Maybe it’s required

This year, I swore it would be different.  This year, I swore that I would get a grip, and not do this to myself, and just opt out of the madness, because it’s totally optional. This year, when I finished Myrie’s sweater and found myself a week out from Rhinebeck, I had a moment of complete and total delusion in which I wondered if I could knit a Rhinebeck sweater in a week.  (Actually, this year it was six days.)  I sat there, and I thought about it, and I even went so far as to choose yarn and a sweater, and I calculated how much I would have to do each day, and I thought about what it was like last year, and this year, I looked at my time and energy, and my friends, I chose life.


I still wanted a Rhinebeck sweater though, and I thought about something that @litknitgrit on said on Twitter, when I asked if it was too late to try for one.  She said “The trick is to find one almost finished that needs sewing up and blocking. You know you have one”.  I thought about that – and you know what? She was right – or sort of right.  A little while ago (FINE. MAY 2011) my friend Andrea and i were having a little knitalong on a sweater, and I don’t know what happened, except that both of us wandered off, really close to the end.  Since then that sweater has been plunked in a bag, just waiting for me to care about it again.  I had knit both sleeves, and the better part of the body.  I was almost at the part where you divide the thing into two fronts and a back, and other than that, it just needed button bands, and buttons, and blocking, and sewing up.  This – this seemed perfect.

This year, I thought, as I pulled Acer out, and hunted up the pattern again – this year I would have a Rhinebeck sweater, and it would be easy, and I wouldn’t have to stay up all night, or put it in the oven, or sew it up in the car on the way to the fairgrounds.  This year, I had it licked. This year, I got too cocky.

sweaternotdone 2014-10-16

This year, my friends, I was wrong again.  Turns out that Acer needed more than I thought. (The tiny angry owls were probably a mistake too, time wise)  I thought I was pretty much done the body – Wrong. It needed about 8 more centimetres, and I’ve somehow only got one front done (and it’s the wrong length. I have to rip it out and add more, and last night I finished the back, but that still leaves 1.5 fronts and the button bands and the neckband, and the blocking, which is really the biggest problem, because that’s the only thing I can’t make happen really fast.  (I have a rack for the dryer. It might work, but that’s not really blocking. Still, it’s as good a day as any to cheat.) After that there’s sewing and buttons and ….

And I’m starting to think that there’s a thing with the Rhinebeck sweater. Maybe it has to be like this? Maybe it always ends in a mad dash to the finish, maybe that’s part of its charm? Who the hell knows, certainly not me, and I can’t talk about it now.  I’ve got a flight in the morning, and in the name of all things woolly and pure – I will have this sweater.


63 thoughts on “Maybe it’s required

  1. @litknitgrit here: if it makes you feel any better, the weather forecast for Rhinebeck is for 66 degrees on Sunday, not really sweater weather. It would be a real drag to kill yourself to finish a sweater you can’t wear (been there, done that).

    • Sorry to tell you but it’s supposed to be 66 degrees for a high in Rhinebeck on Saturday. Sunday its a low of 34 and a high of 51. Stephanie is definitely going to need that sweater!

  2. Another example of why reading your blog is always the high point of my day. You are amazing, somewhat unrealistic possibly, but amazing nonetheless. I hope I again run into you at Rhinebeck! Safe travels!

  3. You are just crazy enough to make me look sane.

    Which I totally appreciate.
    One day I will get to meet you, though it may cause a rupture in the space-time continuum to have that much crazy in one place. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Maybe it’s required | Yarn Buyer

  5. I hope to someday be the kind of knitter who can go to her yarn cave and pull out a more-than-half-knit sweater. For now I’ve just got a load of granny squares (yes, I know how you feel about crochet) and some started socks. I guess I’ve got a small bit of a Nanook done…but the yarn is terrible and I’m just trying to bring myself to frog it but can’t.

      • I’ve got 2, no wait, I finished that cardi, one sweater almost half-done lurking at the bottom of the WIPs bin in the stash dungeon. I’m feeling a strong urge to cast on another one, maybe just a vest…

        • Now that I’ve thought about it, I realized that I not only have that Nanook sweater, but I have a half finished cat sweater! I may be faster on my way to the knitter with unfinished sweaters in her closet than I thought!

