The Numbers Don’t Lie

On the weekend, I was feeling pretty good about the blanket situation. I’d completed the centre, picked up the stitches all the way around it, worked the first garter border, the ring lace, the second garter border, the first big border, the third garter border and was just a few rounds away from finishing the second big border. That just left the final garter border and that’s just eight rounds, and I’d be staring the edging.  Sure, the edging takes a while to knit, a million years or so, but it was seeming all so possible.  So possible in fact that I worked on some other stuff. I worked on a little onesie I’m knitting, and I even contemplated starting something else – a little merino shirt for the baby to wear in the early days.  I went on a dive into the stash and didn’t come up with just the yarn I wanted but I did find some hand combed merino top (a gift from MamaCate more than a decade ago, combed with her own two little hands) and It seemed like just the right thing. I didn’t have the yarn I wanted, but I could make the yarn I wanted, and I gave the blanket a little glance, told it to essentially knit itself for a bit, and pulled out my wheel.

It’s been a while since I sat at it, and it was such a pleasure that the next thing I knew I’d spun all my singles, and plied, and voila –

By yesterday afternoon I had the sweetest little skein of two-ply merino, about 200m of a light fingering weight, just the right thing for the idea I had. I thought about getting out the needles right then, but the blanket was lurking, and I thought to myself that since I only had about ten rounds to go before the edging, I should just put in few rounds.

Now, the blanket has, at this point- about 900 stitches per round, and that increases by 8 every other round. Sitting down to do “a few rounds” isn’t a small chunk of time. It’s lace, too, so the idea of getting this bit done and moving on to the edging/casting off phase is pretty motivating. Of course, I have no real idea when the baby will come, but I do know that I should get a move on, and I did.  Last night as I was hanging out with the family, chatting after Sam’s birthday dinner (she turned 26 yesterday!) finishing the last lace round, (JUST NINE ROUNDS LEFT) I spread the work out on my knee for a minute, and had a thought. The thought was not good. The thought was that the border I was looking a wasn’t tall enough.

I turned to Sam and asked her what she thought.  Could I stop? Did I need another repeat?  Sam looked at it and said that she thought another repeat wouldn’t be a terrible idea, but that if I wanted to be done with it, she thought I could stop if I wanted to.

Wanted to be done with it? Yes. That is what I wanted, so I celebrated, called it done, and went to bed, happy to be waking up today in a world where there are just NINE ROUNDS LEFT.

This morning, well rested but with a proper sense of panic around the blanket, anxious to finish those NINE ROUNDS, I pulled the behemoth onto my lap and started to work.  As I started, I thought about what Sam had said.  “If you wanted to be done with it” and then I wondered about having asked her at all.  Are those the actions of a confident knitter? Does a someone who’s sure they’re right ask for help getting out of knitting a bit more? I drank my coffee, and thought about revisiting my blanket math.  I’ve got a sketch with measurements and a plan in a drawer in my office, a sheet of paper with the measurements from Elliot’s blanket on it, and equivalent calculations for this one – because I have this crazy idea that they should be about the same size. I didn’t go get the paper, because I know what it says on it, and I know what it’s going to tell me. I know that math. It’s my math – and although my mathematics skills are total crap, my memory is just fine. I looked at my measuring tape, and I thought about measuring, knowing full well that if I did, it wouldn’t be nine more rounds.  It would be TWENTY FIVE MORE ROUNDS, and well – have a look at Meg.

Exactly.  You see the situation.  So, here I sit, measuring tape in one hand, the truth in the other and I’m trying to bring myself to accept the whole thing.  I do not think, if I decide to go the long way, that I will outrun this baby.  I do think that I might be happier with it in the end though, and this child will have the blanket a lot longer than it’s going to take to knit those rounds, and while do I want to be “done with it” I also want it to be perfect.

Maybe I’ll just look at that little skein of merino for a bit.

68 thoughts on “The Numbers Don’t Lie

  1. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, however, from the look of Meg, I don’t think you have a lot of wiggle-room, in the time-department. My suggestion is to get back to the blanket…… and quickly……and have a lovely week.

  2. A little skein of merino is a fine thing to contemplate as you complete the perfect blanket.

    Because, while you want to be done with it, it is going to be in the family for a good bit of time…and you don’t want it eating away at you that you couldn’t finish the project RIGHT, rather than quick.

    Hugs and More Coffee, Leslie F

  3. There are two kinds of knitters: those who have been exactly where you are now, and those who have yet to find themselves in that situation. You know without anyone telling you what you will eventually do, so we will only say “sit down with a nice cup of tea and the sooner the better.” Good luck! Been there and done that– as have many of your loving followers.

  4. Denial really is a powerful defense mechanism. Twenty -five more rounds is too much to contemplate. By the time the kid realizes their blanket is smaller than Elliot’s they’ll be old enough for you to buy them a beer and apologize.

