Thursday, February 09, 2006

It all depends...

Dear Cynthia,

I think your plan for participation in the Knitting Olympics is both challenging and noble. I will assist in any way I can...especially since I am not a "knit-thlete" myself. I will be rooting for you all the way!

Regarding a schedule for knitting... I do have some experience with tight deadlines. Most recently I recall from last summer a period of temporary insanity thinking in a yarn store someplace that "I can easily knit an entire sweater out of worsted weight yarn in garter stitch for my three-year-old godson, wash it, block it, and have it dry in less than one week." And so, I put myself on a schedule.

Schedules are great things...especially if they allow for the unexpected, which mine did not. And so, I want you to know that I totally have confidence that you will be able to knit this vest within the allotted time, though I have to say it depends on these two things:
  1. How many times you will end up knitting certain parts of it
  2. Whether or not you sustain any knitting injuries.
    I learned from my own experience that sometimes
    1. One might knit the entire left sleeve twice** (Kudos to you for selecting an item having no sleeves)
    2. One might sustain raw skin on the index finger due to running so much yarn across it in such a short period of time, though a carefully placed bandaid can be of immense help
    ** I put some green accents on the top of the sleeve, which is picked up and knit from the armhole down to the cuff...and I kept telling myself as I was partway through that sleeve that it wouldn't look so ugly once I got the whole thing done and it was "pulled together" by knitting the green also on the cuff. I was denying that "ugly" usually never becomes "smashing" just by having more of it. The sweater was just plain ugly with the green, and I didn't want to give the ugly sweater away, so I purchased a nice blue and really buckled down to even more furious knitting.

    And so, in the end, I purchased the yarn on a Saturday, knit like crazy, worried over color choices, re-worked, etc., and I think I bound off on late Thursday night (which was five days later), washed and blocked it. Then, late on Friday, after it was dry, I sewed in the zipper, all ready for gift giving the next morning, Saturday, almost one week to the hour from when I bought the yarn.

    From this experience, I have these thoughts to coach you to your impending victory:
    1. Aim to knit three inches per day. I'm guessing you'll have about 6.5 rows per inch, so that's about 20 rows per day....something like 5000 stitches per day. This will give you ten days to do the knitting knitting knitting, and allows for some time to make minor changes or think about how to handle henley necklines with steeks (commending your bravery), and allows for the unexpected, which we all know, is to be expected.
    2. There are a lot more free moments in the day for knitting than I ever dreamed. As I tried to stay on top of things during the first two days during my personal knitting marathon, I got way ahead of schedule, which was a pleasant surprise and helped me retain shreds of sanity. And so, it is critical to get out of the starting blocks quickly and really push at the beginning. You will amaze yourself (and all of us, your loyal blog readers) with what you can do!
    In other knitting news, the fana cardigan is halfway done! I just finished knitting through roughly half of the required yarn, and the dimensions are just over the halfway point for the body, all in over 2.5 weeks. I would never have finished it on time if I had entered the knitting olympics.....

    You go girl!
    Warm regards,
    Laura (aka YarnThrower)

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