Dear Adriana

I am so sick to death of knitting you that I could die. I look at your endless linen stockinette and I think terrible things. I think of a small fire. I think of burying you in a shallow grave. I think of you “accidentally” being snipped over and over again into a million tiny little pieces with a guillotine paper cutter. (I would need to buy this piece of equipment for this terrible mishap to be possible, but I am starting to feel that this would be a prudent purchase.)  I wish I had a dog so I could set you carelessly on the chesterfield, perhaps smeared in bacon fat.

adrianastill 2014-03-19

It isn’t that you aren’t a great knit. I think you are, and although there’s snow forecast over the next little while, I do know that summer is coming, and you’re going to look great and totally be worth it.  The thing is that even though I haven’t technically knit you before (just your tricky masquerading brother – Adrian) that is not how it feels. It feels like you and I are in a relationship with no goals. No future. Just me, you and unending stockinette in linen, and the fact that I’m unravelling your previous incarnation as I go makes it feel even more like you’re a Sisyphean task. I unravel a row, then knit it into a row, then ravel a row, then knit a row.  I’m starting to live for the decreases that happen every so often, because they break up the monotony, and that’s just sad. An SSK is nothing to pin your dreams on.

I want you to know – I’ve started looking at other yarns. Soft yarns. Woolly yarns. Yarns with potential and charm and a colour that isn’t the same as yours. I am starting to feel just fine about the swearwords that have become a natural part of our relationship.  I feel like you deserve them.

I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.



99 thoughts on “Dear Adriana

  1. Put it in a box, seal the box, do not label it, put it in the highest spot in the house that you can access (cupboard shelf or something) and just forget about it for awhile. It needs a cooling-off period. Start on something that will make you happy – the weather certainly isn’t co-operating! Looks and feels like January instead of the latter part of March. Take care, Steph!

  2. Dear Steph — It takes to to make an unsatisfactory relationship — or in this case, three. You couldn’t even break up with Adrian before starting with me, your intended? You STILL haven’t? This is where the phrase “stringing me along” becomes apt. Of course you don’t have enough affection for both of us, but that’s hardly my fault. Suck it up. Start humming that earworm “Go Call Your Girlfriend,” and start ripping. You know I’m worth it. Don’t tempt me to turn on you. — Adrienne

      • Way to say it, Rams! That was my reaction also – “She’s tinking one row at a time to knit a row of the new one?” Yikes! That’s like putting a dog’s nose in its feces when it has an “accident” in the house – useless and unnecessary cruelty… I say get rid of Adrian, the false lover (although not his fault) and knit on Adriana as though she’s the new love, which supposedly, she is. Good Luck, Steph!

  3. Ooooh, poor linen. Although, I have to say, I’ve been stealthily giving away all of my non-wool yarn. I blame Joyce Williams. She told me a few years ago she only knit with wool because she knew (generally) how it would behave.

    Maybe if you unraveled all of the rest of it so Adrian was no longer quite so present?


  4. The Yarn Harlot strikes again. I adore your talks with your knitting, the letter you write, the little discussion you have. You are the best.

    “An SSK is nothing to pin your dreams on…”

    Classic Yarn Harlot.

    My line, though trite, would have been, “it’s not you, clearly, it’s me.” This explains why I practice law instead of being a New York Times best selling author whose books sell out on Amazon!

    • Paralegal here, and thinking maybe…she has a lemon law case? She has attempted to remedy her situation.
      …anyways, she has validated my opinion on linen and why I won’t spend the bucks on it. It feels to stiff, and it’s too expensive of a yarn to be this frustrated or disappointed. She keeps trying to ravel/unravel, then knit, the damn thing is going to be able to knit itself by memory!

      • BTW Steph, see if you can get the current edition of Knit Magazine. It has an a-line skirt pattern, slight amount of pleats(should be easy) and you can put your linen to that since it calls out for linen. Hope that helps.

  5. Put that strand of yarn on the ball winder and toss Adrian to the curb.It’s the juxtaposition that is making you crazy. Also, putting it into a ball may help with the kinkiness omg, there’s a bad pun i there, but I will resist.

