February 25, 2010

WIP Dancing Wrestling

The extended silence here has not been for a lack of knitting. More along the lines of excessive knitting.

I have been trying desperately to finish my gigantic log cabin blanket for the Ravelympics. It seemed like such a great idea. It would finish a giant project off, get it out of the project bag it has taken over and onto a bed where it belongs, showing off all it’s amazing garter beauty. 4002331303_c63e6a8b9b

But there were several things that I see in hindsight that I did not contemplate adequately.

A. Blankets, after a certain point (and that point usually come up quickly) are not at ALL considered portable knitting. When you are trying to rapidly finish a project and sneak in knitting time whenever and wherever possible, it is not ideal that the project in question is too large to leave the house. Other downsides to the thing getting so large? It feels like I am being swallowed by my own unfinished project. To turn back across a row requires me to nearly stand up at this point!

B. Endless garter stitch is not nearly as simple as it first appears. I thought about what projects I could do long and hard. I only had a couple WIPs that qualified for the Ravelypics and this was one of two log cabin blankets I really need to finish. Besides starting something new, which I felt would have been irresponsible given the current number of projects I have going, there were no other options. I figured that at least it was all garter stitch, so that would make it somewhat faster, and I could knit it while watching tv, movies, the internet. Mostly that has been correct. The only thing I failed to consider was that endless garter stitch can wreak havoc on the muscles needed to execute said stitch when performed for hours and hours at a time. Add to that the weight of the blanket at this  stage, and you have a first class wrist-wrencher. Ouch!

4002330785_e365095685C. I don’t know if you are familiar with the log cabin idea, but let me sum it up for you – you start with a knitted square and pick  up stitches along the edge to add a stripe, and then you cast off and do it again along another edge, and another. Round and round. The part that you should read into this is that  - IT GETS BIGGER every time. You’re thinking ‘duh’ right now aren’t you? Well, it sneaks up on you (or maybe just me) and takes you completely unawares. At some point you are going around merrily and the stripes are flying by and you are all excited and giddy about your forthcoming blanket. And then the ratio strikes. You reach a point where the stripes take longer, the picking up is an entire night’s work and the speed at which you were knitting stripes declines, throwing off your entire calculation. I need algebra to figure out the exponential increase in stripe knitting time as stitches are added. So while initially two stripes a night seemed perfectly plausible, it is no longer even remotely feasible. I can barely force my tired hands to get through one or 3/4 of one. Beware the ever-increasing stitches!

D. Some of the idea that was originally behind the knitting of a blanket like this was that I would enjoy the time it took. I knew that I would neither have the time, stamina, or yarn budget to complete the thing within an immediate time frame. I cast on fully aware and in fact embracig the idea of always having an on-going project like this, ready for when I needed simple garter stitches for tv purposes, or when I could afford another ball of yarn to add another stripe. It was all calculated into the process and I was happy about it. Somewhere along the way (perhaps in an over-zealous blog and Ravelry reading afternoon) I came up with the idea that the blanket would be the way to go. I may or may not have been drugged at the time. I believe I may still have been suffering from ptks (post traumatic knitting syndrome) brought on by my holiday run-in with the notorious seed stitch scarf. Whatever the cause, I may find myself not on a podium at the Ravelympics because of it.

I will keep trying. That is what this is all about. I am challenging myself to work through the pain in my wrists, to knit faster than I ever have before. I can’t very well give up, can I? (If that’s an option, would someone let me know?) So I will keep on, hoping to somehow miraculously finish 7 more stripes in the time left (roughly 3.5 days). I might be able to crank out 2 in the next two days, leaving the lion share for the weekend when I am home, but that would require me to knit through the entire weekend . . . not likely.

We’ll see, I’m not throwing in the towel yet, just wishing I had knit one instead.


(note: pictures are from before the recent push, so don’t reflect the (measly) progress I have made in the past two weeks)

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