Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tilting at Windmills, i.e. Putting Sleeves on Waste Yarn

Recently I have gained some insight into the psychology of my knitting praxis. As top-down raglan construction seems to be my drug of choice these days, I have noticed a certain thought process that has come into play with several of my current projects. I tend to be under the impression that once I am at that magical place of 'putting sleeves on waste yarn', all my problems will be over and I'll be in the home stretch. Boy those sleeves were taking sooo looong. Endless, really. Whew! Finallly...Just a few more rows and I'm done, right?

Umm, wrong.

I seem to have my eyes on the sleeve prize so much so that once I actually get there and my knitting isn't transformed into some sort of magic porridge pot that finishes itself, I completely run out of gas. To wit:


1.) The Diminishing Rib Cardigan. Such enthusiasm I had, such brio--that is, before I hit the sleeves. Then my élan seemed to dissipate,which is bananapants considering that this project goes so quickly. I know this project is my best bet for resurrecting my self-respect,but I had to go on and cast on for the...


2.) Featherweight Cardigan, i.e. the project that gnaws at my soul. If this doesn't grind me into a paste, I don't know what will. Things were going exceedingly well until I put the sleeves on waste yarn and then 'poof' went my interest and gumption, two qualities that might be sort of needed to get anywhere with this. Now it's a slog. With lace weight yarn. But I still want it--THAT hasn't changed. Maybe a project on size 8 needles will help me snap to? Perhaps something like...


3.) Rusted Root! Added bonus: I get to knit it out of Rowan Calmer, a yarn for which I have an abiding love. The lace panel is a genius addition here, for the simple reason that it helps you mark the passage of time and let's you know that you are in fact getting somewhere. Last night I finally, well , you can figure that out, and it is all I can do to not let the spirit drain out of this one. What is my problem?



Hmmmm, we seem to gave a pattern here. Perhaps this whole 'putting the sleeves on waste yarn' isn't all I've made it out to be. Maybe I've been fighting the wrong enemy à la Don Quixote and windmills that he took for monsters. Perhaps it's time to go back to--gasp--knitting in pieces and seaming sweaters together or rather, knitting in pieces and getting Big Babs to seam it together:). At least that way a sense of accomplishment is built into the project from day 1 as in 'woo hoo I finished the left front' rather than 'omfg I have 14 more inches to go until the ribbing'. Something to think about...and me being me, of course I have the perfect project in mind! I even have the yarn! I've set my sights on the Minimalist Cardigan and am planning on using the new Brown Sheep Shepherd's Solids in Cayenne pictured above. Please refrain from bursting my bubble here, people and let's pretend that this project won't break me--it is such delusional thinking that keeps me going.

17 comments:

Meredith C. said...

I too am working on the featherweight, and I also really want it, preferably before winter descends.I also just got about an inch past "put the sleeves. . . " and all of my enthusiasm just dried up. Luckily for me, I adore the yarn. It whispers to me as I knit. I have the "amoroso" colorway, which is a blend of reds- from purple reds to orangey reds.It's pretty and I like to watch the colors play out as I knit.
But the nine straight inches of 6/sts to the inch stockinette makes my fucking brain hurt.
So It's my knitting in public project, and it fits in my purse, so I knit at the bank, at the grocery store, and in the car, you know what I mean.
Maybe it'll be done by next fall, huh?

skeinsherway said...

Haha! I'm just glad to know there may be someone out there with more started sweaters than myself. If I had the time (and energy!) to blog about everything I started, well, I could give you a run for your project starting money, that's for sure...
Well, what can I say? Just keep knitting, just keep knitting...

duni said...

i always thought top down raglans were the quickest and most efficient knit, until i realised they are also boring. hopefully we'll both be able to rally and finish something one of these days. :)

Harper said...

I think it's your body saying, "Sleeves? Are you mad? It's hot!" Once that crisp fall air surrounds you I bet you'll finish all those sleeves in a flash.

weezalana said...

Eh, screw putting the sleeves on waste yarn! Put the *body* on waste yarn, then finish the sleeves first. I did this with my Lion Neck Cardi, and it actually made things a lot easier (not as much bulky weight to toss around whilst knitting the sleeves).

Jean said...

A.D.D., you are my twin! I even have a curmudgeon! And I recently spent time in Paris and got no knitting accomplished . . . couldn't stay away from all the sidewalk cafes with wine and Parisian-watching. You have a refreshing vocabulary.

beth said...

At least with the diminishing rib you have some approaching interest with the bottom design/ribbing! The featherweight is a slog and I'm still 8 rows from the cursed 'sleeve on waste yarn.'

kmkat said...

LOL! What wonderful writing! And gorgeous yarns to look at. ::glances quickly away from UFO status::

Laura said...

Crap, Heather. I was all excited about the Featherweight Cardigan. But now I know for a fact that if I start it, it will come to one of two ends: (1) languishing sadly in my knitting basket on the needles for months and months until I finally rip it back to a ball of laceweight in a fit of pique or (2) a sleeveless cropped boobholder type-cardi because I bound the whole thing off in the twisted desire to say that I had a "finished object."

Knitting Kris said...

Thanks to your post on the Featherweight cardigan, some malabrigo in Frank Ochre is making its way to me to knit the Featherweight.....such an enabler with your gorgeous pics and well written posts.
Yeah, about the sleeve thing....it's all Tomfoolery! :)

Angela said...

I hear you! It took forever for me to finish my recent Green Gable, and my Leaf Tie Cardigan languishes on the back of the couch. I was so ambitious at the beginning of the summer, and now I have lost steam...

tiennie said...

I love knitting top down raglans but they just don't love me. I can't get them to look right on me. :(

Jodi said...

Mmmm... so many beautiful projects. You're like a honeybee flitting from blossom to blossom in the knitting garden!

I had a couple sweaters stranded on sleeve island for a while, but in March I somehow found sleeve gumption and just finished them off! Perhaps once there's a cool breeze in the air... It's hard to finish sweaters in the summer since you can't wear them for a while.

Jennifer said...

Hey, just noticed your new post on the rav - apparently, bloglines hasn't been updating your feed on my page for some time.

I am in the same situation with the wips, sigh. Just can't stop casting on the cardis. Damn ravelry and its oh-so-addictive "friend activity button"...!

Ashley said...

You know why I've had my Featherweight crammed into a bag since I got past the sleeves? Because I realized that eventually I would have to knit the sleeves. And then the edging. And then my soul died within me.

SJ said...

I think the psychology of it is that the stage when you put sleeves on waste yarn is a definitive milestone in the knitting, and once you get past that point, there's not really another until you finish the body or a sleeve. I think when you knit something in pieces, it's much easier to keep the mojo up because you reach milestones like this more quickly.

Then again, knitting a sweater in the middle of the summer might have something to do with running out of steam, especially when it starts to get big and heavy.

amandacathleen said...

those rows before the sleeves go onto waste yarn kill me. they are so frigging long! I've been using the kp cables to hold sleeve stitches, and I tell myself I just have to knit a few rows so the frigging cables are so fiddly.
delusional as knitting up the stash lady. My stash just keeps having yarn babies, it'll just keep growing and growing.