Treading Carefully

Jared is out of the house at a retreat for the weekend, and I am at home by my lonesome for over 48 hours. This may not sound like a big deal, but we haven’t been apart overnight in the over two and a half years we’ve been married. This has left me with a healthy amount of trepidation about what might happen while he’s gone.

  • Will I have a massive girly party where me and friends do nothing all weekend but play Civ IV, drink rum and cokes, and talk about our ex-boyfriends?
  • Will I wander around the house with a box of Cheez-its in one hand, talking to myself in foreign accents and compulsively cleaning surfaces?
  • Will I read the entirety of Chapterhouse: Dune in one sitting, after which Jared will come home to find me an emaciated crone in a black robe convinced she’s a Bene Gesserit acolyte?
  • Will I realize my dream of having an active knitting project assigned to every room of the house – including the bathroom?

Points if you know me well enough to guess which one is most likely.

One thing will happen for sure: the big brown bat that will soon be my newest and favoritest sweater will continue to grow.

I think I’ve pushed through The Wall in the body of this sweater. Do you know what I mean by The Wall?

Not unlike marriage, knitting can’t be totally interesting all the time. It would be exhausting, for one thing. Well, I can’t pretend this is the most compelling bit of stitchery I’ve ever engaged in. Gull lace, which makes up the bulk of the sweater, falls into that particular category of stitch pattern that is not plain enough for me to do it while reading or doing something else useful, but is repetitive enough to put me in a catatonic state if I’m doing nothing else.

Pretty, eh? Despite my inability to take a good low-light shot of a dark fabric.

When it comes to patterns like this, that require huge tracts of uncompelling yet needy stitches, I sometimes hit a Wall. The Wall is when, without disliking the project or not wanting to work on or do it, I find I can’t do another stitch. That if I try to do another stitch, I will turn into a raving monkey hanging from a street lamp by my feet waiting to strangle passers-by.

This happened to me at knit night on Monday. (Which met despite the storm, when the men’s clubs at school all cancelled their meetings. HA.) There I was, perfectly happy with my nice sweater in progress, and suddenly I couldn’t stand it. If I tried to go on I would find myself a fugitive from the law because I had gone into a trance and garrotted everyone present with my circular needle. Since I liked everyone present very much, I put down the knitting, backed away, and made some tea.

Situations like this need to be handled with some amount of care. Knitters are surprisingly powerful creatures with dextrous hands and a large supply of pointy sticks; it is usually wise to avoid turning them to violence. Waves of distaste should be dealt with by putting the project in question aside for a few hours, but not too long. At this critical stage, if the project is allowed to disappear completely from the knitter’s sight, he or she is likely to deny it ever existed or light it on fire the next time it comes into view. The best thing to do is allow a short break, with the project safely protected in a corner with only a bit of it sticking out of its bag to prevent its being “disappeared.”

After sufficient time has passed, and the knitter is allowed some chocolate and a good drink and a few rounds on a plain sock, the offending project is ready to be introduced. Best to do this while the knitter is distracted, preferably by a movie or an interesting lecture that will hold her attention for a long time while she starts knitting again. Reapply this treatment until the knitter notices she’s made actual progress, which is usually enough to make her realize she’s having a good time again.

I think I can say with some confidence that I’m back in love with my sweater. I have high hopes of finishing it before Lent, leaving lots of cold weather in which to enjoy its woolliness. I apologized to it for my short period of resentment, though it may yet retaliate by being way, way too big to actually fit me.

7 thoughts on “Treading Carefully

  1. Ah. My dear, you have just hit upon the very reason that I have never knit a blanket. All the same I send waves of prayer through the internets for perseverance and lots of good dialogue-heavy movies!


  2. That was hilarious. I loved the definition of “the wall”, a form of which exists in any and every discipline of merit. 🙂


  3. For me, The Wall IS knitting! I swatch a LOT because I almost always use different yarns than called for or I seriously modify a design or most often, I’m designing something completely unique. So by the time I actually start the project, I’m like….yeah that looks good…..but the rest of the 3-12 months it takes me to finish is all boring. I guess I’m just a dull person because I don’t mind being bored……I LOVE touching the yarn and that’s enough… long as I’m listening to a good story tape or watching a good TV show…..CSI, chick flick, PBS…..


  4. Now I’m thinking…..Have I ever knit ANYthing that was interesting most of the way through?
    My slip stitch sweater, my slip stitch vest, my blanket sweater that went together really quick on size 10 needles….yeah there were a few.


  5. Aww Seefa you read the blarg!

    Mum – that’s true…. almost nothing is interesting the whole way through, I’m just usually distracted during the whole time so I don’t notice….


  6. Ah, now I know what to call what has happened with the REALLY big blanket that I started knitting 6 years ago … it was for my F-I-L, and I did set it aside when he unexpectedly passed away … bravely resumed it on-and-off … but now that I’ve truly begun knitting again, my husband has asked if I could please finish it so we could use it on our bed … and I notice I keep avoiding it … thanks for providing the terminology …


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