Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Knitting ... Exhausting?

The border ... oops, the edging ... of the Shetland Stole has finally arrived. And my heart is pounding so hard after working the first repitition of the edging that I need to take a pondering break. What, you ask (and I ask) is so exhausting about edging? It's only 18 stitches or so deep, and a repeat is one eighth the size of the border, and it's only edging, after all.

Let me tell you. A lot goes into edging. Before you even touch the yarn (or while you're touching the yarn) you must decide Sewn, or Knit on? (Knit on). Which side of the stole faces up? (Um, this side. No that side. No, better go with this side.) How do I cast on for it? Cable cast on from the last edge of the border? (No, that would be that side. And the instructions say to break yarn. . Invisible cast on. Where's the waste yarn? AAAAAGH!

But wait ... if I'm going to do a passable job of grafting the end to the beginning, maybe I should try that method that uses waste yarn to knit a few pattern rows? But there are extra pattern rows before the pattern really starts. Are those it? Why are they there? Which way am I going? Who is on first? Why didn't Memphis win last night, anyways?

Deep breath. And another.

Okay. Cast on invisibly 18 stitches. Knit two rows plain in almost invisible yarn, then switch to a dark blue almost invisible yarn (and it better not give the main yarn any ideas about developing holes when it's blocked. That blue yarn has bad habits.) and knit a set-up row to the four set-up rows the pattern calls for. Straighten stole out on lap.


After two minutes, it was determined that it was the end of yarn left over from starting border #2. It was not a snag. It was not a snag.

Back to the edging. Next step is to knit the first set-up row as called for in the pattern. Easy peasy. But wait ... I'm knitting right to left, and this row is supposed to be left to right. Rip last two rows, and re-do. (Repeat this step twice while trying to juggle the idea of a set-up row to the set-up row and figure out which direction to go in. Also, put spare DPN away every time a row is finished, and pull it back out of the case every time the next row is started, since it's not quite time to use the circs yet.) Finally get the first row done, and pointing in the right direction. Start in on the second row. Forget all patterning. Tink back. Work row 2 with patterning.

Take another deep breath. Row three goes fine. Breathe a small sigh of relief. Work row 4. Tink back. Even rows are SUPPOSED to be plain rows. The patterning is supposed to be on the row as you knit TOWARDS the stole, and the plain rows are knitting towards the edge of the edging. Whoever wrote this pattern didn't know that.

Reknit row 4, correctly. Start in on row 5, and realize that the row numbers are at the edge of the pattern that you knit that row from. Think how clever a notion that is, congratulate the publisher ... and tink back. Odd rows are not supposed to be patterned in this stole. Jot mental note to self to include that in the blog post brewing.

Knit row 5, correctly. Knit row 6, tink row 6, and knit it with patterning. Old habits die hard. Toy with the idea of rewriting the edging to conform to old habits. Realize there are 87.6 repeats to go, and decide to move forward.

Around row 11, the pattern is starting to make sense. I'm beginning to get the rhythm of it and start intuitively knowing what's next. By the time row 15 rolls around, intuition hasn't been right yet ... but it's going more smoothly. My heart is pounding, but I'm not gasping for air and wiping sweat off my furrowed brow. (I'm sure it's furrowed. It had to be furrowed.) A small spark of warmth begins to glow in my heart; I know if I'm starting to think about grasping the pattern, the rough part is over. Then I finish off one repeat and jump back...

to the four set-up rows. I contemplate using a Sharpie to blot them out forever. But that would require getting up and losing my place.

And *that* is why knitting can be exhausting.

That doesn't include ripping back the first six rows of the second repeat because a yarn over was on the wrong side of a K2tog. Nor does it take into account the fact that if one EXACTLY follows the directions for the first edge of lace, one must fudge 4 or 5 stitches in the border right out of existence. I thought I'd be safe if I followed the attaching instructions as writ, but no ... fudging is mandatory.

Good thing I'm skilled at fudging.

So far, so good. I've a whole evening of knitting before me, and I'm seven rows into the corner blurb. A friend is sending me a box of unloved yarn and an unloved knitting book, and I'm expecting four *other* packages in the next week.

And the forecast is calling for 5-9 inches of snow. In April. The chances of the forecast being correct is slim, but it's a lovely thought. Tomorrow is the *one* day this week I was planning on being out and about ... but we can manage a bit of snow. Think cold, everyone!


Pensguys said...

Yes, it CAN be exhausting! Just think though...I do all that thinking and I'm only knitting a sock most of the time! LOL At least you have something BIG and fabulous to be exhausted over.

Carolyn said...

I'm dumbfounded. I never thought of that possibility. No wonder people get Second Sock Syndrome!

The mind continues to boggle. I'd better go back and knit some more calming lace. 68 inches of straightaway are calling me until the next corner.

Shan said...

Oh man does this remind me of the infamous Print o' the Wave Stole. Tink, tink, tink some more, then rip, rip, and finally frog. It was unbelievable. Stupid edgings.