  6. I’m sure Adriana would prefer an open relationship to all this “snippy” talk. She seems like a confident knit who realizes that you may play around with other yarns, but you will always come back to her.

  7. I wrote you some encouragement – but then I failed the human verification test. Can a non-human provide encouragement?

  8. Have an affair with a pair of socks. This co-dependent poly relationship that you’re having isn’t healthy, Steph. Just break it off now. Or at least break it off with Adrian (unravel and rewind it).

  9. Oh, English, how I love that “unravel” and “ravel” are synonyms. No wonder you’ve got a bad rep, even among native speakers.

    And Presbyteria made me snort with laughter. Again.

  10. It could be worse. You could be plus sized, and then all your sweaters would be like knitting 2 smaller items.

    I’ve been knitting the Endless Fingering Weight Sweater since Christmas. I’ve been diligent, too (of course I had the R front bound off and found a mistake and had to rip half).

    My feet are big, too (US size 11) so all my knitting takes forever and ever. I’m a monogamous knitter. I have to be or I’d never wear handknits.

  11. I feel your pain. My husband requested a sweater that looked like our friends “ropey” sweater (his description).

    Double seed stitch. In black. Cotton/Modal yarn. He’s an XXL. Never ending rows of black double seed stitch. Makes me want to dig my eyes out. It is also taking forever to knit.

  12. I wonder if you’ll ever be able to wear Adriana?
    1 – even if she’s perfect, will she ever NOT remind you of this time? Like when you have a cable going the wrong way on the first row of a sweater, you can’t wear it even though you’ve spent hours making it because it’ll bug the snot out of you.
    And 2 – she’s got some pretty bad energy going into her (the anti-prayer shawl?).
    Good luck.

  13. I love this blog!! Thanks, Steph, for letting us know that we, who are not awesome knitters and book writers, are just the same as you, except for the awesome and book writing part.

    Wait, I’m not sure if this even makes sense. Anyway, thanks and good luck.

  14. I have nothing useful to add.
    Only that I totally get it.
    Oh, and I’m working on a shawl that I totally don’t have enough yardage for, so I’m knitting faster to make the yarn last. And a friend in the UK pointed out that you do that, too, and asked if it’s a “Canadian thing”. 🙂

    • I knit slower to make the yarn last!
      The first of five balls is almost gone and I don’t think I’m 1/5 of the way through.

  15. Stop knitting! Now! Step away from the offending garment! After a beer or two, unravel Adrian and then, send the yarn and pattern to someone with a knitting machine. You’ll have a finished Adriana quickly and painlessly!
    If you don’t know any machine knitters in your neck of the woods, send everything to me. I’m in Québec, which isn’t that far… 😉
    I’ll whip it up on my good old trusty Passap in no time!

  16. I had my coffee cup to my lips when I read the part about the dog and the bacon grease. I almost choked on that mouthful. Okay, you get the bacon grease and I’ll provide the dog. Abbey would make short work of Adriana, whether smeared in grease, drizzled with chicken soup or gobbed with peanut butter. I think what’s going on here is not just that you’re trying to turn Adrian into Adriana but that spring is just around the corner, and Startitis is about to make her annual visit. She’s already been at my house.

  17. But Adrianna will be lovely to wear when you come to Texas next week — especially if it is 80 degrees like it was yesterday (only in the mid 60s today)

  18. Sadly, I feel your pain. You nailed, so eloquently, how I felt about knitting a brushed suri cowl. About halfway through, after battling the fibrous beast (and losing), I frogged it, caked it, and buried it in the depths of my stash. If I ever see brushed suri again, it’ll be too soon.

  19. I agree with what they all said–unravel! Unravel Adrian into anonymous balls of yarn, and you can pretend that Adriana is a whole new vest, and not just a morphed version of Adrian, even if she is. Sometimes knitterly denial is called for, and I believe this would definitely be one of those times.

  20. I think it’s the unraveling-as-you-go decision that is making this whole situation an unholy mess. Every time you unravel your heart breaks a bit and then you have to re-knit it again. Re-knitting and knitting … not the same thing! I saw – unravel the first one completely into balls and then I think you will feel better. You can then be in denial that Adrian-the-first ever existed!

