October 5, 2004
It's possible that you may have gathered from this little blog that I can get a little obsessive about stuff. I realized last night, as I cast on the back to sweater that is trying to kill me...by the way, see that? I started the sweater, I cast it on, I invented the stupid pattern, I made the outrageous deadline, I am out of my mind...but the minute that things aren't going my way, it's not that I am doing this to myself...oh no. The sweater is trying to kill me. Not my fault. Externalization is a very important part of my process. Sorry, I digress. Last night, as I cast on the back of the sweater (that is trying to kill me) for the seventh time, I had a thought.
I may be stupid. I cast on the 118 stitches for the back. I knit across the row cackling to myself and generally feeling good about my cleverness. (An aside again? Never feel good about your cleverness. Self esteem is an offence to the knitting goddess. She will slap you down until your yarn is frayed and you are a grovelling shadow of your former self. I have learned this and I am humbled.) What cleverness? This:
This is one of the ways in which I torture myself. I have a smallish fixation on ribbing. I like it to be integrated into the pattern. I like sweaters to have wholeness. A flow...the cables and such must seamlessly issue from the ribbing. This means that the ribbing is seldom Knit 2, Purl 2. That would be easy. That would be an offence to my tender knitting sensibilities. That would be a way in which I could just freaking knit a sweater from a book without needing to invent one so that my sweater wouldn't have forsaken, ridiculous ribbing that nobody could ever get right. That would be ribbing that you could just knit instead of having to write it all down on a big piece of paper and doing all this math so that if even one person/phone/cat interrupts you, even just by looking at you for one stinking second the whole thing doesn't go completely in the crapper so you have to start all over. Oh no...I wouldn't want regular ribbing. So I'm knitting across the cast on edge, fixating on getting the bizarre ribbing exactly right and I get to the other side and there are 8 stitches left over.
I rip it back and redo. Same result.
Now, a smarter lesser knitter would have rechecked her math. Another knitter would have gone back and recounted the front of the sweater (which is the template for the back) to see if the instructions that she had written out were accurate. A knitter who could learn from experience would have thought about how she failed grade 10 math several times and that it is likely the counting and math that is wrong. Am I this knitter? No.
I rip back and redo, using the same numbers. (We shall not discuss that I was interrupted during this process several times by people who want things. Like a whisk. I'm sitting at the dining room table with yarn, pencil, paper and needles, intently staring at my knitting with a papable air of concentration. Do I look l like I have a whisk?) Same result. I try again. (Yes. I do. I know. Freud said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I know.) Same result, except for the fact that I am thinking about using foul language. (That's a lie. I used it. Ken was here and reprimanded me for my potty mouth in front of the children. I refused to apologize. The situation demanded a choice expletive and I am not sorry. There is a time and a place for everything and if you can't curse at a sweater that is obviously trying to wreck your trip to Rhinebeck...well. I just don't know when the appropriate time is.)
Please note...by now, I have cast the despicable sweater back on several times. Several. I go get a beer and I sit down and look at the stupid sweater. What is my problem? I decide, very grudgingly to accept the vague possibility that I have not counted the stitches properly. I try again. Count with me...
That's right. Shoot me. I was only counting the knit stitches of the rib on the edges. Completely blocking the purls. I have it right now. The back will proceed. I have been punished for externalizing and using colourful language directed at the sweater. The universe has exacted a full days knitting time as revenge. I will try to learn. I am sorry now.
I gave up completely and took a bath. It made me feel hugely better to take this with me.
Two Random Acts of Kindness, right when I needed them. Anne sent the mitten book, and the lovely Jennifer sent wine glass charms and bath salts. Many thanks ladies! I took a glass of wine into the bath and read about my beloved mittens.
Posted by Stephanie at October 5, 2004 12:40 PM
I feel better.
Counting! The bain of a knitter. Technical terms, technical terms...they don't count as bad words.
Your ribbing is positively artisanal. Have courage, and maybe some screech.
if the bad words weren't enough to make your husband blush instead of merely chastising you then i am sure you were holding back. at least, if i were you in that situation i would have been :) however, all the effort was worth it - the ribbing is now perfected and you may continue a maniacal pace to rhineback and the glory that the completed sweater will assure you in the annals of knitting history.
I'm glad you figured out what was wrong with the sweater. I am still convinced to the depths of my being that you are going to rock this frikken sweater. You're going to spank it and make it look perfect in time to get that treat from Claudia. You will have a glorious victory over the Yarn.
