March 3, 2010

Done Done Done

(Typing "done" three times made it look like it was spelled wrong. So wrong I had to check.  I hate that.)

On Sunday morning, the last day of the Winter Olympics, I woke up with a tremendous sense of doom.  While I'd already come to grips with the idea that I might not make it, and that there's no particular shame it biting off more than you can chew, I'd also come to understand that I wouldn't like that at all. I like meeting my goals.  It feels good, and I was determined that if I wasn't going to finish that sweater, that there was no chance... none at all, that I wasn't going down fighting.  I got up and surveyed the sweater parts, and tried to figure out a plan of attack.  At 9:00 on Sunday morning, I had most sweater parts, but they were not a sweater.  I had to finish one sleeve, I had to steam them (no time for a proper watery bath),  measure, sew and cut the steeks, sew up the shoulders, set in the sleeves, sew down the facings, sew the hems on the sleeves, sew down the hem on the body, pick up and knit the neckband, and then sew down that same neckband.   Since this was barely possible, first I made a lot of coffee.

10:57am.  Finished the second sleeve.  Did smallish dance of victory, then remembered that I was still screwed.  Drank more coffee, and set about steeking.

10:58am. Looked at the stinking sweater parts and realized that I had neglected to sew in any ends anywhere on a fussy 4 colour sweater.  Turned the bits inside out to see how bad things were.  Decided it would only take 10 minutes. Drank more coffee. 

12:00: Finished weaving in ends. Felt wave of deep regret that after 36 years of knitting experience I am still so completely optimistic delusional about knitting that I thought that weaving in ends would only take 10 minutes when it took an hour. 

12:02: Decided to berate self for timing errors another day since there was no time for it now. 

12:03:  Began steeking process.  Measured sleeve to see how big to cut opening in sweater.

12:04: Measured again. Cutting a big gash in a sweater is a one-way move, and one should be very careful before fetching the scissors and doing something rash.

12:05: Measured other sleeve to see if they were the same for the same reason as at 12:04.

12:06: Marked opening after re-measuring.

12:07: Started again after deciding that maybe I measured wrong even though everything looked totally fine.

12:08: Re-measured.

12:09: Re-steamed the sleeve in case the first steaming wasn't good enough and maybe I didn't have the measurements right.

12:13: Re-measured. Got the same measurement as the other six times.  Wondered if maybe I was starting to get obsessive and weird.

12:14. Asked Joe to measure sleeves- just to be sure.

12:16: Endured marital spat with Joe when he refused (wisely) to get on the "crazy sweater train" and took his advice to maybe cut back on the coffee and get a grip.

12:24: Sat for a while.  Contemplated switch from coffee to beer.

12:26: Decided that both beer and coffee could influence accuracy.

12:27. Re-measured.

12:28: Sewed the steeks.

12:35 Wondered if the sleeve steeks were really the right size.

12:36: Re-measured before cutting. 

12:40: Took a deep breath and cut the sleeve openings. 

Here I always pause and marvel that you can actually do this, and it works.  Need an armhole?  JUST CUT ONE.   Crazyville.

12:45: Sewed up the shoulders.

1:00: Unpicked shoulders after realizing that I hadn't done a very good job because I was rushing.  While I unpicked them I gave myself a really wicked talking to.  Title: This sweater was too much work to be a piece of crap.  There's no point in finishing and still not getting a sweater you like.  Buck up buttercup. Focus.  Sewed shoulders up nicely.

1:10: Ripped up house like a lunatic because I have probably 193856 pins in this place and there is no way that I can't find any of them.  Gave speech to Joe and cat about how people are always touching my stuff and that's why I can't find it and I don't mess with their stuff so why are they always messing with mine and that's what's wrong with this family is that nobody cares about me or my pins I just do laundry and LOOK FOR MY PINS THAT YOU ALL TOUCH.

1:15. Located pins in sewing box where they were all the time.  Apologized to Joe and cat. Commenced sewing in sleeves.  Poured remainder of coffee down sink. 

2:11. Finished sewing in sleeves and started to sew facings over cut edges of steeks.  Made more coffee.

3:11,  Sucess is mine.  Began picking up stitches for the neckband and put on the hockey game. All seems well. I have until about 8:30 to finish.  I should be able to nail a neckband in that amount of time as long as I stay on my game.