  21. I feel your pain. I’m working on an endless plain stockinette cardigan and now after finally slogging through the body and arms I’m at the dreaded mile of stitches to be picked up for the button band. I keep making excuses for why I can’t sit down and do it. I’ve already started swatching for my next project and I know my choice is totally a reaction to the sweater – a laceweight Rock Island shawl which, just in case it isn’t frilly/girly/complicated enough, I’m going to bead. I’m probably biting off more than I can chew but I have to do something interesting or go mad….

    By the way, I’m with the crowd that says to kill Adrian once and for all….

  22. Wait! Surely you don’t mean any of what you said. Do you want her to run away and join dear Birch in the land of the lost???

  23. Call Your partner in this and commiserate. Then put Adrian to death, plug in a good book, and knit on. Or maybe a movie-thion.

  24. O, do not give up! I am also knitting an Adriana. In DARK BROWN. Have started her three times, since what I thought was good gauge was clearly not. (Love the linen.) It will be worth it. Remain steadfast. Persevere.

  25. I have an actual question… is there a reason to knit straight from the unravel, instead of unravelling the whole thing, giving it a soak and air dry, and then reknitting? I’m always concerned that knitting straight from ravelled yarn will lead to distortions in the final garment.

    • Not in my experience, but yours may vary. I was just knitting from the previous thing to save time. I do it all the time and have never had distortion.

      • Your idea sounds good until you repeatedly stop knitting to ravel. I tried it and finally just rewound the yarn so I could just knit on.

  26. Just when I’m contemplating throwing over all my planned projects (socks, lace shawls, another Swirl…) to do a stockinette cap-sleeve shell – Everybody starts bemoaning the boredom of stockinette. Oh, well.
    I agree with everyone else that Adrian should be put to rest, frogged and rewound. Is there something about linen that makes this inadvisable?

  27. gender reassignment requires time, medication, surgery and a LOT of psychotherapy. have compassion for this tender transition!

  28. I recommend a good book on tape and a large cold beer as you (re) knit. That, or a great old movie. Either way, don’t forget the beer.

  29. So sorry to hear that you are re-knitting this one. I’m sure that once you’re finally at the end of all that stockinette, the project will be that much more special. 🙂

    I am curious about how your gauge may vary in this reincarnation. Since you knit, soaked, blocked, and unraveled the first few skeins and also are using a new, untouched skein, will the gauge be any different between the two sections, or will it all block out in a final soak? In my experience, linen have been a bit fussy to block. (I somewhat remember an old blog post by Sandi at Knitting Daily about freezing and beating linen into shape…)

  30. Two word solution – knitting machine. The perfect tool to get through miles of boring stockinette. Just saying…

  31. I think the Universe is perhaps telling you that this project is just not meant to be or not meant to be right now. I mean really, how many times have you ever knit the wrong pattern??! About a year ago I fell in love with a certain pattern by a designer whose other patterns I’d knitted and loved. And you know what? Despite being a pretty skilled knitter, I had to frog that baby 5 or 6 times because I just kept making mistake after mistake. I just couldn’t knit it. Who knows why. Someday I hope I will. Know what I’m saying? Frog it and start anew later or never.

  32. Keep plugging.

    A frightening thought… make sure you are knitting the new pattern and unravelling the old… and never accidentally go in the wrong direction… or it will take forever….

  33. I say give the knit a time out and make it sit in the corner until it can behave or at least pretend to be interesting. Go have a beer whilst waiting.

  34. reminds me more of Penelope wife of Ulysses unravelling her weaving every night. You being plagued by a bunch of suitors up there?

  35. I recently threw away–in the actual garbage–an almost pair of socks that I had been working on for a long, long, long time. One and one half socks. Color work. Squirrels and acorns. Some stripes. They were really cute, except, they would have fit no human foot. Ever. But they had been nagging at me to finish them for so long. But why? No foot is shaped like that. And you know what? The throwing away was sooooooo good.

  36. Once upon a time, during the black days of unpredictable madness following a divorce, I actually took a big ol’ pair of sewing scissors to a partially-knit sweater….and it was quite satisfying.

