Monday, April 07, 2008

Down and Out

Some things I have learned recently:
  1. No matter how nice a pattern is, knitting it 4 times in a row starts to get old.
  2. Never, ever, google your medical symptoms.
  3. I'm not as fast a knitter as I thought I was.
I've been sick lately. Sometimes that's a good thing, because you can just cocoon at home and knit, but have a good excuse to not do anything else. This was not one of those times.

The reason that this is really bad news is that the pattern for Round II of Sock Madness came out last Monday, when I was just getting over the "lay on the couch and whimper" stage of being sick. It also came out right before "hand midterms back to the students" day, so since I spent grading time whimpering I had to spend knitting time grading. I don't know what my excuses are for the other days of the week, but by the time Saturday morning rolled around, there were only 3 spaces left in my division and I was just on my second heel.

Being knocked out in Round II is especially embarrassing because so many people dropped out that Round I wasn't even competitive. So it's as if I lost in the very first round - I couldn't even knit faster than 15 other people.

On the upside, I've hated every single stitch of this pattern as I worked on the sock. It's a perfectly inoffensive pattern, isn't it? You can't quite see clearly, but the knits and purls make a tumbling-blocks pattern like the one from my Red Scarf, and the short-row heel and huge pain in the butt garter stitch soles make the entire sock reversible. I used the yarn I dyed at last year's Fiber Event - I'd like to say I'd found the perfect pattern for it, but really it was the only yarn fine enough to make 72-stitch socks that would come close to fitting me. Pretty yarn, and a nifty (if large) pattern should add up to a perfectly joyous sock knitting experience, but somehow the stress of following a chart and working in a hurry (probably combined with that whole sick thing) made it Not Fun At All. So now that I'm no longer in the running, I can enjoy the knitting again. Is that weird, or what?

Lesson #1 comes from this, my fourth Death Hat. Of the four hats I've finished, only one had any work completed before it got to me - at least with this one I got a ball of yarn (Paton's Classic Merino, which I could learn to love pretty quickly). It's clear that some people just aren't as into competitive knitting as I am - although I suppose it's entirely possible that I take it a bit too seriously.

I think this will be my last Death Hat, as I'm told a weapon is on its way to me. It's something of a relief, really.

With all the speed knitting out of the way, I'll be able to turn attention to my too-neglected Kauni Cardigan. I've made a little progress here and there, so I'm just a few rows away from the armholes. I'm starting to get eager enough to see this finished that I'm getting over my fear of steeking. Surely spring will be here soon, so I won't need a sweater for a very long time, so there's no pressure to finish this, right. I wonder if I could have it done before the Yarn Harlot comes to town?


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