Brain Break

I can’t take it anymore. I have been home sick all day (thank you, Hermanita), and in an effort to feel useful, I have been working on the Fiery Bolero. As of right now, I could die, be reincarnated, and live out that life without ever seeing a single milligram of Rowan Calmer, and that wouldn’t be long enough.

Exegesis: I have substituted the Debbie Bliss Cathay (Big surprise~Debbie Bliss designed the pattern) with Rowan Calmer in Coral.

It’s horrible. Torture. High-quality, yes, but ugh–sticky, and stretchy, not at all like worsted *ought* to be. This summer, mi familia y yo happened to be going past Chix with Stix, which is an awesome little store, so of course I had to stop. (Incidentally, I was sick then, too.) I only bought the stuff because I knew I needed a cotton blend that knitted at 22 sts over 4 inches and the ultra-cool, ultra-helpful woman behind the counter suggested it, and I was being rushed.

I did not do any of my homework on this one. I did not check to see what size needle was recommended on the label. That would’ve set bells ringing. Cathay gets 22 sts over 4 inches on U.S. size 5 needles. Calmer? 21 sts over 4 inches on U.S. size 8 needles. Their site hints at its bizarre texture–in an oblique, all-our-yarn-is-wonderful sort of way–but once I had the yarn in hand, I didn’t think to check what the manufacturer had to say about their product. Finally, I didn’t even wind the yarn into handmade balls. For big projects, I usually don’t. Unless the yarn comes in a skein and must be wound to avoid distressing snarls, I figure that it’s not worth the effort. Usually, it’s not. In this instance, that first acquaintance with the yarn might have saved me some undue distress and frogging.

Thank goodness I did a gauge swatch. That, at least, told me I had to go up to a size 7 and use metal, not wood. I invested in an Addi Turbo. I’m not really into metal needles–that incessant clicking annoys me and all the rest of mi familia, and this particular circular was ridiculously expensive. But I must say–it is oh so shiny, and the vile Calmer doesn’t drag along it like it did on my bamboo needles.

Even still, trying to get gauge is murder. I detest gauge–it has lied to me on many a project. Whenever I can, I say to heck with swatches, jump into the project, and figure it out from there. Because I rarely knit things that have to be just so, this approach works quite well. But this is a sweater, a gift sweater, and a gift sweater that must fit snugly.

All day, I have been closeted in my room, sinuses pulsing (again, thank you Hermanita), knitting. I knitted through 100-odd pages of a new book. I knitted through Fables, Definitely Maybe, a Concretes single, and one of my own mixes.

And I’ve gained about 4 inches in length.

Oh, the agony!

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