3:15 until 6:00.  I'm not sure what I did in here.  I thought I was knitting, but all I can confirm in the end  is that I held my knitting the whole time, but when the hockey game was over and Canada had achieved total world hockey domination (both women's and men's gold, eh?) I had apparently only knit three rounds. 

6:02, Try to set priorities.  I have to leave for the pub at 7. Knit or bathe?

6:05. Bathe.  Poor hygiene never helped anyone.  While I'm in the tub I try to remind myself that I'm probably not going to finish anyway, and that while failing might be inevitable, I can at least control how I smell and look while I fail.

6:30.  Take precious knitting time to find "Canada" shirt to wear to pub.  (Still feel good about this choice.)

7:00 Joe drives me to the pub, and I knit like a demon the whole way, regretting deeply that I've let the whole thing come down to black ribbing in a darkened car.  Poor planning.  If it was white ribbing I might have stood a chance.

7:05.  Search knitting bag for white yarn in case I actually could make the ribbing white.  Fail.

7:25.  Arrive at pub and find some happy knitters celebrating their gold. Denny finished Dale of Norway's "Vancouver" (And Amy is wearing the right gear)

Megan is finished (even though it's a terrible picture, the shawl is beautiful)

Team Canada shirts are everywhere...

and just so that I don't feel alone.. Natalie is still trying to sprint to the finish. 

You will note that Natalie (who did totally finish in time) has had the presence of mind to bring a headlamp to the pub so she can see what she's doing. Brilliant.  When it comes down to the wire like that it's all about the equipment.

I started knitting like a fool at that point, as the Closing ceremonies started.  Natalie finished with the headlamp and Amy and Denny took turns shining it on my work so I could see to cast off, and with only moments to spare -

I finished.  It was really, really close.  Really.  A lot.  If a couple of the speeches had gone a little short, or if I'd chosen to eat dinner instead of apply that time to knitting, there's no way I would have made it.  (I actually blame the overtime in the hockey game, but it's hard to not love everything about that game so I'm letting it go.)  In the end though, I have a sweater.  I love it.  I got gold, and I'm thrilled. Joe and I took the sweater for a walk yesterday, out into the great Canadian outdoors, where it belongs.

Pattern: Whistler, from Dale of Norway.
Modifications: only two.  I took out the placket and zip on the front, because I like a straight up pullover, and I changed the yellow that was in the pattern to bronze. 

Yarn: Heilo.  Also Dale of Norway. 

Needles, sizes 2.5mm, 3mm and 3.5mm.

I love it.  I really do, and I'm also so glad it's finished. Big project. Feels good.


1. If you were a participant listed on the Athletes page, you are eligible to be entered in the draw for a prize, even if you didn't finish.  Trying is the only thing you need to have done.  

2. To enter, send an email to goldATyarnharlotDOTca (changing the AT and DOT to the appropriate symbols, of course.) 

3. You'll get back an auto-respond that lets you know you're entered, and has a link to a cool pdf for knitters who took gold.  (You can thank Franklin for the certificate.)

4. The auto-respond thingie only works when my mail is open here at home, so if you don't get one right away - don't panic and send another one.  Wait a day. Then check your spam filter (the email will come from the same address) before you try again, okay?

5.  I'll keep that up and running until Monday, then draw for a prize.

6. No.  I'm not telling what the prize is.  It's not a car or a million dollars though, so don't get weird on me.

7. I keep forgetting to tell you that I'll be in Detroit at the Public Library on Saturday March 13th at 1:00.  They're having a little yarn marketplace first and everything.  See if you can come, it's going to be fun.

8. I also wanted to answer Elyse from the comments. She asks:

Did any one watch the mens curling - final game Norway - Canada - and see
the lady with the double points and what looked like a childs sweater -
seated right in front of Steven Harper?

See it?  I got so excited that I took a picture of the TV. 

The ladies in red are the Womens Silver medal curling team, the man to the left is Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, and right there in front?  KNITTER! 
It's something on double points, but maybe we'll never know what, or who she is.. does anyone know this Knitter?   Whoever she is, way to represent lady.  Knitters.  We're everywhere.

Posted by Stephanie at March 3, 2010 1:18 PM