I knew it. Halfway down the second sock, knowing that something is wrong but nor sure what it is, I hit the spot where the cables fore-swear each other and make new friends across hitherto unbridged purl ribs, and then I realized that I had made a mistake some 20 rows back.
Oops. So I've ripped and ready to do it again.
You're waiting, I know. The post title seems to suggest that I have something to show you, perhaps, something in cotton? Okay. Here ya go.
Three generations of Rowan Handknit Cotton bands that have been knit into that sweater.
The Insomnia Sweater is seamed. It's awaiting a steam and some buttons, and tomorrow, I'll show it to you. It's not bad. But I think I should show it to my Tuesday Knit Club first because they've had to put up with my whining about this thing for years, and you, well, I want it to be as perfect as it can be before I show it to you.
You may have suspected this for awhile now, but I only woke to it yesterday: I will never be able to blog about any other sweater again. I am stuck in an semi-eternal struggle with this crazy thing. It is my purgatory. Escape now, while you can!
Last night, my husband and I shared a rare moment of parallel play on the kitchen counter. He has reached the moment of truth in his own personal project odyssey, a pair of amplifiers he has been alternately working on and shelving for as long as the Boy has been alive. The chassis's came back from the finishers this week, and he is very pleased with the resulting anodized colour. I think the red goes very nicely with the Insomnia Sweater. The two black things sitting on the chassis there, he would tell you, are two of his very rare Black UTC chokes that were made in a limited contract for RCA. That is why they are black. I know, huh? Black UTC transformers! How cool! That's like a mastodon tooth drop spindle, or copper-coloured fleece artist sock yarn. It's just not something you see everyday!
Try and contain yourselves. I know it's hard.
The Good News
The crazy cotton sweater is beginning to look like it will make it.
The Bad News
After knitting the button band, I realized the remaining blue yarn wasn't going to make it up the button hole band and around a 22 row seed stitch collar. The yarn is 10 years old, which means that I'll never find its like again; the sweater is doomed to either a crippling compromise or oblivion.
The Good News
DK Handknit Cotton is a workhorse yarn for Rowan, it's still in production (news to me!), and they still make number 277, Turkish Plum, after all these years.
Even More Good News
Wild & Wooly had three skeins in stock, and Dena put them on hold for me. My husband dropped in there this afternoon, mere hours after I had flown into the plate glass window of knitting, for an almost instant turn around on my bleak morning. No bruises sustained.
The Bad News
The dye lot of the original is 7B5. The dye lot of the new yarn is 1240524.
The Good News
I find this amusing. I imagine the Rowan dye pots of yore, steaming away in that shaggy stone mill in York, with little masking tape labels on them to assign their dye lots, versus the huge industrialized success that the company has become, pumping out tides of Turkish Plum, with so many dye batches by now that they number in the millions. Sweet old 7B5. How I love thee.
Back to the Bad News
The dye lots are so different that on a Jamieson & Smith colour card, there would be three shades between them. Old Turkish Plum 7B5 actually had a plummy quality to it, a juicy navy with hints of tipping into aubergine. The number million dye lot looks more like a flat navy.
The Good News
I have a plan. I will rip the button band in 7B5, re-knit it in the number million dye lot, and use the old yarn to knit the button hole band which will sit on top, covering the new yarn and no one will know but you and me.
The Bad News
The collar will have to be in the new yarn, and there's not much I can do about that, except accept it.
The Good News
These will be the buttons.
There's a seam there. I'm knitting the button bands today. Wait until you see the buttons I have for this baby. Handmade and loony, but perfect for this sweater.
Meanwhile, the mystery knitting is indeed a Trinket scarf from Kim Hargreaves. I bought it the day the site went up, and while I was surprised when the kit arrived that it was but a wee bit of KSH and some beads, and the bias-knit scarf itself is hardly a mystery, but I was re-inspired by Jane's finished version, so I've forgiven Kim's people for charging me so much for the post. It's true what Jane said about this being a knit that eats time, a real Red Queen kind of scarf, where you have to keep knitting furiously just to stay in one place. And to respond publicly to Kat's dread of such things, I'm not finding the switch between needle sizes to be troubling, but I do really dread each row of p2tog through the back loop.
In local trivia: I opened the paper yesterday to a story about how local craft stores were expecting more people to give handmade gifts this year for the holidays (click on the Lifestyle link in the center column), and there, in the how-to section of the article, was the instructions for a sweet and cozy twisted stitch hat, designed by Alison Green Will. She's only been on the North Shore for a couple of months and already she's a star! Go Alison!
Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.
I told you it was on the blog.
Here is the first of a pair of alpaca cabled socks, expressly for house snuggling, and especially good padding around the ankles when you step on stray pieces from the Homer Simpson Courtroom set, or send Thomas or Harvey skittering across the room, and they will soak up milk splatter on the kitchen floor really nicely, and efficiently pulverize Goldfish and/or Cheeze-its into a nice tractive layer on the bottom when you need extra acceleration to catch the kidlette before he reaches the top of the bookcase again.
