Dear Mother-of-God. I. Am. Done.

It took a dogged persistence and a weekend of focus, but I managed to get fracture complete before my friend arrived for the conference.

I’m not sure why this was such torture for me. The pattern is easy to follow; the size isn’t so overwhelming that I was afraid the end would never come; the yarn is luscious to the touch. And yet… I was glad to weave in the ends of this one.

It’s interesting; it has some components of Westknit’s Clockwork, but more broken up and really, more delicate. If you’ll recall, this is the shawl for my friend, Goodwitch. She fell in love with the yarn and the colors when we were yarnhopping in Austin (actually, only about 15 minutes from her home. Who knew?) and just thought the piece was light and lovely. She loved the colors because they reminded her of the beach. I loved the color names for what they said about the piece: “Cedar — I am grateful for the wisdom of my ancestors” and “Peace Within — I remind myself that peace is found within.” I thought they were so very calming, and the silk/wool blend was just perfect to give a friend who lives in the middle of Texas. I started knitting this as a thank you for her wonderful hospitality time and time again but, in an odd turn of fate, Glenda’s father passed shortly thereafter, and I was struck about the added significance of the Cedar color in providing some comfort for her dad’s passing.

Memorial Day weekend, I realized I needed to make some serious progress on this project if it was going to be done in time for Goodwitch’s arrival, so I put in a lot of time over the holiday weekend. Finished the first set of stripes, the second full block of blue, and the first full pattern block. For some reason, I had an extraordinarily hard time switching to the pattern; somewhere I’d lost 2 stitches, so I had to incorporate them somewhere inconspicuous, which meant frogging several rows, tinking down, and reknitting. Finally I made it back on track, and finally made it to the point where I’m noticing that the rows are considerably shorter than they were, and that makes me happy as well. As I continued up the shawl, I I substituted shorter cords on my circulars.

A note about myself: not really sure I love the bottom up idea. Not in shawls, not in sweaters, not really in anything having to do with knitting. I think it’s because if something goes wrong and the unthinkable happens and you run out of yarn, you are suddenly up shit creak without a paddle or a skein to save your life. I would much rather do top down knowing that my rows were getting longer at the end, but that if I had to, I could end early, or camouflage my error as a decorative border.

I was a tad concerned that this was not gonna be big enough. Until I blocked it (last minute, of course–in fact, about 10 hours before I was going to see her). ZOMGBBQWTF. Thank god I only made a small!

As you can see from the picture, it blocked out bigger than my dining room table. Seriously. And that magical question, as always, is “How does soaking fibers and then stretching them out to dry end up making a deliciously soft finished object?” The world may never know. But what I do know is that the tumultuousness of the emotions that ran across her face when I presented her with this scarf, and explained it’s significance, was beautiful and overwhelming and raw and real. And to know that something I’ve made can cause such an effect on the recipient is an amazing experience, and it is well worth the love, time, and effort put into it. If I only see that effect once in my life, it is enough.

Love to you, Glenda. May you wear it and remember your father with love.

Anyone who has spent any time knitting whatsoever knows the feeling of a project that has firmly kicked your ass. In fact, it might be the death of you but, more stubborn than smart, you trudge on, resolve and determination to finish alternately strengthening and deteriorating, depending on the day, the mood, the weather. Dryad is mine. Don’t get me wrong; I love this scarf. It’s a Jared Flood pattern, full of amazingly intertwined cables. While he’s done it in tweed (seriously, he’s not Brooklyn Tweed for nothing), I couldn’t afford this scarf in tweed—I swear to you, it’s six feet long. (Okay I looked it up, figuring I was being waaaaay too dramatic. And the long version? The one I’m aiming for? 90 inches long. Go again, do the math, I’ll wait here. AHA! That’s 7’5″—seven feet, five inches!!! A foot-and-a-half longer than my delusions have led me to believe!!!! So clearly, I’m not insane. This is one hella long scarf, people.)

Now while I love cables, this pattern is a 24 row repeat, and you have to do 21 of them. That’s not a small number. (Over 500 rows just for the basic cable repeats, in case you’re too overwhelmed with my brilliance to do the math.) So, like any decent knitter worth her stash, I seem to have several projects going at the same time—something lacy, something complex (this pattern), something mind numbingly easy to knit while traveling/tv watching/knit knighting. You know the drill. So I would work on this in spurts, but apparently I’m taking a bit long for my friend iAudrey who recently snarkily innocently commented, “Haven’t you been working on that scarf a couple years now? And you’re what, halfway? Only a couple more years to go!” (And by-the-way, Ms. Snarkypants, I just checked my Ravelry projects and this was started Oct 4, 2010, so it’s NOT two years old. Yet. SO THERE!) Granted, it doesn’t help that I drop it so I can do something else, but I do enjoy the pattern. In small doses. I’m also working this in Berocco’s Remix, which has a tweedy look but is all reused fibers, which is cool. However, the yarn has little give, acting much like cotton, and I find that wears on me after a time. I like knitting with give. Whatever.

