Monthly Archives: September 2007

Nothing to it but to do it.

Right Front In Progress And here I present to you the right front of Cable and Rib, worked up to (and including) the armhole shaping in a mere two weeks. You may clap now, if for no other reason than (wait for it) I am still on schedule with this crazy “finish the big sweater by the end of the year” plan. I know it’s only been two weeks, but I’m pretty proud of myself.

I made a plan, which basically boiled down to saying “I think I need to knit about 8 rows a day,” and gosh darn it if working on the same project every day didn’t yield some real progress. Even though I know “slow and steady” is an obvious philosophy, I am honestly tickled pink that it’s working.

I started this sweater when I was still a relatively new knitter, and it’s surprising to me that my technique has improved so in the last three years that things I remember being difficult for the back (a cable row worked immediately after casting on, spotting and correcting mistakes) are no longer difficult. I’m no knitting expert, but I think I’ll need to redefine my notion of “challenging” projects. In a few inches, I start the V-neck shaping; I’ll report back when I’ve reached the summit. In the meantime, here are links to a few non-knitting things I’ve been enjoying.

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – I had been planning to read this regardless, but a very interesting discussion over at sockbug’s prompted me to move it to the head of the line. My verdict? Even as I see that she writes from a privileged position I have an urge to plow under my backyard for a garden and learn to can. At the very least, my husband is getting a book about cheesemaking for Christmas this year.

2. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Holy cow, this was such a pretty place to spend vacation this summer. Even the National Park Service, not known for effusiveness, called the views “spectacular”. They weren’t kidding. Also, many great local wineries nearby on the Leelanau peninsula. If you like that sort of thing.

3. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt – This is the audiobook that’s seeing me through much of this sweater knitting frenzy. Honestly, and to my detriment, I am not so much for the history – but this is a fascinating look at the circumstances and events that might have influenced Shakespeare to become who he was and write what he did. It’s fantastically narrated by Peter J. Fernandez, which is obviously making all the difference for me.

Pardon me while I go knit on with confidence – see you on the left front…

1102 days down, 112 days to go.

My fabled knitting slump lasted all of three days, during which it might have looked as though I cast on approximately 40 times for Lizard Ridge – but that didn’t really get my mojo working, so I shelved the squares for later.
It also might have seemed I was reviewing every sock pattern written in the last four years: my current favorites are Ann Budd’s Seduction Socks (pdf) and a new-to-me treat for variegated yarn, Mad Color Weave. I may or may not be carrying a printout of that very pattern around in my car at this moment in case spontaneous knitting breaks out.

This would have once again been a perfect opportunity for a pattern choice flowchart: I wanted lacy, but not too open, or textured but not too complex, preferably with some detail running down the leg into the foot. Must use stash yarn. Points given for toe-up construction. Bonus if it features or can be adapted to a picot hem. Dark horses included the Uptown Boot Socks (I saw a pair made from the very yarn I had in mind on Flickr – why redo what’s been done?), and Veronik Avery’s Spiral Boot Socks (adapting them to toe-up so I didn’t run out of yarn seemed like a lot of work). Apparently my flowchart needs an option that says “if this is a pattern for boot socks, cast on immediately.”

Instead, I finished the back of Cable and Rib. See more pictures here, including a shot I have helpfully titled “So big, you can see it from space“.

Why yes, I do still think it's pretty I realize that I can’t call this an FO in any way, shape or form – but it’s a little bit of a rush nonetheless. To review: this is the project that has languished for almost exactly three years as you read this, since 2004 when I was swept away by the greatness of Tara Jon Manning’s Men in Knits. I like symmetry, and I like patterns – it just never occurred to me that to get a nice, densely textured fabric you would knit the same six stitch, four row chart over and over. And over.

I said I was going to finish this in 2007, and I’m sticking to that – which means I have 112 days in which to knit two fronts, two sleeves, seam, and knit on the button band. If you are laughing at the depth of my folly, go sit in the back where I can’t see you. I have a plan. First, the twoCable detail fronts should take just over three weeks apiece at my current breakneck pace. That leaves five weeks for two sleeves, and lets me declare December “Button Band Month,” so I can try to avoid staying up until 2 a.m. during the holiday season for a finishing party. Second, Tara Jon, are you serious? Knit the (honking) sleeves onto the (huge) body, down from the shoulders? I noticed this detail a long time ago, but confronting it once more now makes me think that this project is going to be so big that my knitting bag will be a rolling suitcase. So much for inconspicuously knitting in public.

Rockin’ Girl Blogger Isabelle was nice enough to nominate me as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger – thanks! I resemble that remark, and I’d like to nominate any knitter out there who’s also on the cusp of finishing a huge, languishing UFO. You’ve earned it.