Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The lament of the sleeves or how to avoid infidelity

As I've discussed here before, I have a cardinal rule about knitting sweaters - make the sleeves first and make them both at the same time! Well, in my reckless abandon to prove my husband sweater worthy, I totally ignored that rule and now that the front and the back of the manly St. Mawes are done, I'm stuck with the arduous, long term commitment of the stinking sleeves. Manly sleeves are so long! You know we've descended from monkeys when you knit a sweater for a man.

As I knit and knit, and increase and increase at this late stage of the game, I'm reminded of the simple reasons why knitting the sleeves first is so gratifying. Ah, hindsight is indeed 20/20.

When you knit the sleeves first, you start out with very few stitches. You whip right through the ribbing and then for the very first time, you get to try the pattern. The excitement builds as the pattern unfolds over VERY FEW STITCHES. It's usually short rows of furious knitting before the full pattern emerges and voila, your sleeves are happening. If your pattern goes cattywompous (it is your first time after all), you have very few stitches and potentially very few rows to rip.

Since it's a NEW PROJECT and your enthusiasum is at an all time high, the sleeves are done in no time. Who doesn't go on from there, I ask you, to knit at least the back? No one stops at the sleeves and says, "I'm done with you and I'm on to the next project."

Conversely, however, how many of us, even those of us who have dedicated our knitting lives to sweaters, have said, "I'm done with the front and the back and I'm so bored, I'm putting this sucker away."

Okay, so the front and the back of the St. Mawes are done. They've been done, in fact, for some weeks. I lay them out and admire them, I put them up against my husband repeatedly to gloat about the fit. I've even contemplated blocking them. I've memorized the shaping for the sleeves. I've measured my husband's ape-like arms over and over again, hoping that they will shrink before I knit one more sleeve row. Twenty-six inches, sixty-six centimeters, when will it end?

And then in a blink of an eye, with just the slightest provocation, and with only a moment's pang of guilt, there's something else on the very needles on which you were knitting the sleeves. Isn't that how infidelity starts? Isn't it always a caught up in the passion, a damn the consequences moment when infidelity results? I'd like to say that I'm stronger, that I can resist the intoxicating lure of another, but I can't...and I didn't.

Here's my weak attempt at justification. Last month, we had the National Needle Arts Competition voting party here at the Shop and a very fun party it was. My darling daughter, Cory made all of the delicious desserts for this event. She spent days baking and thwarting off the four sugar-hungry munchkins who are her children. The thwarting was far more exhausting than the baking, but she perservered and breathlessly rushed in with beautiful desserts as the party started.

After helping me clean up, she fell back into the chair with the most pitiful look on her face. Hating that look and wanting to wipe it off her face as soon as possible, I blurted out, "You've been so incredible, the desserts were so delicious, I'll make you the Black Purl Sandstorm sweater you've been coveting." Her eyes lit up, that look instantly gone as she ran to the bin and started shoving Noro Silk Garden into my knitting bag.

"Thanks Mom," she said as she skipped out of the Shop leaving me to wallow in the remorse of an unthinking, passionate moment. And here it is. Lovely, isn't it?

Oh, and that's right, it DOESN'T HAVE SLEEVES!


Anonymous Karen said...

I can't believe the wonderful blog entries you have written! I check your site frequently to see if any additional blogs have been added. Keep up the great stories! I love reading the stories of the wonderful people who come into your Shop, and ultimately into your life!


8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read your whole blog - fascinating and wonderfully written. Proud of ya. Dad

10:27 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Hrm. Have you knit the sandstorm sweater? It's a great design, and would be fun to knit!

11:40 AM  

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