Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Every Time

I started my Rhinebeck sweater the other day. I’ve only got 60 days to go, which isn’t a lot of time to knit a sweater. Two months seems like it should be plenty of time, but since a large portion of my days are taken up with Gainful Employment and they won’t let me knit and work at the same time (I’ve tried), that means I only get an hour, maybe two, per day. But that’s only part of the problem. The other part is that I chose an intarsia sweater.

It’s not a complicated pattern, but I don’t do intarsia that often and when I do, I inevitably mess it up. (Maybe that’s why I don’t do it much.) I know what the problem is – my tension is always off when I start changing colors. I can see that there’s a problem, and what do I do about it? I keep going. Because DenialJenn! has taken over.

I look at the knitting after a few rows of starting the intarsia pattern and say something like, “That bit right there isn’t tight enough, there’s a hole. And this part is so tight that it’s starting to pucker.”DenialJenn! says, “That can all be evened out when you weave the ends in and block it. It will be fine.”

After a few more rows I spread it out to look at it again and say, “Well, my tension is evening out, but I think that just makes this part look worse. Look, it’s actually so puckered here that it’s raised a bit and the stitches aren’t straight.”
DenialJenn! says, “It’s fine. It’s down at the bottom of the design. Nobody ever looks at the bottom third of a sweater. No one will ever notice. Plus – Blocking! Keep going!”

This usually goes on for a few more rows until I can finally get DenialJenn! to shut up long enough for me to be able to rip back to the beginning of the design section and start over.

Oh, DenialJenn! puts up a fight while I’m frogging and getting it all untangled, but we both knew from the start that this was how it would have to happen. And, we both know that we’ll be happier when it’s re-done properly.

Well, I’ll be happier. DenialJenn! will be sitting over in the corner, muttering about blocking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I try to go camping 2 or 3 times every summer. Sometimes we throw things in like hiking or rafting, but sometimes we go just to hang out and do nothing. (Unless I go with my mother, who, wherever we are for some reason always wants to go find a Walmart. I don't really understand it, but I go along with it. Sometimes you just have to choose to find your loved one's weird little quirks amusing and not try to hard to figure them out.)

This past weekend was the Second Annual Knit and Fiber Camp at Kettle Pond, in Vermont. It's a pretty long drive from Long Island just for a weekend, about 5 1/2 - 6 hours, depending on whether I stop to eat, but it's totally worth the trip.

This year it took more like 11 hours, but that was because the tred on one of my tires disintegrated on I91. Scared the crap out of me because I had no idea what was wrong with the car, just that it was shaking really hard and making a loud banging noise while I was going 70mph. (It sounded like the entire undercarriage was about to fall out.) I put on the emergency lights, got the car pulled onto the shoulder, started to cry and then called my mother. (As one will in an emergency.) Once I got Mom all worked up and upset, and she got me calmed down, I called AAA and once we figured out where exactly I was they sent me a tow truck.

The guys at the garage I ended up in were terrific. The first thing that the mechanic said to me was, "You don't drive that car a whole lot, do you?" When I asked him how he could tell, he said there were two things that made it pretty obvious. One was that the car is eleven years old an only has 85,000 miles on it, and the other is that the tread on the tires was actually fine. The rubber degraded before it had a chance to wear out. (I didn't mention that I don't remember the last time I got new tires. They may well be the ones that were on when I bought the car.) He recommended replacing all four and at that point it seemed like a pretty good idea. Except that when he checked, it turned out that they didn't have the size tires I needed in stock. So he made a few phone calls to find a set and sent someone over to pick them up (which they didn't charge me for) and got me back on the road in a few hours. I got there at about 5:30 instead of 1:30, but I got there.

It was a fantastic weekend. The weather was gorgeous. It was cool enough for long pants and sleeves during the day and at night it got pretty cold - low 40's maybe. I spent the whole weekend nice and bundled up, which just made the heat and humidity feel worse when I got back home. It's amazing how fast you forget what 90 degrees feels like.

The best thing was the complete lack of structure. We ate when we were hungry, wandered off for a walk if we felt like it, and otherwise sat and talked and knit and spun. There was yarn for sale/swap on one table, and food on the other and a group of friends to share it all with. What more do you really need?

I'm already counting down to next year.