Unstuck

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Well hello again everyone.  I think a month may have gone by, but I’m not sure.  I didn’t see it pass.

November is the month for doing all the things, so let’s see how long I last doing a post a day.  Sound like fun?

For most of October (which truly was barely here before it left) I felt totally stuck.  I had started All The Things! but I barely finished any of the things.  Month by month, my stack of unfinished objects grew until I hit nine and got stuck.  At first, the number of options was empowering, but when I hit nine UFOs, there were too many options.  I would pick a shawl up, knit on it for a bit, then get distracted by one of the sweaters in the pile, consider that until I realized it was too complicated and drop that sweater for a simpler sweater until I became guilty thinking of the gift knit I hadn’t started…and so on in little circles.

I think I finally broke through with the shawl above (it’s the Other People’s Houses shawl from Hands Occupied and I’d like it to have its own post), which inspired me to finish off the gift knit.  That hasn’t gone off to its recipient, so you’ll have to wait for a picture, but suffice to say the gift was a baby gift knitted out of indestructible acrylic in so many pieces it almost made me weep.

Getting that little stinker out of the queue was so freeing, I felt I finally had the brain space to reacquaint myself with two other UFOs: the librarian blanket and a vest.

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Let’s talk about the blanket, shall we?

The pattern is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi shawl, which I began last March after being inspired by Glenna C’s latest beautiful example (oh dang it, she’s got another one going).  Several years back, a librarian kindly gifted me some acrylic yarn she’d found in her garage.  Not just any acrylic, vintage acrylic so old it had been spun in the good old U.S. of A.  There were two types of yarn, a plain black sport weight and a fuzzy mohair-esque cream.  Together, they reminded me of a Grace Kelly costume from Rear Window: mid-century and feminine.  I kicked around some design ideas that would let me use as much of both yarns as possible, then eventually came up with the design that Eloise is kneading above.

It is the very most basic Pi shawl, stockinette with a stockinette row of cream followed by a purl row.  It reminds me of one of the giant Dior-style skirts, and the little bumps of cream are like the yoke on a sweater or maybe, if you’re feeling fanciful, a strand of pearls.  I started with something like eight rounds between cream stripes in the center, then increased to nine, then ten, and now up to twelve at the end.  I was on a tear with this project several months back, but then increased at 48 rounds instead of 64.  The idea is that the number of stitches doubles when the number of rounds doubled, and I went 32-48 instead of 32-64.  Not really sure but I think I must have been thinking way too hard about Brooklyn 99 instead of about how math is not my strong suit and knitting with black yarn in near-dark while binge watching silly TV is a recipe for disaster whether math is involved or not.

The whole project got put away while I dreaded the thought of stringing it on a gazillion spare needles to see if the mistake could be salvaged.  There it sat until this weekend, when I realized that this was an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern.  Elizabeth Zimmerman, the queen of unventing and sure-that-will-do-just-fine.  I pulled out the blanket, strung it on spare needles until I could get half of it to lay flat (as it turned out, I only needed six, not a gazillion), and lo and behold, it did lay flat.  I inspected the precipitate increases and came to the realization that I will be the only one who will ever notice them, and also Elizabeth Zimmerman would probably shake her head at me from the great beyond to see me get so hung up on rules for a blanket.  Knit in black.  Black acrylic.

I put all the stitches back on their proper needle, knitted to a cream stripe for good measure, and I do think it will do just fine.

Fingers crossed that this spate of productivity lasts: if not, you poor readers are in for one dull month.  What projects are you speeding through (or avoiding) this month?

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