My latest project.

It looked so beautiful. Above all, it looked so simple.

(BTW, I’m using a different yarn than the pattern called for: a pure alpaca yarn by Berroco. Slightly more expensive than the yarn that the pattern was designed for, but sooooooo soft!)

This pattern is one of those patterns that won’t stop giving me headaches. I’ve found several “irregularities” in the pattern itself, not to mention directives that are missing entirely. Perhaps the writers assume that if I’m enough of an avid knitter to have lit upon their very limited, insular knitting products, I’m surely experienced enough to know how to put together a sweater with minimal directions? Well……. -sigh- I’m not. :(

I finally figured out – once I had done about two inches of the lattice pattern, of course – that I had to actually follow their pattern backwards in order for it to show the way it was supposed to – and that they had cunningly placed the decreases and armhole bind-offs on the opposite side from where they should be, just to catch out any unwary knitters and discourage them from Ever. Trying. Their. Patterns. Again.

So once that particular hurdle was proudly worked out, I continued the pattern without incident until it read, entirely straight-faced, “keep following the pattern until you reach the tops of the shoulders.” I paused, and groaned, and puzzled, and even took it to a yarn shop in the hopes that the women there could tell me how to proceed. The pattern had insisted that I knit it in the round; and yet there was nary a mention of what to do when the armholes and front and back collars had to be bound off. What was I to do with my yarn? I couldn’t keep knitting in the round and just leave multiple threads hanging nakedly across the armholes. There was only one solution: I would have to knit one side at a time, backwards and forwards, on separate sets of needles. This meant that not only would I have to flip the cabling pattern around in my head so that I could knit it in reverse when I came to the end of each row, but that once I reached the collar division I would have to be working with four balls of yarn at once: one for each leg extending up to the shoulders.

Then I figured out another problem. I couldn’t just reverse the cabling pattern. Remember, I’m already having to switch all the cabling directions in my head anyway, because they’re written as if I’m knitting in the opposite direction. My new problem is that I have reached the directional limits of my own dyslexia. My brain simply will not let me read a direction and not only flip it from left to right, but also from knit to purl, and at the same time flip the cables from front to back. It simply does not happen. I make mistake after mistake and decide that it will be much faster simply to teach myself to knit backwards.

Yup, you heard me. In order to remotely follow this pattern, I must entirely reverse the direction in which people have knitted for hundreds of years. I must reverse all the motions which my hands automatically do, and have done for years and years, slipping the stitches onto the left needle instead of the right one, tucking the needles into the front instead of the back, etc. (For those of you who scoff and say that sounds easy, it’s not just the difficulties of reversing the motions. It’s pretty identical to trying to write with your left hand when you’ve been right-handed your whole life. You try it, and see how pretty – and how fast – you can write a 2,000 word essay.)

It’s actually turned out to be working okay so far, except that now every so often – especially when I’m doing the “normal” rows – I’ll fumble to a complete stop, utterly unsure of where I’m going to put my next stitch, which direction I was going in, where to hang the cable needle, which direction is left and which is right, and whether gravity even still works. (Also, can I mention again that this has reduced my knitting speed to below where it was when I first learned? I’m finishing maybe – maybe – a quarter of an inch per day. -sigh-)

Ann and I went to A Tangled Skein on Friday, the first yarn store to open within 45 minutes of Greenbelt, and a surprisingly and gratifyingly really good one at that. I had told Josh that I couldn’t imagine myself buying anything else, seeing as the sweater was such a big project, but… I found a pattern that was pure knit. No cabling. Directions in simple English. So. Simple. And I bought it, along with a great big pile of pale olive silk. I plan to use it as a Fletta Sweater Chaser in the spring, kind of my reward for having finished this particular monster.

Still, even though by this point I’m basically flying blind, it’s turning into a pretty attractive sweater. I can’t wait to finish it and try it on. With the way things are going, I’m hoping I might be done as soon as next Christmas! -laugh-

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