  37. If it makes you feel any better, I’m having similar issues with my knitting. You’re not alone! Have a beer & relax.

  38. I agree with some of the above – unravel and make a nice ball…eGADS, unknitting to knit sounds so painful. 😐 The other day I was knitting in the car, mad at my dropped stitches and my husband says ‘you going to burn it’. I didn’t know he had been listening that closely.

  39. Heavens! It should be apparent that this yarn and this pattern, however lovely on their own, will not play well together!

    Find another pattern better suited to that lovely yarn. Find another yarn better suited to that lovely pattern. If needed, go knit some cotton dishcloths doormats in the interim. Or knit Luis another sweater for the fall. (March 21 is the vernal equinox! He’ll be growing all spring and summer before he needs new sweaters in the fall!_

  40. Adrian is taunting you by his very presence. He needs to be returned to his roots as a ball of yarn. And then he will become adorable again as a lovely red sphere of premium fiber!

  41. Oh that explains it, you’re tinking while knitting. I thought the yarn looked awfully kinked and I had an ‘OMG, poor Steph!’ moment because I thought you’d had to pull it out AGAIN. Is reknit with linen best while it’s kinked, the stitch just sortof folds into place a little easier?
    I don’t know, I’ve tried tinking while reknitting (not with linen though) and decided it was messing with tension. Maybe wash Adrian to soften him up, reskein and then knit Adriana? Or would that cause a shape/size problem?
    Looks like you’re using straights, not circs, so it can’t be too hard to pump out the rows. Just kidding. Is cottage knitting doable with linen?
    It’s gonna be beautiful when you’re done! 🙂

  42. I always thought swearing was a normal part of the knitting process. People getting a handknit from me receive something steeped in affection, hope, labour and language to make a sailor blush….
    I think of it as making the object fierce enough to repel the bad mojo so the good mojo I put in stays there.

  43. My granddaughter is an aspiring writer. She is still in college but is working hard. Her blog is whywriterssmoke She does have some baggage to get rid of but when she gets that off her chest I think she will do well. I just received your new book from Amazon. The Writer essay made me laugh and reaching other writers online will probably be more your style.

  44. Once you walk out that door, just know that you’re never coming back. If you want Adriana in your life (or closet) just know you need to work through this rough patch.

  45. I only wish I were an accomplished enough knitter that anything more than boring stockinette (with an occasional increase or decrease) was something I could DO without massive screwups. Well, I’m not too bad at Fair Isle, but lace…I say, completely unravel the old knitting, give the yarn a bath, let it relax, and stash it away till next winter. You can plan to finish it by summer of 2015:). Life is too short to give yourself an ulcer over a boring project when you’re hungry for a challenge!

  46. Time to put down the project and start something different. Think of it as time apart from each other for awhile. Distance can make the heart grow fonder.

  47. Oh, funny, well, at least for me on the other end. Just think, it will only be a Sisyphean task if you find out at the end that it’s really the Arianna pattern you should have been knitting. Don’t give up, give it a rest, if necessary for everyone’s sanity, you’ll crest the hill/mountain and when it’s done, it’s done. I’m sure it’ll look awesome on you, too. (I’d go for a long, loose tank like the model), for what it’s worth.

  48. Last weekend in Exton you were given a small keyring/purse dangle thing. There was an orange wire-jacketed bead with a small key. On the side of the key is the single word “PRESTO”. Pretty sure this is a magic key for getting out of the knitting doldrums. The place where all the breezes have died.
    Ya gotta try it, Steph! “PRESTO!”
    (Note: there may be a small explosion. Maybe not.)

  49. I am sitting here jealous of the fact that you are knitting right now – even if unhappily. I am recovering from hand surgery. Pre-surgical pain caused me to swear off knitting for a bit due to pain. I can not wait for the healing and starting over. I plan to start something new rather than picking up an old project, just to give the new knitting good new hand mojo. A break might be nice for you , but only a little one. We do not want you to loose sight of Adraina and get her put into the UFO pile permanently. You will love her in the end. But I agree with others to get rid of Adrian once and for all by raveling the whole thing at once. Although you think you are making the knitting go faster, it is a constant reminder of the mistake. Like the bandage, get it out all at once and move on to the new knitting with a clean slate. ps sadly missed you on the book tour due to hand issue 🙁 Next time around for sure!!

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