I’m absolutely going to make it as long as someone else comes over here and does the laundry, goes to my meeting for me, and I hire someone else to pack while I sew together a sweater.

The important thing is not to panic early.

Six Days

Well, six days to go, and the state of the sweaters is… well, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great. I try not to panic because I can’t see how it helps speed anyone up,  but the urge to lose my scene entirely is starting to be a little bit tempting. I’ve got the fronts and the back of the Must Have done –

and just about the body of Remi. I’ve got a few centimetres of ribbing left on the bottom, though it seems a hair short to me. I’m quite short myself so this could work out just fine, tonight before I go any farther on the ribbing I’m going to slide all those stitches onto a longer needle and try it on. It measures what the pattern suggested, but perhaps the designer and I have different ideas about what length a sweater should be.  Personally, I like them not to show my belly button if I get something off a high shelf, and she may be unfettered by such desires, or perhaps has a far more elegant navel.

Tomorrow, if all goes well this evening, I shall find myself squarely on Sleeve Island, with four sleeves to knit in six days, which frankly seems like a bit much, but would be entirely doable if I hadn’t made a critical error in my planning, which is that I forgot that this weekend is Thanksgiving.  That sounds bad, I know, like maybe I’ve just remembered a major holiday with serious time commitments attached to it, and it’s not like that at all. I’ve been cleaning, organizing and shopping for days – It’s more like when I started this a few weeks ago I forgot to factor in time spent chopping mountains of onions and celery and souring the city for chestnuts and what the impact of that is on my knitting time.

I’m not going to panic though – I’m just going to knit. A sleeve a day will get this done, with a day left for buttonbands, sewing and making up. I’ll worry about packing… well. Later.

Sleep is overrated anyway.

Ten (oh no how is it ten)

I write to you now from the airport in Saint John, New Brunswick, as I try to make my way home from Knit East, which was very lovely, as always.  Great students, the venue is so pretty – the sea and Passamaquoddy Bay beckoning to me through the windows. I had a very good time, indeed,  but I really did miss everyone at Knit City more than I can say. I really wanted to be cloned this past weekend – three versions of me would have been wonderful, one for Knit East, one for Knit City, one for a wedding that I was very sorry to miss.  Wait, actually – four.  Four Stephanies would have been the magic number, because one could have just knit and maybe my Rhinebeck dreams would be all coming true.

I have ten days to go, and here’s where I’m at. I’ve finished the back of the Must Have Cardi – and I’m about halfway done the left front.  (Sweater parts pictured here elegantly spread out on an airport cafe table.)  I don’t know how hopeful I feel about this right now. The back took a lot longer than I was hoping, but it is the biggest part so I am trying not to freak out. (I am sort of freaking out.)

Remi doesn’t feel like it’s faring much better – but I am making some progress.  Lucy Neatby forgot her knitting when we were together the other evening and I gave her Remi, so for 30 minutes she made progress for me while I worked on the Must Have. It was glorious.

Sweater in-progress here elegantly pictured on my lap in the aforementioned airport cafe. (Someone will ask, so that fabulous project bag is from Wool Needle Thread, and yes, I do match my project bag to my project because I AM NOT AN ANIMAL. Matching the shirt was an accident.)

Just as I arrived at the airport today my original flight home cancelled and my travel plans are now sort of unclear, which is something that would usually make me a crazy person, but today I really don’t care.  This zen attitude about a cancelled flight is likely brought to you by the pressing need to work on these sweaters, and the fact that this morning as I was packing, I put the extra yarn and needles for them in my checked bag, sure I wouldn’t need that much for today – and then in a moment of absolutely unusual clarity,  I took it out of my checked bag and put it in my carry on “just in case.”

For once, I am in a travel crisis and I am not underyarned on a deadline.  I feel like my whole life has just been practice for this moment.

Sixteen Days

While I cannot state unequivocally at this moment that my two-sweaters-for-Rhinebeck plan is a good one, I can tell you that today is a good day to continue entertaining the concept of this particularly bit of knitterly daring-do. I pressed on and finished the yoke of Remi, and now I’m into the plain bit for the body – It feels all but done, truthfully.  I’ve got it rammed into my bag as my “on the go” knitting now that it doesn’t need anything from me but time. (Sweater is seen here on two needles because I was far enough along for a quick try on. I did knit a swatch, and washed it, but I definitely don’t have time to be jerked around by the gauge god’s version of a joke. Good news, it’s fine.) I even ordered back-up yarn from IndigoDragonfly, and it’s arrived.  For your sake, rather than mine, I regret to announce that this one looks drama free. (Sorry Presbytera.)

I knit a swatch for the Must Have Cardi too (that link works, by the way – I’m knitting it from the booklet that was in my actual knitting library – sorry for Rav link yesterday that didn’t direct you to the pattern. Use that one. It’s free!) and washed that, and got the results I was hoping for on the second try, and noticed that knitting with the previously knit yarn wasn’t much fun.

I’m in the process of winding it into hanks and steaming it to make it nice again. (I just do it over a teakettle, if you’re wondering.) Worked a treat, and now I’m about 8cm up the back. It’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped but I’m ignoring that, at least for today. we’ll see if the problem persists.

Finally – I’m happy to report finished Self-imposed-sock-of-the-month-club socks, though rather less pleased to say that they’re the ones from August. I finished them a few weeks ago- though I can’t lie, it wasn’t in August for sure, I was about a week late, which considering the August I had isn’t really that bad at all.

I’d know what yarn I wanted to use for the August socks ever since Kim gave it to me. The yarn is Platypus Sock, and the colourway’s the one she made for the Rally last year, named Bonnie for my Mum, and meant to invoke her love of rocks.

It seemed appropriate to use it for the month I’d miss her most – especially since that’s also the month of the Rally.  It felt lovely. Sticking with the rock theme, I chose a pattern called Pebbles – not just for the name, but was a great match for a variegated yarn. I made them for myself, rather than the long range planning box, because I really love the yarn, the idea, and Kim.

To be fair, I messed with the pattern quite a bit – the original has a short row heel, but I prefer a flap construction, so I subbed that in, and used eye-of-partridge to keep the pebbly look going.  (Eye-of-partridge is a really just a regular slip stitch heel, but with the slips alternating on right side rows instead of stacked.)

I changed the toe a bit too, but that doesn’t matter much and is really just because I’m a little weird about sock toes. I care (inexplicably) about how they look both on and off feet, and do the rate of decrease a little differently to amuse myself.

Now, I know it’s October 1st, and that means that I should have a whole other pair of September socks to show you, but – well, I’m obviously  coming in late on that one too.

I have one and half.  Almost. (Pattern: Sun and Moon, Yarn’s the Club Yarn from Gauge Dyeworks earlier this year – the club’s over now, but I really dug it.)  I’m hoping to finish these soon, but truthfully, I’m a little into my sweaters.