  5. All right, you know what to do. New person will love the merino AND the completed blanket. So will the family and the Blog. Knit on.

  6. I do understand the wanting to be even. My 3 kids quilts are all the same size, and their blankets are all shawls, by the same designer, in the same yarn. Of course, my 6 month old doesn’t have her blanket yet either…

    Good luck!

  7. Keep knitting, you will be content in the end. Imagine it’s a race with the wee one. You can let her know later that she started as a winner! haha

  8. I know we haven’t seen the blanket in all its glory, but it will be stunning! Maybe the baby will wait for a bit longer – in that case, knit fast! (Meg looks super beautiful, if I may say that. Some people just look pregnant, but she is really glowing!)
    Also – just a little aside – I’m in awe about your spinning skills. For someone who never really took to the wheel and who takes AGES (I am not exaggerating) to spin anything because of fine singles, this is just wonderful.

    Good luck!

  9. Could it be the stripes are making her look like she’s about to have that baby any second? Looks like the beginning of an epic Knitting vs Baby Race. Good luck!

  10. I guess you have to decide which is more important to you: that the baby has her blanket on arrival (my take: she won’t know one way or the other, for a while at least), or that she has a blanket as big as her brother’s (hard to imagine someone starting a sibling rivalry with someone as sweet as Elliot, but these things have been known to happen).

    Only you can decide. But whatever you decide, it will be ok. This child is arriving into a web of love, and the size and/or timing of her blanket is not going to adversely affect her future. She will live and thrive with whatever you give her; the question is what you can live with.

  11. If you’d use that measure tape on Meg, you’d realize that you don’t have much time to get those 24 rounds done. Bind that sucker off & let her have that kid!

  12. First you thought the border would be too tall, and now you think it is not tall enough –yet you’re tired of knitting it! (Munches more popcorn.)

    More seriously, Meg looks as if she has another week to go. Knit faster. (Belated happy b-day, Sam!)

  13. You and your perfect. “Truth in one hand, measuring tape in the other” is a very good line, though. Take a full breath while you bask a little in that. I’ll go see how Presbytera’s coming with that popcorn.

  14. I think it’s a case like a new knitter wondering if they should rip out an error. I always tell them, if it will bug you every time you see it, then rip it out. If it won’t bug you, then let it go.
    My guess is that this will bug you every time you see that blanket. So knit on, Harlot! Remember those old days when the baby wouldn’t come until you were done with the knitting (even though the poor mum was begging for relief)?
    Good luck with the knitting – I know it’s a lot of stitches but you knit really fast. Let’s just hope we don’t add any yarn shortage drama to the mix, now that you’re making it longer.

  15. I say knit the merino, wrap the baby in that, the onesie, the booties, the hat… and whatever other wooly love is awaiting. Baby won’t mind getting her blanket at three months.

  16. Your blanket and the baby will both be perfect–whatever you decide and whichever is finished first. I would say, “Do what will make you happy looking back on it.”

    I also LOVE Meg’s maternity dress–The one time in a woman’s life when she love that stripes make her look wider. In the same vein, my favorite bathing suit ever was my maternity suit :-). Sending prayers and positive thoughts for a healthy, happy baby and delivery. xoxoxoxoxo

  17. You know in your knitter’s/grandmother’s heart that you will be happier, much happier, for a long time, if you do it ‘the right way’!

  18. Yes. I remember knitting the blanket for our older granddaughter. Did I really need to use another skein? A seasoned knitter told me the blanket was for my granddaughter and that the blanket would be used for years and then for more years by the granddaughter’s babies. So, another skein and more knitting. I really knew the answer before I asked as I suspect you did. You know it will be worth it.

  19. And I’m still struggling with my City of Fountains, no time over the weekend as both I and a son are looking for different places to live, rent or buy? What a dilemma. The scarf is made in two pieces and joined together with the kitchener stitch. I bought an extra kit so I would have plenty of yarn, and have started both ends, have successfully completed the checkerboard portion for both sections. I’m now facing the second lace section, which is harder, am trying to make a sample swatch with scrap yarn to get it right before wearing out the actual yarn.

  20. I looked at Meg. I’m sure I know what you will do to finish the blanket, but judging by Meg’s girth, I think the baby is going to win the race to the finish line. I can’t wait to see the finished projects–both baby and blanket. Both will be beautiful.

  21. I know you well enough from reading your blog all these years to know that you won’t be satisfied with anything that half-assed (half-arsed?), so give that lovely handspun skein a squeeze every now and then and forge ahead on the blanket.

  22. While I have never attempted to knit anything near as complicated & lovely as these blankets, I do quilt and let me tell you I have several. Several. Quilts all doing time out in the cupboard because while I thought I was done, they did not agree.

