Saturday, March 22, 2008

An attack of finishitis

I am not good at finishing things. I like to keep my options open, and the best way to do that is not to complete anything, so everything can continue to be tinkered with and revised. Right now, I am in the process of not finishing two things. The first is my Central Park Hoodie. The second is the stupid, stupid article that I'm supposed to be writing for a Very Important Journal's special issue on the truly obscure subject of my dissertation. (I have no idea why the Very Important Journal decided that this was a good subject for a special issue. I don't think they're going to get enough decent submissions to fill a journal, and I work on this topic. My article really sucks, and I think it may be accepted just because nobody else is going to submit anything. But what do I know?) I'm not going to blog here about my unfinished article, because I can't think of anything more boring in the entire universe. Instead, I am going to blog about the only-slightly-less boring topic of my unfinished Central Park Hoodie.

So I'm really almost done with the stupid sweater. I have knit the body, done the side seams, knit the hood, seamed that, and knit the sleeves. All I have to do is knit the button band and then put the sleeves in. The instructions for the sweater say to pick up 150 stitches from the top of the hood and down one side, knit the the button band on that side, and then pick up 150 stitches on the other side and do the same thing. So I picked up 150 stitches, knit a couple of inches, and then did an i-cord bind off, which took for-frigging-ever. I-cord bindoff is super pretty, but it is definitely time consuming.

After I had spent three days doing that, I realized that the whole operation didn't make any sense. Those instructions assume that you are knitting the button band before you seam the hood. If you've already seamed the hood, it's not immediately apparent how to attach the two sides of the button band. I was going to have to cast on overlapping stitches for selvage and then graft the i-cord stitches. It all seemed very complicated. Also, the main reason to do one side of the button band and then the other is, I think, to facilitate buttonhole placement, and I'm planning to do a zipper. So I ripped out my three days of work, bought a second circular needle, and now I'm knitting the entire button band in one piece. I have picked up the stitches, and now I will probably spend all week doing the knitting and the interminable i-cord bindoff.

The thing is, this is my first sweater. I've been so anxious to do all the seams, just to facilitate the process of admiring my progress. Next time, I will know to be more patient and hold off on the seaming. That is, assuming that there is a next time. It is possible that I will be ripping out and re-knitting parts of this sweater for the rest of my life.

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