Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fair Isle Sweater of Doom

This was supposed to be Ryan's Christmas present. When I started it in August, four months seemed like a reasonable amount of time.

Except now it's April. And to make it worse, all I've gotten done since Christmas is enough sleeve to cover a shoulder. Between August and December I got the entire torso done. Three months later I've added a fourth of a sleeve. Here's why:

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but there are four colors in this sweater: dark brown, dark gray, light gray, and cream. That means there are four skeins of yarn attached to this sweater at all times. You can see them in the picture.

 Now imagine the fact that yarn tangles, and four skeins tangle four times quicker than one skein. 

Now imagine the fact that with every round the sweater turns but the yarn doesn't, thus causing twists.

Now notice the four double pointed needles on the sleeve, and imagine them getting caught in tangled yarn every time I finish one needle and move to the next.

Here's why the torso went so fast: it was knitted on circular needles (not double pointed), with many repeats of the pattern before the sweater had to turn and twist up the yarn. The needle-catching and yarn-tangling factors were MUCH less.

Here's why the sleeves are going so slow: all circumstances are conspiring against me to tangle my yarn on itself and among my needles as much as possible. Which leads to one conclusion: I am NOT having fun. And not-fun projects tend to sit in the knitting bag and come out once every two weeks at most. And projects that come out once every two weeks take a very long time to finish.

But this sweater was supposed to be a Christmas present. (GUILT) For my husband. (GUILT) And it's not done yet. (GUILT) And all I want is to knit light and summery cotton lace things. But I can't because the sweater's not done. (GUILT) In fact, I kind of miss knitting in general, I've been avoiding this project so long. (GUILT) So, prompted by massive amounts of knitting GUILT, I'm trying to finish this sweater. 

Please send prayers/positive thoughts this way. My emotional sphere is currently consumed by frustration at the spinners of Lion's Brand Fisherman's Wool (which they don't deserve) and impatience to run my fingers through the smoothness of cotton lace-weight. Oh, and GUILT, too. And resolutions that future fair-isle sweater designs will consist of a colorwork yoke, at most. And while we're at it, let's not forget guilt at the fact that I should be delighted to make a beautiful sweater for my husband.



  1. Stop the guilt! You realize that it is entirely too hot for Ryan to wear the sweater and you know have plenty of time to finish it before next winter?
    I admit that I've had a sweater on-the-needles for eleven months now - and it's not colorwork so I shouldn't be the person to tell you not to beat yourself up. Here's how I handle such things - give yourself time-off to knit one small soft pretty lacy project, then put in two solid months on the sweater, then another little reward, then two solid months on the sweater. The reward system eases the guilt and keeps you knitting, plus you don't feel bad when you put in two months of hardcore colorwork - you feel triumphant!
    By the way - it's a GORGEOUS sweater!!

  2. I know nothing about kniting, but would it help to knit a straight flap of cloth and then sew it together under the arm? Or give him a Christmas sweater-vest? Ok, that wasn't helpful... but it was imaginative... positivie thoughts heading your way, and I have to agree with Denise... it is GORGEOUS!! I am so impressed... want to make me one? (sorry, out of line)

  3. OK, here ya go! Cut a little hole in the body and BURN the material so it can't be found. then fray the yarn ends around the hole. (Please do this when Ryan is gone.) Stick it back in your knitting bag and wait for Ryan to return. Say, "I am going to work on your sweater," Pull it out of the bag, look at the hole, start crying and blubber something like "It's ruined, a mouse must have got to it and chewed this hole in it." Show him the hole, then throw the darn thing in the trash. Better yet make two or three holes. If he tries something like "Oh honey, you can fix those holes." Don't buy it, get mad throw the sweater at him and say, "If you think it can be fixed, YOU FIX IT!!" But continue crying like you are just heartbroken. Then you can tell me the story over a cup of Starbucks next time your here and we can laugh our butts off. GDad.