Thursday, February 17, 2011

PTO, Codeine and Button Bands

I just logged off for the day a little bit ago. Which on the one hand is, you know, like, wow, really, at 1:30? redefining ‘bankers hours’ much, there?

…but on the other hand, seeing as how I’m ON VACATION TODAY, well, you know…yeah.

See, I forgot to turn on my out of office notification yesterday. So I logged on “real quick” this morning at about 8:30 to do that. And there was this email with a spreadsheet and ‘can you look into this’ and I went, huh…that IS kinda weird…welllllllll, just a real-quick look… and then FOUR HOURS LATER I went, “OK! This is the VERY LAST one-last-thing, and I really mean it!!!!”

I find this to be both an occupational hazard, and continual reassurance that I picked a pretty good career for myself. It keeps being interesting and absorbing and I-don’t-mind-working for me; it’s like doing puzzles. Why does this lead to that? How come X because Y? Where did they get that?

…and then the ‘a-HA!’ and feeling of smug self-congratulations when you figure it out.

Dang, I’m clever…!

Of course, people who manage to completely forget that they have upcoming PTO probably shouldn’t be going around patting themselves on the back for cleverness.

Yeah, I did. I managed to forget all about it for about a week. I blame being sick, and also the codeine cough syrup. Which, especially in the early days when I was also still kind of woozy from fever and lack of sustenance, hit me so hard in the brain that…that…that…well.

You know the VIP cardigan I’ve been working for approximately the last fifty years, give or take an epoch? Well, it’s finished, and I’d love to show you a picture of it, but my laptop won’t recognize the camera card…except to reformat it. “Oh, hey, I don’t know what this is…so, I’ll go ahead and reformat it for you! Oh, I’m sorry, did you want whatever was on that? Yeeeeah, sorry about that…hey! Ouch! Quit banging me against the wall like that, I’m a delicate piece of precision engineering!!!!!”

But I digress.

So I thought finishing the sweater would be a great use of my sick time. Something that could help me feel productive while in actuality I was sitting on my backside.

Which it was.

Except…well. The button bands.

There were…minor technical difficulties there.

The directions said to cast on X stitches, knit them separately (but not cast them off), and then graft the live stitches to the fronts with a crochet slip-stitch. OK. No problem, right?


First, the button bands were too long…but I didn’t realize this and cheerfully grafted them neatly to the fronts…and up the collar…aaaaaaaand pretty much all the way up to the point where the top button would have been right beneath the earlobe of the wearer.

For bonus points, I didn’t realize this until I was about to graft on the collar and was all, …???...

For even more bonus points…I’d done the one side with the slip-stitch thing, so that side was all, “Zzzzzzzzzzip!!” and bingo, it was removed.

…the other side hadn’t gone so well. The graft just wouldn’t work right. It was lumpy and dumpy and ugly. Sooooooooo…I…did a very neat and also very thorough traditional grafting on it. It was beautiful, and perfect, and absolutely flat and “invisible” and all like that.

And it took approximately three centuries to unpick. {weeping}

This should have been a warning to me, but no. I pulled them out, went, “Huh!”, squinted at the directions again, and then cast on exactly the same way, knit exactly the same band, tried to smoosh it into the narrower space and then went, …oh…it’s too long… because what a revelation this was.


SO THEN, I said, “OK, you know what? Not feeling the love for figuring out why I have perfect gauge BUT am ending up with a significantly longer button band, I’m just going to be clever [uh-oh] and do it the old-fashioned way, to wit, picking up the button band straight from the front and knitting it!”

Which worked great on the first side.

And then I took a hit of cough syrup, settled back into my chair, picked up and knitted the second button band.

All the way around the right armhole.

And didn’t realize what I’d done until the next morning, when I crawled downstairs in seven kinds of agony, a layering of stuff like “normal” back and hip pain exacerbated by not being able to take the “normal” stuff for it due to the not normal Other Stuff I was taking for the cough/cold PLUS I’d pulled a muscle in my stomach and popped a something-or-other between two ribs with the coughing, so, yeah, owies…and I picked up the sweater…and OHMYGAH, it was like, BIG! NEON! LETTERS! FLASHING! ERROR! ERROR! ERROR!!!!!

It was a see-from-across-the-room mistake, and I just stood there holding the sweater and asking myself, “OK. Laugh, or cry? Or possibly scream like a demented lunatic and hurl it out the nearest window?”

So I folded it, very neatly and carefully, turned my back on it, made coffee, took medicines, sat still for a good twenty minutes with my hands folded in my lap and my head bowed, meditating and breathing and thinking happy thoughts about kittens and lollipops and unicorns and forest scenes and such, until I felt like I’d probably live.

And then I tore it all out – again – and, calmly and as if it had never happened, picked it up properly along the right front, and serenely knit the eight rows with the precisely places buttonholes and cast it off in pattern. And then I attached the collar, and ran in the eleventy-mazillion ends, and finished the buttonholes because Nancie Wiseman would approve (I took a class from her at Stitches West once – it was righteous…she is very nit-pic…no, wait! Knit-picky [hahahahahahaha, I slay me!]), and attached the very cool buttons I got from Brazen Button and I love them because they are steampunk…but not too steampunk.

Like this.

And then I was all yay, me! because it is one damned good-looking sweater.

Which I’d show you.

If my computer weren’t eating the photos off the SIM card instead of uploading them. (But, I’m not bitter.) (OK, maybe just a little.) (Although that fugly picture of me somebody took while I was sick? Not sad about that one getting chewed up, thank-you-very-much.)

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