  6. And maybe it’s really more about the sweater you knit on the way to, during, and on the way home from Rhinebeck. Not always the one you wear there. It could be that way. (The two owls were NOT a mistake, no way. Adorable heads to keep warm.)

  7. I think there is something special about the hope for something special for Rhinebeck. I had a sweater all ready (from late last winter, not brand new) and then found a big moth hole in it. I’ll be patiently, desperately mending a hole in bulky wool and wishing I was knitting instead. May your fingers fly!

  8. Best of luck on having a cuddly new sweater (great color). If it’s any consolation, I had a similar fit of needing a new sweater on a tight deadline just a couple weeks ago. (It was bizarre, sudden, and totally all consuming. I needed that sweater and I needed it immediately. So unlike my normal, methodical, planning self.) I knit Kitsunetsuki in SIX days, buttons, blocking and all, and I love it. Here’s to awesome deadline knitting and speedy drying. Whatever mojo I had and whatever there may be left, I send your way.

  9. Could you print a picture of your niece in Minni, and label it “Rhinebeck Sweater in Miniature”. Wear it as a badge.

  10. “Maybe it has to be like this?” Yes, Rhinebeck and Christmas are like that. You’d lose something if it weren’t like that.

  11. Stephanie – I don’t think you ever showed us last year’s Rhinebeck sweater. Maybe you could just use that one again and tell us that it’s new?

  12. The larger the sweater the more likely I am to knit the sleeves first, while I’m still enthusiastic about finishing. After all, you can wear a sleeveless garment, but the other option is unthinkable!

  13. Here’s what’s worked for me: finish knitting the night before you need to wear it. Wash and block with 2 fans blowing on it all night. Check frequently for even drying. I have been known to prop up areas with toilet paper tubes so the air can flow underneath. Then I get up extra early (who needs sleep, right) to sew on the buttons and with literally minutes to spare before leaving the house (less than 10, it seems) I am done and putting on a fabulous new sweater! You can do it! Don’t give up now!

  14. Next year, think Rhinebeck SOCKS! Or maybe a lacy Rhinebeck shawl — made from DK weight yarn or heavier on size 50 needles (a.k.a. closet rods).

  15. So true, I have a sweater sooo close to finishing from 2010!!!! One day I’ll pick it up and love the speed by which it is completed. I’m OK in London UK Rhinebeck fever can’t get me.

  16. What is this compulsion to make a ‘Rhinebeck sweater’? Is it a requirement for going to the meeting? If it isn’t, why are you running yourself ragged over this? What’s wrong with a ‘Rhinebeck pair of socks’? or a ‘Rhinebeck scarf’? Who made having a new sweater a condition of attending? Aren’t you supposed to be enjoying yourself instead of going crazy about the ironclad requirement to have a new sweater exclusively for this meeting? Sounds daft to me.

  17. Isn’t knitting supposed to be fun? Sometimes you go at it like the Bataan death march. I enjoy your column, but lighten up and enjoy the process more than the finish line.

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  19. It’s kind of like the final dress rehearsal. Anything that can go wrong will, a complete disaster, and actually really good luck for an outstanding opening performance. Your sweater is going to be great!

  20. And there I was, wondering why a years-old pattern was appearing in the ‘hot right now’ column of Ravelry. Your blog should have occurred to me waaaay earlier, Steph!

  21. Oh my goodness! Good luck to you, if anyone can make it happen, it’s you. I like the blue, by the way, should go well with your other tree colours. Have great time at Rhinebeck!

  22. See, this is why I hate it when people ask how long it took me to make something. It’s always, “Well, it would have taken three weeks, except I abandoned it for sixteen other projects and then forgot about it, so… two years since cast-on?”

  23. I think the perfect Rhinebeck sweater is the one you buy yarn for and cast on WHILE at Rhinebeck. Hope you have a great time there, it is on my “some day” list

  24. Le sigh. I’d love to have a Rhinebeck ticket, nevermind a Rhinebeck sweater!

    Coulda made it this year if I weren’t a granny-nanny. But,hey, missing Rhinebeck makes Cold Sheeping a lot easier!

    So i’ll enjoy it vicariously, thanks to Stephanie. And maybe next year . . .

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