Of these things, I have no doubt.
AWWRRIGHT! I was beginning to think the crack duo of guys at the local USPS had absconded with the book. Can I put it in perspective? I met the Wooly Knob guys in person this weekend. Jamie didn't know who I was until I said "Vermont - rural psycho mailman" and he yelled "ANNE!" Uh huh.
Now go kick some knitting butt and get that sweater done for Rhinebeck. (We all know you will prevail over the knitting goddess, being one yourself.)
Oh, you just told the story of my life! Do you also live with a guy who plays the guitar and sings while you're trying to cast on? He can't seem to avoid songs with numbers in the lyrics while I'm counting.
The sweater looks beautiful though, and we have faith in your ability to not sleep for days to get it done.
i have my fingers crossed that you plan to offer up the pattern for this sweater after it makes its inaugural trip to rhinebeck...
Math... that horrid, dreadful, math. Besides, it's not your fault. The beauty of the sweater has blinded you to the stitch count. Externalize!
Counting. Pah. Who came up with that silly counting idea, anyway? And I like math! But counting stitches is clearly some sort of diabolical punishment.
Thank god I'm not the only one who gets fiddly with the ribbing. I knew I wasn't alone.
Change of plans: I'm not going to Rhinebeck. Or at least I'm going to "forget" my Plain Vanilla sweater back home. I'm too embarrassed to bring my kindergarten project when you're bringing a master's thesis creation.
What? No comments on the lovely bath salts with the label.... is that Tired Old Ass?!?
The only thing worse than counting knitting is playing bridge. ;)
And Norma, don't be ridiculous! Of course you should take (and wear!) your sweater to Rhinebeck. Just because The Harlot insists on punishing herself (in public no less) doesn't mean that your sweater is any less wonderful.
I'm waiting for that life lesson- I know it's around the corner here somewhere.
What if it's too warm at Rhinebeck to wear your sweater?
Err, ummm, Go you harlot, you can do it!
Oh, Stephanie! My knitting was acting like that yesterday! Tinking 240 lace stitches, over and over, counting, recounting, rechecking the stupid pattern both on the needles and how I'd written it down. Why couldn't I get this right!?! Why was this so hard??!
I finally chucked it, went out and bought some dark Valrhona chocolate, came home and sat down and immediately conquered the problem. Onward!
Thank you for the laughs and the inspiration. Your sweater is absolutely gorgeous.
I have done the same exact (bad) counting thing before too. SOOO frustrating! I'm glad you finally figured it out. This sweater looks like it's going to be quite pretty. I love the color.
One question - what is that "T2" you have on there? I really like the textury look of it (is textury a word?). Is that like twist two stitches? Thanks!
Stephanie, you do realize that you are doing IT. IT is not necessarily associated with Christmas.
Ellen in WA
Moving to KY soon
Oh my, the fiddly ribbing issue. I too must have ribbing that flows uninterrupted and seamlessly into the cables, then back out into the collar. (Unlike _some_ pattern-writers I could mention! *cough*Starmore*cough*)
Keep on fighting the good fight!
I have an urge to sing stirring anthems about keeping right on to the end of the road .... no, wait, the urge has gone now. Perseverance, it's a bitch ain't it ?
Of course, here in Scotland we call it bloody-mindedness and consider it a national pastime.
Don't patronize us-you are not sorry. You did not learn your lesson. Hell, this wasn't even your fault, right? RIGHT. Case closed. Said sweater may be stupid, but still gorgeous.
Oooooooh, beer made it all better for you and Chocolate helped Alison.
And I thought graph paper would help.
I need to teach my husband enough knitting to count stitches AND appropriate yarnovers. He's a whiz at math.
Press on. Beautiful integration of ribs and cables!!
So Ken has never used foul language while knitting? Is he under the impression that while your girls are talented and beautiful, they don't sneak the occasional "bad" word out of mom's hearing range? Please! Did he offer any helpful suggestions as to what the problem might be? If not, then the most he should have been doing is staying quiet and fetching the beer from the refrigerator! Oh, yes, and helping in the search for the whisk. About my "Farm Thrums": The first one is finished and the 2nd only needs the thumb. But I decided that I hate that style of thumb on the thrum mitten. I think a side gusset might have worked out better. This way it seems too bulky. There is no question that they will be insanely warm!
Home Equity Loans
Home Equity Line of Credit
For a great