My god, I am behind.

I mean, seriously, idiotically, behind. Behind in knitting, behind in blogging about knitting, behind in blocking knitting I’ve been behind in blogging about.

You get the idea.

Over the last three or four months, I have latched onto my travel knitting like a drowning woman desperate for a floating piece of anything to save her from being claimed by the ocean. Somewhere, somehow, this knitting thing has gone from “something people say I should try” to “this is stupid” to “yay knit night and time with the girls” to “I’ve got this interesting pattern I’d like to try” to “I really need to spend some time curled up knitting” to “I’m flying out in 30 minutes–WHERE’S MY GODDAMN KNITTING??” I’m not sure how it happened, actually, but I’m sure not sorry about it. Knitting is what I reach for to relax with. Knitting is what I take along to focus on in waiting rooms, rather than chasing my tail, getting all angsty about whatever I’m waiting on. You might say it makes me a kinder, gentler person.

What I never anticipated was that having travel knitting (well, actually, I never expected I’d have anything called travel knitting, or more than one project at a time…but I digress. again.) would make me a better knitter. For several reasons.

  1. I’ve learned it’s good to have an easy project ready to offset the more complicated project. When I need a break with the complex lace patterns, I can switch gears and feel more sure of my pace. That’s a good thing.
  2. If I get tired of a pattern and don’t have something else to pick up, I am less likely to keep knitting, and more likely to lose interest. Different projects provide different challenges.
  3. I wait a lot. I didn’t realize it. But I am also an impatient person. Having something in my hands keeps me from throttling someone. Or, conversely, keeps me focused on stitches rather than the very real possibility of bad news.
  4. My mistakes on a travel piece are usually more controlled. I find it and I’m forced to deal with it. I’ve learned how to tink a single repeat down through several rows, fix the error, then reknit back up to the current row. Without frogging the entire damn eight rows. Or ten. That’s a valuable skill set right there.
  5. I’ve learned when it’s best to just frog the entire damned thing and start fresh.
  6. I learn how many people knit. Or appreciate knitting. Or know someone close to them who knits. Many an onlooker or flight attendant has commented on my work in progress. That’s a pretty damned cool intro to new people. Gets you better service, too.

So the latest travel piece was the Holden Shawlette, knit out of madtosh in Fathom–this beautifully deep blue color I’ve been simply dying to use. If I did things right, I’d have just enough yardage for it with maybe ten yards left over (if I was lucky), as long as I took out a couple of useless yarn overs in the pattern. Thankfully, that was all it took, and I probably have what would appear to be around ten yards left. I was shocked.

Holden kept me occupied to and from Arkansas for a couple of conferences (the HighEdWeb Arkansas regional and WordCamp Fayetteville, if you must know). While I try not to choose anything that will get me in trouble, I was tricked a couple times with the deceptively simple lace pattern. Easy? Yes. Not so much if you assume it’s easy and get to talking and forgetting about keeping track of where you are, however. Thus, learning three rows up that you forgot several yarn overs and have to tink down and fix, then reknit up again (number 4) does get old after a while. Yes, I was cut down by my hubris. And learned to pay attention, dammit, even with an easy pattern. About four of those fixes fixed me of that tendency. But learning to take the entire 13 stitch repeat down so I could rebuild the pattern back up? That was a priceless lesson which is going to do me in good stead down the road.

I still need to block Holden, and take pictures as well. But at least it’s done, and I’ve learned how to do a picot bindoff (blerg, but nice) and even live to tell teh tale. I can guarantee this is one of those pieces which are even more amazingly beautiful blocked. Hopefully, mine will follow suit.

Until then.


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