Don’t Get Me Started

Less than twenty-four hours after the last count, the new shawl design was cast off and blocking. (And two awesome test knitters are ripping through it, so an early-to-mid-April release is looking very good. I hope for sooner, but I also hope to be otherwise occupied very soon.)

This meant I was down to two projects on the needles, and I was eligible by the rules of my silly game to cast on something new.

I went upstairs, wound up the yarn for a new pair of socks…

And couldn’t bring myself to cast on.

The yarn was beautiful. The pattern simple and therapeutic. The project portable. What’s not to love? But I just couldn’t pull the trigger on it.

For a while, I thought it was because I was afraid that, in starting something new, I’d be creating another task that baby Pat would then wait until I completed in order to turn up. But this isn’t quite right.

It’s more like, I don’t want to start something else that will remain dolorously unfinished for an undetermined amount of time once I also have a newborn to deal with.

So I turned to my projects still on the needles. First I tried Evenstar. But when I pulled it out and sat the project bag next to me, an hour later I found it still sitting there, while I had instead played about ten levels of Hexcells Plus. Welp, I guess I’m not working on that.

That left the reward sweater. Not without trepidation, I pulled it out again, and instead of just taking a picture of it, I knit on it.

And wouldn’t you know it, it was just my stride. I hadn’t been enjoying it very much before; I felt that the gauge was too tight for my tense wrists, and the cabling pattern, pretty though it is, just wasn’t doing it for me. But now I worked on nothing else. Day and night, at home and in the car and at the Midwife Center, on the couch and in bed and sitting on the swings watching Naomi play with the neighbors’ plastic wagons.

[Insert some imaginary pictures here, that I took of the sweater right before joining the sleeves, too excited to notice that there was no card in the camera.]

In just a few days, to my shock, I was nearly up to the armpits. Funnily enough, that day I went to the Midwife Center sans-toddler, and got to work on it during my tenure in the waiting room. My midwife asked about it, and I told her it was a sweater for me, but it might not fit me for a while. She said “Well, maybe it won’t be done for a while!”

Turns out it was done before my next appointment.

Once the sleeves were joined on, the yoke was downright addictive. Losing stitches to raglan decreases made me knit even faster.

I realized, sometime on Saturday, that if I really pushed, I might have this new green sweater for St. Patrick’s Day. So Monday night, I stayed up rather too late, watching a movie and doing the little collar bits, grafting underarms and weaving in ends.

(Aside: If you’re looking for a late night background movie, Deep Impact is not a good choice while nearly 9 months pregnant. All those goodbyes between parents and children, and self-sacrifice in the face of near certain death! Awake at midnight, weeping over my seams, shoving goldfish in my mouth, was not a pretty picture.)

I put it up to block, but despite rolling it up twice in towels to get out extra moisture, and putting a heated fan on it, it took two more days to dry. So it was done for Baby Patricia’s fake name day, but not for wearing. (Of course, with my tastes, I had two other green handknit sweaters to pick from on Tuesday.)

But now it’s done. And “fit” might not be quite the right word, but it’s certainly wearable even in my current state.

My Reward Sweater. Begun as a reward for graduating with my Masters of Divinity in May 2014, completed as a reward for making it to 39 weeks pregnant with Baby Pat in March of 2015. Thankfully, yarn doesn’t really go bad, and I have two happy achievements to associate with this piece for many years to come.

Pattern Review: This was “Cinnamon Girl” by Amy Christoffers. I love everything about this sweater, even after waiting so long for it to be done. The cable pattern is very unique, the collar is cozy and fits well, and the plain sleeves set it all off nicely. It managed to be really different without being overly special, if you know what I mean. And I was actually careful about using the bottom-up instructions to make sleeves that fit me perfectly.

I knit the reverse-stockinette sleeves inside out because duh. (I don’t hate purling, but given the choice between all-knit and all-purl? Come on.) There were a few imprecisions in the writing of the pattern itself – a couple wrong numbers in the 41″ size I knit, an oddity about which row to start decreasing – but hardly major enough to even call them “errors.” If you can knit this sweater at all, you’re more than capable of fudging to compensate. And the instructions are detailed enough that I had plenty of information to figure out what I was shooting for.

Yarn Review: I was made a gift, a while ago, of a customer/student’s stash of nine balls of Maggi Knits Tweed Fleck Aran. (I used nearly 7 if you want to know, so about 970 yards, compared to the pattern’s projected 1350 for the 41″ size. Hm.) I had admired this yarn for a while, but even in the sale room it was a bit out of my price range. I think I said “yes!” so fast that the offerer didn’t quite know what she’d done. But I was very excited to finally get to knit with it, had plenty of fun picking out just the right pattern for it, and was more than happy to use the Last Day of Senior Work Due as an excuse to cast on.

It’s funny stuff – it looks like a singles yarn, but it’s actually a two-ply, but plied in the same direction it was spun. I do not know enough about yarn engineering to know why this is possible without the yarn being hopelessly biased, but it isn’t. I hope this means that the yarn is as sturdy as a two-ply (quite necessary for the wear I put a sweater through) while retaining the interestingly puffy look  of a singles yarn. There was perhaps a slight mismatch between yarn and pattern in that, on the reverse-stockinette sleeves, the neps of color tend to jut out rather much. But they’ll get picked out in time, I’m sure.

It is quite the wooly wool, but we all know I love that. Too scratchy for some, but to me, it just means warmth. This is a wonderfully warm sweater.

When there’s not another human in the way, I may add a button band or clasps or something to make it more practical for extreme cold. But for now, it’s just right for these last few days that March reminds us it can still snow in spring.

*Postscript*

Except look what I just noticed:

AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!

You know what? Only God is perfect. I will weep over this another day.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Get Me Started

  1. Kathy Himebaugh says:

    Well done, Rebecca! It’s beautiful, and so are you. And I agree with you – only God is perfect.

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  2. Linda says:

    it really looks good on you. There’s nothing better than making a sweater and finding it fits well and feels good. If I were knitting it I would need a lot more yarn than you because I knit looser. Other than that I find that patterns often wayyyyy over estimate how much yarn you need.

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  3. […] after my “Don’t Get Me Started” post, I realized I was going about things exactly backwards. I might want to get projects […]

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  4. […] by my college professor Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, when I wasn’t sure what buttons to put on my last sweater. She rescued them off one of her old sweaters. This was quite the cobbling together of old […]

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