So what am I getting at? I am in the midst of a similar obsession. Not a sheep, mind you. More like an offshoot.
I am obsessed with ArtYarns. Particularly the sparkly ones with beads and sequins.Now I have had feelings for yarns before. MadelineTosh (particularly pashmina). Malabrigo. But with Art Yarns I have taken obsession to a whole new level. When I am in the store I find myself staring at the wall on which they hang. I daydream about all the beautiful things I could knit with them, not just shawls but tops, jackets, afghans, tents. I want to wrap myself in them, stuff my pillows with them. Mortgage my house and buy enough to line a room with them. You’ve heard of man caves? This would be the ultimate knit nirvana.
Currently I’m knitting the Sparkle Ridges Wrap. This in itself is not a problem except that I NEED to be finishing my fair isle mittens and tackling the huge Rowe sweater I am teaching in the fall. But I cannot help myself. I am irresistibly drawn to the ArtYarns. The color (bright red with purple and lavender notes – I don’t even wear red. I blame Margaret, she hooked me)! The sparkle! The feel in my hands! Sitting here staring at it I feel like one of those gamblers in a casino who sits next to the direct line to a mortgage lender. Everyone carries three mortgages right?
I guess the bottom line is that I need help. But what a way to go.
Ahhhh, Fall! For most people this time of year conjures up warm days, cool evenings, beautiful apples and jolly pumpkins showing up in the markets, and leaves aflame with color “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” indeed (did Keats know how to turn a phrase or what?).For me, all the loveliness of Autumn is summed up in one word: frenzy. Madly dashing around during the day trying to get my daughter ready to go back to high school (is it just in their biological make up that they have to wait until the week before school to remember to do that 500 pages of A.P. biology, read those 4 books, buy those new soccer cleats?)
At night, and all other free moments in-between, it is the frenzy of knitting samples for the store and for classes that are going to be taught. Now this wouldn’t be too bad if what one is teaching is something small. But for some reason I am always attracted to the projects of epic proportions. For example, the Great American Aran Afghan KAL; 4000 yards of wool. (please don’t bring up the fact that Jane Elliott has already knit 2 of them in the time I have knit 8 squares. It will trigger my inferiority complex and send my crying to my therapist).
Who could resist this cable?
My epic project of the Fall is the Rowe sweater from Brooklyn tweed, 2200+ yards of cabled deliciousness. It is a project I have been in love with for a couple of years, ever since it was added to the Brooklyn Tweed stable. However, given that it is not in my genes to actually do anything in a timely fashion (I am always on time but I seem to need that rush of Adrenalin that comes from knitting the 72 hours straight before the class is to begin) I am once more faced with a knitting frenzy.
Now if I were Beth (or Danni,or Margaret or Pam, or pretty much any other responsible knitter) I would have plotted my time throughout the summer so I wouldn’t be in such a crunch. I wouldn’t have gotten distracted by a half a dozen other projects. Perhaps I wouldn’t have even chosen such a huge project to begin with.
But take me or leave me folks, that’s just the way I roll.
Knitters generally fall into two groups. The first group consists of those knitters who cannot bear to have any mistakes in their projects and would rather tear out 10 inches of lace work to correct that one stitch where they purled when they should have knitted. There is a term for people like this, and that term is “nuts”, I mean perfectionist. The second group are those people who can barely stand to tink back one row in order to change a truly egregious mistake. They try hard to think of different ways in which to integrate their mistake into the pattern. This rethinking often takes three times longer than the actual tinking would have but somehow that never seems to matter.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am firmly in the second group. I am a fudger from way back. Cable twist the wrong way? Design element! Purled a row instead of knit? Looks better that way! Forgot that saddle shoulder? Clearly the designer made a mistake because mine looks so much better! But I am here to tell you that even I have my limits.
Fair isle mittens in progress
The true test of my “fudge forward” philosophy came when I was knitting my sample fair isle mittens for the class I am teaching (starts 10/20, cost $85 – shameless self promotion). I was using a free pattern from Ravelry but, never being one to leave well enough alone, I was changing up the colors and making the pattern from fingerless to full mitten. Now I am a good fair isle knitter but I somehow went off the pattern but it was at the edge so naturally I ignored it. Then the thumb started but because I was off in the pattern the pattern of the thumb went awry but still I moved forward making adjustments as I went. And then the colors started going off but because I was inserting a totally different color pallette into the pattern still I slogged on, improvising as I went. Finally, as I was trying to keep track of all my little adjustments I said “what the heck am I doing?!?” (actually I thought along slightly more scatalogical lines but “whatevs”, as my 16 year old would say). I had reached the breaking point.
So my final word for my fellow fudgers is, when you are paying more attention to all your little adjustments than you are to the actual pattern itself it’s time to gird your loins, rip back. and then reward yourself with a glass of wine.
One of the hardest things for me to do is decide which knitting projects to take with me when I travel. When I am home I happily sit surrounded with baskets filled to the brim with projects at various stages of completion (or, more accurately, lack of completion). If I get bored with one I only have to put it down and reach into one of the baskets. It’s almost like the old “Let’s Make a Deal” with Monty Hall “Let’s see what’s in basket number # 3!”
When I travel my packing goes something like this: I carefully chose what I want to bring and pack it neatly the night before. Then the morning of departure (not matter how early) sees me stuffing more and more things into my already strained suitcase as I anticipate every possible contingency (Freak cold wave in summer! 100 year flood in the desert Southwest! Daring midnight swim in the North Sea!)
And the same is true for knitting. Generally I like to travel with two small-ish projects. But then I start to think that I might be able to make some good headway on that king-sized afghan, or that if by some miracle I start to knit as fast as Jane Elliott and finish those two projects I’ll need at least another two projects to work on.
And let’s not even talk about the possibilities (probabilities) of what can happen if I walk into a local yarn store.
Currently I am packing for a trip to Florida to visit my mother. That translates into lots of knitting time. In this particular case my knitting packing is being dictated by the fact that I am behind on my Great American Afghan squares. Ergo, I am forcing my hand by only bringing my afghan squares with me. But then I start to feel like a whiny toddler and don’t want to do what I SHOULD be doing, I want to knit what I WANT to be doing. Do not take any odds as to whether I will end up going with just my afghan squares.
More problematic is my next trip which is to Nantucket with friends which means not as much knitting time so I should only bring one project. And that limited time could be fairly wine-soaked so the project should be simple but I need to be working on those fair isle mittens for an upcoming class and then there’s the LYS that I love (not as much as I love WY but I still like to support them) and then there’s the fact of only being allowed two carry ons which really screws everything up.
So what is the answer? Seriously, I’m asking, what is the answer? I have none.