Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yet more knitting blather

I have reached a significant milestone this morning. It is time {dramatic pause} to place the steek stitches.

This is so momentous an occasion that I may even take a lunch (half) hour today so that I can sit in the lunchroom and cuss at cry over concentrate on my project for half an hour while I place the steek stitches.

What I've got to do is very straightforward – so naturally, it terrifies me. It's like paying the bills. Bill paying does not involve hard math. It is, in fact, easy math. The kind of math that really should be so basic to my nature as to be laughable. Ha! Bills! Ha ha! But instead, every month I have this Period of Terror, a few hours of heart-pounding worry while I go through the Handle-It-Handle-It (pronounced: Hanel-eet-hanel-eet) Drawer shrieking in horror at the sheer volume of the bills therein, and the lack of volume in the ‘deposit’ row of the checkbook. This is also the time of month when I make wild promises about how I will not spend another cent, not one red cent!!, on anything that can’t be eaten until May 15, 2066.

But I digress.

The steeks are really very simple. Very, very simple. See, all you do is, break off the yarn you’re currently using and add in a contrasting yarn. It won’t show in the end, and it should be something you will find easy to see / count stitches on. I’ve chosen leftover dark green wool that I used to make a sweater for Eldest earlier this year. I chose it because it is kind of ‘sticky’, like the Merino I’m using for the actual sweater. I have this theory (oh dear, another Tama Theory) that stickier yarn will be better because it won’t be as likely to go whipping off on me when Cutting Time comes.

So I’m supposed to cast on six stitches and rejoin my working black and white yarns; work half of the round, cast on another twelve steek stitches in the lovely sticky green, and then work the rest of the round, casting on the other six steek stitches at the end and viola – I have steek stitches.

Then you merrily knit around and around and around for another 19 centimeters, knitting the steeks in the contrasting color, then add more steek stitches for the neck, and blah blah blah you get to the end of it, run a row of stitches to hold things together, and then you cut open the steek stitches and stitch or crochet down their ends, pick up the sleeves from around the steeks and knit them down to the cuffs and somehow, magically, it turns into a sweater than can be worn.

By a human. Worn, by a human. A human with two arms in roughly a normal spot.


Not to whine or anything (she said, promptly whining), but have I mentioned that I have a cold? Oh yes! I’ve got a cold. I didn’t feel this crappy at 4:30, when I was applying my war paint; nor did I feel this crappy at 5:30, when I was motoring out my driveway heading for the train station.

But by 6:08, when the train was merrily chugging its way into the hills and the entire sleeper car was ready to throttle the lady behind me for asking endless questions about what I was knitting exactly (“…oh, really, a sweater? Because I thought it looked like it might be a purse, you know, those purses people are knitting these days? Because I thought the bottom was seamed or something, couldn’t you seam it and make it a purse?”), I suddenly realized that my entire forehead from the bridge of my nose to my hairline felt as though it were planning to explode all over the train car. Don’t ask me how it could have gotten that bad “sneakily”, but it did.

After a moment’s reflection, I realized that not only were my sinuses pounding, but so was my back.

And of course, the moment my back got its moment in the limelight, the rest of my body began chiming in.

By the time I got to BART an hour later, I was a snarling ball of sniffling misery. Anyway, thank Dawg I had a package of Kleenex in my laptop case; also, I would like to give a big thank-you shout out to Costco, for carrying Ricola in the warehouse-sized cartons.

All of which is leading up to the fact that, on my lunch hour, I am going to be KUI – Knitting Under the Influence…of Aleve Cold medicine.

Tune in tomorrow, sports fans, for the long and sobbing explanation of how I managed to knit a bottom into my sweater, so now it is the Olympic Purse…

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