Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Disaster was averted

OK, these are my first steeks. I know I’ve said that at least {counts on fingers} {removes shoes and socks, counts on toes} {glares at gawking coworker} {gives up and guesses} five hundred thousand billion times by now.

But…disaster was avoided by a margin of approximately one quarter of one half of a centimeter.

OK. So. I had pieced together pretty impressively wrong directions on how to do the conflabbed steeks. These are the things that happen when you’re assembling your how-to from old books and the Internet.

I’m down in the breakroom cheerfully casting on my steeks in the green yarn, right? And as I’m going I’m thinking, Gee, this…just…doesn’t feel right…

I tell myself firmly to keep the mental chatter down. It will all become clear, I say to myself, in a moment, when I’ve finished the casting on the steeks.

Only it doesn’t become clear. It becomes only the more muddied.

I don’t see how this alternate color isn’t going to show. The destructions clearly state: “In alt. color, cast on 6 stitches – the first five are steek stitches and the sixth the edge stitch.” But I’m looking at this and I’m thinking that there is simply no way that I’m going to end up with that green yarn not peeking out in some way or other. Hmm. And the other instructions I had found in one of my ancient books of knitting lore had been pretty vague on that point – all they had said was to make sure the alt. colors were easy to spot for ease of cutting. Tack down to the wrong side, they said, but…how to keep that easy to spot color from being spotted inappropriately after said tacking down? Hmmmmmm…

I also don’t see how I’m supposed to do the alternate color thing from a technical point of view, on account of because, see, the alternate color looks like maybe it’s supposed to be Intarsia, but that doesn’t work because it ends on the side and…hmm…so how to get the yarn from there back to here, and, but if I’m supposed to break off and rejoin the yarn, well, in what way is that cool and fast, which is the whole (alleged) purpose of steeks?

And, finally, I just don’t see how I’m supposed to cut this open without cutting open the stranded yarn. I mean, the whole idea here is that I can continue knitting in the round and then just cut open these steeks for the armhole. So, if I’ve got stranded yarn that I’ve got to individually cut open and tack down, each damned one of them, see, what I’m not getting is…

How the {bleep} is that supposed to work? Huh? Huh? HUH?!

So I stopped. I backed away. I thought to myself, Self! This really doesn’t seem right. We’re going to investigate a little further, because so help me Dog if I screw this up, I will just have to give up knitting and the Internet and go into hiding somewhere in Aruba.

Tempting as hiding out in Aruba for the rest of my life sounds right about now, I opted to dig a little deeper. I snuck back to my desk, hunkered down and snarled “LUNCH! Go ‘way!!” at anybody who came near me clutching pieces of paper with lines and circles and large red letters which read, “WTF?! – ask Tama to research this ASAP!” on them.

I bashed around the Internet marveling at the number of people who whine or gush at great length about steeks without actually talking at all about how to do them until finally…I found what I was looking for.

It isn’t an alternate color. It’s alternating colors. I take the black and white, and I do a little checkerboard with them. That’s my steek. Then I’m going to put a firm row of stitches up along either side of the midpoint and cut between it. Alternating same colors as the rest of the sweater thank you colors.

Like this. I warn you, this is an even geekier knitting site than my blog is turning into. Lord. What happened to talking about my kids and finances?

Well, we’ll come back to those after I finish this @*^&@(^*@&^(*&@&^!!*&^@ing sweater. I promise. There are way more than enough knitting blogs in the world where people fixate on such faaaaaaaaaaaascinating things as whether you should increase by making a backward loop on the needle or picking up between two stitches or by using an P-Gaelic (not to be confused with the Q-Gaelic, which would probably end up causing somebody’s sheep to develop ingrown toenails or something if attempted under these conditions) incantation while jumping up and down on one food stark nekkid in your backyard during a lunar eclipse waving a 6x6 inch woolen gauge swatch frantically over your head.

But I and only I have the Denizens to keep me endlessly frustrated, amused, delighted and sometimes downright panicky, and a peculiar fixation on Things Regarding Domestic Finance. In real life, they’re a lot more interesting to me than my knitting.

However…at the moment…I’m digressing. Again.



I hadn’t done anything too wild and crazy to work around the implausibility of the way I was attempting to do these things. I’d stopped the moment what I thought was clear turned out to be Mississippi mud.


Whew, whew, whew.

Unfortunately, I’ve already used my lunch (half) hour on the wrong way, so I will indeed have to pick up the pieces on the train. Which may mean picking them up while smooshed against the wall by a giant or while trying to tell the nice lady next to me that NO, IT IS NOT A FREAKIN’ PURSE, WILL YOU STOP ASKING ME IF IT IS A PURSE!

I’m serious. I have been asked by not one, not two, not three, but four – FOUR! –people in the last three days if what I’m making is a purse. I’m starting to wonder if maybe WalMart has put out a knitted purse kit or something that everybody’s auntie is making, because there is this weird knitted purse fixation in the Bay Area right now.

But, undaunted and vastly relieved at the aversion of near catastrophe, I carry on! Only one more hour (or so) of work-work, and then I can get back to the important business of My First Steeks.

Have I mentioned that these are my first steeks? I have? Really?


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