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Want to See Something Not-So-Neat?

How about knitting striped sleeves two at a time?  That’s four balls of yarn perpetually turning on your lap like a vortex.

I have come up with a way to lower the crazy a notch or two:  tucking each non-working ball into its sleeve until needed.

This is for those of us who’ve discovered the ease of magic loop and the speed of two at a time and refuse to lose a touch of either speed or ease as we hurtle through the queue.

Anyway, I have another aspect of the dark underbelly of the knitting community to reveal.  I’m warning you, it’s not pretty…

These are my unwoven ends on Sothern.  While achieving maximum speed and ease in knitting fair isle I saved all of my end weaving for the end.  I also saved money by using stashed fingering weight yarn for the yellow.  The fact that it had to be tripled then wound into a ball wasn’t about to stop me.  I looked really smart with all of those ends and a gigantic ball of yellow yarn hanging from my sweater for a couple of months. Really smart.

After finishing my first sleeve, it just seemed too short.  I had checked my gauge periodically and knew it was a bit off, but this was a big difference.  So I wove in ends and blocked it to smooth it out.  I probably gained 3 inches by doing that.  Mind you, most of that length was already there, just wrinkled up in all of the fair isle floats, etc.  See my late night relief photo, below.

Once I was sure the entire sweater would be long enough, I decided to amend my hasty sloppiness and weave in every end before starting the second sleeve.   From that point forward, I have been weaving in the ends as I go because the number 6 is so much less intimidating than the number 666.

I had some ideas for how I would handle things if my sleeves were too short, none of which involved violence, but they weren’t my preference.  I’m so glad they weren’t necessary. This was definitely a case of Trust the Pattern!

This was probably my most challenging knit of the year, but not because it was a complicated pattern.  It could be the fact that my working on it was interrupted with Christmas gifts and a home project I ‘ll be writing about soon.  Or maybe it was just the amount of space I seem to take up when I do fair isle.  Seriously, I should list the whole sofa as one of my notions on my projects page.

Most likely, it was some heavy thoughts that have been brewing inside of me, making it hard for me to concentrate.  As I “worked these thoughts out” while knitting on the fair isle, I found the project and the solutions to these difficulties becoming synonymous in my mind.  Knitting, like running, is very analogous to me.  I think, “If I can do this (complete a certain project), then I can also do that (a certain emotional task).”  I’m not the only person to do that.  Read Paul.  So saying, “I finished this fair isle beauty!” reminds me that I can survive other hard tasks, too.  I found myself putting off lots of things until the sweater, and the issues I’m facing, were worked out.  So the fact that I have basically finished this project gives me confidence I can solve or handle any other difficulties that arise.

When that last sleeve was bound off and all of the sweater blocking across our dinner table, I felt like I could run a marathon.  I was really thinking big.  Things like: “Now I can walk the dog again, my sweater is finished…” or  “With the sweater finished, I can start brushing my hair again… ” and  “Want some wine, the sweater is finished?”

I guess this post ends with something neat after all. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m pretty proud of how it’s turned out.  There’s a post about styling this knit by the designer on the Holla Knits blog.  It has nice photos not taken on an old towel across my table.  Check it out.  I can’t believe I’m about to have one of these for my very own.

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  1. I've been really stressed recently over little things that shouldn't concern me so much. I haven't really been knitting, though, and I suppose that's why I'm stressed and at a loss about them. I'm glad you've found answers and relief in your knitting. I'm going to pull out mine. 🙂 Your Sothern is going to be lovely!

  2. Thank you, Vanessa, I'm hoping so. I notice when I'm worried about something that taking time to knit is like taking time to think. My mind calms and I process things better. Even if I can't "solve" the problem, I find that I accept it better with an FO to show for it. I hope your Christmas is extra blessed and that you find that quiet space in your day to deal with things and create things all at once.

  3. I have never knitted two at a time striped sleeves or a complete fair isle sleeve before so this was an interesting post to read. Really happy that you didn't need to resort to other ideas for the Sothern sleeve. It's looking terrific so far. I have the opposite problem when it comes to stress and knitting. When something is bothering me, my whole knitting mojo goes down. I tend to compartmentalize knitting as my happy place. Wish it were otherwise because there's too much knitting needing to get done!

  4. Well, I wasn't even supposed to knit those sleeves in the round. I just started them that way without thinking and so I followed through. It may have made it harder for me to seam the pieces together later. But otherwise the fair isle wasn't that hard.
    I think when I'm under stress, knitting is one of the only things I seem to be capable of doing like usual. Maybe because I can go on auto pilot. Of course, that's probably why I didn't read my instructions closely for the sleeves.

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