October 5, 2004

Externalize.

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:

rsribbing

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...

countrib

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.

roakaj

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.
I feel better.
Stupid sweater.

Posted by Stephanie at October 5, 2004 12:40 PM