Last week I went to Austin, and decided to take Dryad as my lone project. I was determined to make progress, but wanted to be realistic. So I took the project in hand, didn’t take more yarn and, again per iAudrey, I “stitched that bitch.” I stitched that bitch on the flights to Austin, I stitched that bitch in my friend’s car to and from the conference, I stitched that bitch during breaks in the conference, I stitched that bitch in airports waiting for a ride home. I stitched that bitch until I was all out of my second ball of yarn and, lo and behold, I am actually at the length (13 repeats) of the small version. BOOYAH!

I am calling that a win.

So I’ve joined the next ball of yarn and I’m in a good place. I’m still not done, but I can see that I will most likely take this all the way through to the end of this skein, no matter how many repeats I’ve gotten through (it should be about nineteen or so, since I seem to get about six repeats per skein). Maybe, by that time, I will want to go the extra mile (or two repeats, whichever is shorter; probably the mile). But I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay with letting it go, too. And then I can finally wear it. Or use it to save orphans who have fallen over a cliff.

Your mileage may vary. And the peanut gallery can just shut it, Ms. Snarkypants.

Jared Flood's Dryad scarf

Dryad scarf. In progress. Ad infinitum.

So, I’m working on Westknit’s Clockwork scarf, and I’m loving it. This project was truly born out of the spur of the moment. I’d finished the Ironic Hipster hat out of Indigodragonfly’s Yak! Bam! and had fallen in love with the feel of it. Unfortunately for Kim, I saw her online and started whining about needing a new project. Unfortunately for me, Kim had just dyed a dozen new colors, and suggested this as a lovely accent piece to the hat. Even better, this is a relatively simple pattern to repeat, and I am enjoying the easy knit. It flew to Austin (where I originally started the orange/brown as the dominant color, then changed my mind) and knit in #heweb11, and choral concerts, and TEDxPSU. It’s a great travel piece.

A couple of notes: A slipped stitch selvedge is pretty much a given mod, with the switching rows of colors (just like on the Noro scarf). I’m somewhat surprised he hadn’t built that in, frankly, but maybe that’s standard operating procedure for real knitters. Who knows?

So fast forward to Sunday night, where I’ve just finished the first section. As I’ve really taken advantage of the fact that this is knit knit knit, I’ve had to correct a couple spots where I wasn’t paying attention and caught two threads in a stitch. Relatively easy fixes, and I was still feeling pretty good about being able to correct on the fly. Now that we’re at the point where we pull out and reset the stitch markers, I thought it would be nice to get my bearings and count my stitches just to make sure I’m on the right track. Unbelievably, I’m 22 stitches off. WTF???!?

Dammit. Who thought that was a good idea???

So at this point I should have 273 stitches, and I only have 251. Twenty-two missing stitches. Which, if think about it, is really 11 twice, which makes me suspect that on one of the gray stripes back at the beginning, I missed an increase on each end, which would totally work out to 22 missing stitches. (I think. Honestly, it hurts my brain to think about this too hard, mostly because I don’t want to find out that it’s worse than I think it is right at this moment. Best to keep my head in the sand a bit longer.) Of course, now I am going to have to break down and find out whether my missing stitches are evenly spread on either side, or if I have an uneven extra on one end.

I say again, dammit. This is what happens when you think you can be all smart and just go with the flow and multitask. I must admit, I’m not nearly as upset as I probably should be, so that’s something. Or maybe I’m just full of shit. Yeah, that’s probably it.


Update, 2:40AM: So apparently I need to remember that counting is best done in the quiet. The first time I counted was by tens (and then marking them on my iPhone’s stitch marker, so I wouldn’t forget), and I was in the middle of a TEDx break. Stoopid girl. I went back, now, to count stitches per section, and what did I find? I was off by 2–TWO–stitches on one end. *Facepalm* Apparently I missed accounting for a couple of those ten groups I was counting. Go figure. Anyhow, anticipated crisis averted. Fixed and done, and moving on.