Think of them as a hug from me. I'll have them both in the mail soon.
(I know what you're thinking: it's all true, but they feel really really nice)
One shoulder seam down: thank Holda I only have two arms. I hate shoulder seams in cotton, because there is no room for compromise. The stitches are defined and on full display right there at eye level (remember that I'm tall: this is what you would be looking at if you were in line behind me at the yarn store) and every pass of the needle needs to be as sure as the footing of a bharal (sorry, I'm a mother of a zoologically-obsessed three-year-old. I get the strangest looks, but other mommies with kids glued to Animal Planet know of what I speak. And yes, we still do trains).
And after I finished this, did I turn the whole thing around and start in on the other one?
Did I pick up Kathleen's Alpaca Cable Fireside Socks and finish off that toe so that maybe I could send off at least half the pair for her birthday so that she knows that I remembered?
Did I even work on the gusset of the Friday Harbor socks? or the silky wool swatch for the Irish Moss sweater I keep threatening my husband with?
no and no.
I cast on for this.
Anyone care to venture a guess as to what it is?
It's not even a gift. It's for me.
And I don't care.
I think my Frappr hates me. That's what I get for knitting for my own happiness.
Now that there's nothing left to do on the crazy cotton sweater but the finish work, I am conquering my impulse to stick it back in the Rubbermaid Time Capsule TM, and facing down the Hydra of ends that I have mostly ignored in the protracted process of this knitting. I find the occasional gift from myself of eight years ago -- of an end knit in as I went -- but mostly, the dangly bits speak of a knitter who could give a damn about such eventual details, knitting as if there were no tomorrow, as if, perhaps, she had no faith that she might ever live to face down the Hydra. Well, she did.
It looks like slaw. Rowan Handknit Cotton Slaw, served on a bed of intarsia, with a no-longer-bitter vinagrette, and a side of crow.
Tonight, I seam.
All it took was one PTO meeting that was extended by a lengthy talk on the part of the school superintendent on how the budget is determined, priorities are set, and why our kids get their music program cut.
I loved every politically frustrating minute of it (Federal money cut by 20% again! Thank you No Child Left Behind!) because I kept thinking, kept hoping as I was knitting away, row upon row upon zebra-stripey-row that she must have more to say. I almost asked her a complicated question about the accreditation process the answer to which would have nothing to do with my child for a decade, just to keep her talking. But I considered the good graces of the other 45 mommies in the room (and the one daddy), and bit that Derridean tongue of mine. Blah.
Of course, they had to go on The Boy's feet the moment the last stitch was grafted, and my knitter's heart is wild with joy that he wore them to bed so he can dream of zebras, he says.
Favorite New Blog Meme Contest:
I love Eunny, I love Saartje, I love Cabin Cove. All added to the blog lines menu. Thanks guys for nominating them and getting me out of my blog rut. But all that said and done, my most favorite new blog among the nominees is: Knitting Iris for overall excellence in knitting execution, inspiration, and decent writing. So I'll be gifting something to Kristen for her nomination. I'll leave her surprise as just that.
(My new favorite blog in the "not nominated" category is Black Olive, no contest winner involved here but go check Paula out. Say "hi" for me.)
Knitting in Traffic:
And "Miss S" won't ever drive while knitting again. Thanks for the communal scolding. It was stop and go traffic, but I think she's been scared straight.
Red Queen Syndrome:
I am creeping along on socks. Why is it that I can knit a sweater in three weeks but socks seem to crawl along? Answer: because I knit three pairs at once and consequently get nowhere on any of them.) And I am weaving in ends on the Insomnia sweater. That's a lot of fun. Man, I'm such a one-woman knitting party.
I realized in a screech of panic yesterday that I have ten days until my college roommate Kathleen's birthday, and I have to knit something for her this year because it has been years since I gave her something good. Fear not that she will see them here because in spite of my title yesterday, I can find no way to entice her to bother to read the blog. It's just as well when it comes to a moment like realizing that I need to knit for her. I did knit a Griffindor scarf for her husband (who is hanging in there for those of you about to inquire) last year, and I promised her a sweater-on-demand for her two-year-old son, but she has yet to cash that one in. I am uncertain that she will actually like these socks since she is an eminently practical person, and snuggly alpaca socks too big for the insides of shoes and too soft for real world wear might prove to be too frivolous for her tastes, but I think she will appreciate the effort and the beauty of the alternating cables, and will give them -- if not a position of elegant coziness on her feet in front of the fire -- certainly a place of honour in her drawer of useless lovelies. Wish me luck on that one, folks.
And while you're clearly doing such favors for everyone else, don't forget to add yourself to my Frappr map too.