Surprise Ending

This is a vest with an unusual wooly story. Unusual, at least, in that it is very long – I usually have relatively short relationships with my projects. I work on something, maybe for a few months at the most, then it is done, off my plate, and in use. There have been a few exceptions, like the jaywalker socks shoved into my WIP basket (it says something about me that my WIPs fit in a basket), but they are still only a few months to this sucker.

I first got this yarn from my friend Elleigh, three or so years ago, when we had an anthro class together. The original source of the yarn was Maine; my memory vaguely identifies it as handspun, but I find this unlikely now that I know more about it. Elleigh’s mom had purchased it, but found it so excited her wool allergies that it lay under her bed for at least a decade. It got passed on to her daughter, who had the same problem, and so passed it on to me.

This stuff is so raw that it still has bits of straw in it. I have no wool allergies to speak of (aside from an isolated event involving a turtleneck and some serious damage to my reputation, but we won’t go there), but just holding this stuff makes my inner ear itch. Still, my yarny horizons at the time were rather narrow, and I thought this stuff was too cool for school. I had to use it, though preferably for something that would be nowhere near my raw skin. I made a pair of mittens out of it, which I promptly lost (it was a subconscious thing, I think; I blame it on my ears). Undaunted, I started something else – a sweater in a German magazine that I thought was adorable.

I was most of the way through the body, inserting stripes along a very loose plan, when I realized there was no way on heaven or earth that I had enough to finish. Fine. Chin up, I decided I was making a vest.

Somehow, though, as I got to the top, I just got more and more disappointed with the thing. So when I got to the collar, knowing about as much about a neckline as a noose, I knitted the thing more in resemblance to the latter to the former.

At that point, I really didn’t have it in me to rip it out and redo it. It looked okay on me aside from the freakishly tight collar, and I knew it was just a matter of redoing that small portion. But the more I looked at it, the more I didn’t care. It got shoved somewhere in the forgotten area of the stash, and has traveled with me through another move and the first year and a half of matrimony.

Now, about two years after I cast the thing on, I was rather tired of it. Not that I looked at it – It was sitting at the bottom of a basket, underneath two of Jared’s WIP blankets, for crying out loud; I would have to rather dig to get to it – but I knew it was there, and that’s what mattered. Nagging at me every time I cast something on, eating away at me every time I thought about what to knit next. “You could finish me…” it said.

The ravelympics was my cue. Here I could get credit, a gold medal even, just for taking care of this stupid two-year-old WIP. I would frog it and have this highly interesting wool to do… something… with… someday.

But this funny thing happened this morning. I pulled it out to frog it, got the collar out… and started casting the collar on again. Don’t ask me why… maybe it was the knowledge that there wasn’t anything intrinsically wrong with the project… maybe it was the fact that I know very well I won’t get to making anything else out of this yarn… maybe I wanted to keep my record of never frogging a project completely and making something different… well, no matter how it was, armed with all that I’ve learned in the past two years, I cast the neck back on, and in less than an hour, it was complete. I tried it on, and it was just as cute and funky as I’d hoped when I first sketched out its stripy-ness.

Procrastination is so completely underrated. All that time the project nagged at me, all the time I sensed the lack of closure in my stash, every time I fondled the leftover ball of purple (for about five seconds, until my throat started closing up and my eyes started watering)… was that one hour of time worth it? Not by a long shot! Especially not when I have a cute article of clothing at the other end that I’ve been denying myself, all for the sake of that one hour.

I just have to shake my head at myself. That’s how it goes, I guess! You learn to accept your own idiosyncrasies. After all, if I was unhappy enough with the way I do things, I would probably change. We’ll see if I do.

Anyway, gold #2 scored! Not in the Aerial Unwind like I was expecting, but in the WIPs-Dancing.

Wednesday’s mail came, and still no beads….

3 thoughts on “Surprise Ending

  1. I don’t really know! This stuff has been sitting around in various places for so long that it could be anything – dust from under various beds, the sheer quantity of lanolin still in the stuff, the VM (vegetable matter – hay, dirt, etc.) from the original fleece breaking down, and maybe it’s from a breed of sheep with particularly scratchy fiber. There’s just no way of knowing. Anyway I am wearing my vest now, and my eyes are only watering a very little 🙂


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