    I want them done but don’t just yet want to do the work involved in getting them there. I have been working through the pile & I have to say they know better than me.

    Sometimes done is good enough but sometimes we have to be perfect.

    Good luck to you all xx


  23. So at 25 rounds, you’ve got the equivalent number of stitches as a pair of socks, give or take. You’ve knocked out a pair of socks in a week before. So as long as Meg doesn’t decide to introduce you to your granddaughter tomorrow, I think you’ve got this. And Presbytera is right, catering in won’t hurt.

  24. Know the scenario well. What looks okay at night due to a mix of fatigue and wishful thinking doesn’t survive the cold light of morning. This is an heirloom. It will outlive you and needs to reflect your high standards. Make it the way it needs to be and don’t impose a schedule on it.

  25. I think you pick back to the repeat (if necessary) and then knit the little merino shirt so the baby has something cosy from you immediately, and then you get to work on the blanket and focus as much as you can (alongside the other grandma responsibilities you have coming up!)

  26. I vote that you finish your nine rounds, then whip up a quick little something from your lovely merino as a reward before actually measuring the blanket and checking the math. (Who knows, maybe 9 more rounds is the right number for the size you want anyway.)

    Let’s face it, if you have to do 25 more rounds before the edging, the blanket’s going to be late no mater how faithful you are to it, so a quick little something to keep your knitting motivation going is a good idea.

  27. Just think…after you knit those nine rounds that will only leaves 16 more rounds (not 25). That won’t be so bad 🙂

  28. Happy Birthday, Sam!

    You look beautiful, just radiant, Meg!

    And to Stephanie, a question: would you be happy with it this size if you were to make a second, more toddler-durable one afterwards in a bigger size?

    The last two days I was facing the same thing and did add the extra repeat and felt good about it, but my afghan is for adult friends who will only be getting the one thing. Man, it felt good to finally finally cast off yesterday.

  29. Are you starting a trend by knitting a smaller blanket for each subsequent baby? Baby #4 would maybe get handkerchief sized! Sounds like a plan to me!! LOL Do what you think is right and NO MORE blog or instagram posts until its done! Then show it to us with pride. At this point knitting is more important than typing!

  30. This member of the Blog disagrees with the “no more blogging until the blanket is done”! If you need to check in with us to replenish your blanket motivation, go right ahead.

    We love you, Elliot loves you, the new baby will love you, And the blanket will be wonderful. And the new baby does already have some wooly love from you to be wrapped in at birth.

  31. While for many things I believe that “close enough is good enough”…will you be happy without working those extra rounds? If yes, don’t knit them…if no…knit the extra rounds! Your grandchild will be happy either way to get such a lovely gift and I am willing to bet…not cold because their special blanket wasn’t ready and waiting exactly when they were born!

  32. AH, knitting math. Don’t you wish you could show it to some math teacher who is teaching the “new Math” and just blow their mind??

    You know what you want the blanket to be. Can you live the rest of time with the child, knowing you didn’t do the blanket you wanted?? Baby won’t really care and it will always be Grammie’s blanket but you will know!

  33. 25 more rounds it is. Of course you knew that before you asked Sam and before you typed the blog. Good luck with the blanket, happy birthday and congratulations to your beautiful daughters respectively!

  34. She’s still carrying pretty high, I think you have time if you focus. Having said that, if your merino shirt is designed for newborn size then I’d do that first given the size they grow.

    Then again, both mine had to be evicted for loitering at T+12…

  35. Why do you always do this?
    It’s a re-run of the Blanket Drama of yesteryear.

    I’m sure the blanket will be finished before the lovely baby comes.

  36. I love how you just put the truth out there. Most of us love to hide it from ourselves and blame others later. But you know whats really going on and you say it for all of us to see and even comment on right here on the blog! I love you for that!

  37. Both will be treasured family heirlooms (or they should be). My guess is that both will be complete before baby goes off to college, so proceed as you will.

    Your loved ones are likely not to notice your self imposed deadline passing. Surely they will be lost in the cloud of new family member and be grateful for all your beautiful work.

  38. Tick …. tock …. I’m thinking blog silence is a good thing. Maybe not for Meg but everyday that passes gives Steph time for a few more of those long rounds. I think she’s going to get it finished and the merino as well.

    More popcorn!

  39. Good for you! Such a wise decision to continue to the end- and to satisfaction that will last at least as long as long as the blanket lasts. There so many things in life that are beyond our control and we have to “make do”…This your playing field; do it!

  40. As usual you are correct about your knitting. Even if the baby comes before the blanket is done, the child will snuggle in the blanket for many years to come … which erases a few days.

    Best wishes for a rapid finish and a healthy grand baby!

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