I noticed it about two weeks ago. There is a line on the baby blanket. Not really a line, more of a point of change. The first chunk, maybe 15 or 20 centimetres, doesn't look the same as what I've knit since then. I've been telling myself (every time I stop knitting and see that line) that this was the result of the light steam blocking I did when I finished the first ball of yarn. I've been telling myself this, because I know it's not a mistake. I wondered if I'd skipped a row, somehow screwed up the lace, but no. All rows and yarn-overs are present and accounted for, and there isn't an extra row either. There is simply a change in the knitting at the exact point that I changed to a new ball of yarn. The two balls I've knit since then are the same, that first one is the outsider. I went back and checked all my ball bands. Same colour, same lot number - so I know it's not the yarn - it's like it's a tiny bit thicker - or fluffier. I told myself that this was subtle, that this was something that nobody would notice in it after it was blocked and a blanket, but on Sunday when I was teaching, I held up the blanket, and someone said something. They could see it.
That night I spread it out and looked at that line of demarcation. Don't worry, I told myself. You steam-blocked that first bit, you haven't blocked the work since then, that's all it is. Chill out, and just keep knitting. Your perfectionist tendencies aren't helping you. I chilled out, I kept knitting. Today I decided that I couldn't ignore it anymore. I'm 12 rows from done, I've charted the border, the baby is due in a few weeks... and there's that line. I decided to set my mind at ease, and spread the work out on a towel, and hit it with a little steam. To my way of thinking, since that's what I'd decided was the difference, this should even it out, and then I could stop thinking about it and worrying about it.
It's still there. Exactly at the point where I changed to a new ball of yarn, there it is. A line. It's subtle - but it's there, and I'm pretty sure it's always going to be there.
The question now, is can I live with it? The greater question is if I can't live with it, do I really have time to rip back, do something about the line and move forward quickly enough to finish the blanket before the baby? (The other question is "What sort of a knitter with 38 years experience at this doesn't trust her instincts and keeps knitting even though there's clearly something not right" but we can discuss that particular failing of mine another day. I think it's related to being basically optimistic. It's a curse.) I feel a little angry at myself. (I knew that yarn was different.) Mostly I just feel anxious. Rip back? Don't? Live with it? Don't?
Every time I think about ravelling this huge body of work, I feel a little sick, but every time I think about looking at that blanket for years to come, I feel sick too. The idea was to make an heirloom. Something beautiful, and personal and something that was a good footing to begin a family on - something that few generations of babies might get wrapped in. Suddenly I imagine myself 90 years old, holding a grand-niece or nephew, and JUST SEEING THAT LINE.
I know what I have to do. I just feel terrible about it.