Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rules of War

Since there seems to be some sort of battle engaged between myself and a certain garment that shall remain nameless, I decided to investigate the rules of war and see if these is not something I am missing here. I did not declare this war. IT did. IT started when it refused to tolerate the seed stitch border I intended. IT continued into a gauge error. It expanded into a monstrous needle error which can only be explained by feverishness on the part of the knitter, followed by two weeks of distracting coughing fits. According to Wikipedia, there are some basic rules of war, to wit:

1.) That wars should be limited to achieving the political goals that started the war (e.g., territorial control) and should not include unnecessary destruction

2.) That wars should be brought to an end as quickly as possible

3.) That people and property that do not contribute to the war effort be protected against unnecessary destruction and hardship

I protest this war.

1.) I am not certain what the political motivation of yarn is. I feel that this is entirely a personal attack, nothing political, and therefore in violation of rule 1. And I would consider the ripping out of intarsia TWICE to be unnecessary destruction. Not to mention "instigation of foul language normally reserved for stubbed toes".

2.) HAH! As quickly as possible??? I am a fast knitter, no big secret.
Lately I am unable to complete even a simple pair of socks without the threat of this monster over my head. I am becoming slow. It is expanding into all areas of my life and verges on obsession, yet I cannot seem to muster courage to return fire. This is because I know that the engagement is simply unethical under rule 1, and I am reluctant to engage under those circumstances. I have adopted a "wait and see" approach. I wait, and see if any new attacks happen. And when they do I attempt negotiation first, but for some reason communication is not forthcoming, only more war. IT continues in it's aggressive and unfounded attacks against my person.

3.) This is, perhaps, the saddest part of this war of mine. Others have indeed suffered. My dogs get shorter walks. My daughter gets snapped at and my husband gets to hear me use words I never use while helping me to re-roll, for the zillionth time, three balls of battered and beleagured Berkshire.

This is how the tale began: In the beginning there was a swatch, and the swatch was good. MelissaKnits saw that the swatch was good, and she sat down with pen and paper and drafted a pattern (in five sizes) using Beloved Berkshire and Delightful Berkshire Hand Dyed. The intention was to create a colorful version of Make Tracks in a smaller gauge - worsted instead of bulky, hand dyed swaths of woven color in place of a solid. The gauge was measured and recorded and calculated. Needle size was verified and documented. Measurements, sketches, schematics all were in place. Numbers filled the little spreadsheet for six sizes. The Back was begun. Five or six inches into The Back it became obvious that the Plan was not working. The Back was ripped, and reknitted (and is visible in the picture, lovely no?) Additional measurements and calculations followed. The gauge on the colorful bit is different than the gauge of the solid bit. Sleeves, being solid, most be calculated at solid-bit gauge. Not a big deal. I calculated. I knit. Measure twice, knit once, I always say. I probably overdid the measurement bit, in fact. At this point, in spite of the initial rip-out, I was willing to let bygones be bygones. One bad choice of the yarn (it chose to ripple), one small miscalculation of the knitter - it was clearly a communication failure and both of us were to blame. I let it go. The sleeves flew. Normally I reserve sleeves for last, as a sort of reward. In this instance I decided to get them done now, as a break from our unhappy beginning, to clear our minds of the distress of the original rip-out.

Sleeves completed and in the bag, I began a Front. Normally I work both fronts at once, but as this is intarsia I decided one at a time with 3 balls going was sufficient. Thank God I did. I picked up my needles, the ones nearest the sleeves, and cast on. I worked my...tuckas, shall we say? for a bit. Suddenly the knitting felt tight, very tight. And my throat felt scratchy and tingly. And my nose felt stuffy and full. And my head was sore. I kept knitting. It must be the cold. It feels tight because the room is tight, the air is tight, my head is tight. I checked gauge. I read my notes. I loosened my grip. It had to be the right needles, they were right there with the sleeves. They felt small, but...well, fever will do that to you. And here is the sad part - internally suspecting that war had been declared, I persisted in my reasoning that all would be well, all was in order, I was just sick and distracted, and everything would be fine. At some point in my delerium I chucked it off to the side, about 3" from the neck shaping. I made socks instead. Socks are a great sick project. At the end of last week I remembered Colorful Tracks and picked it up and worked the last three inches. Monday I headed into the neck shaping and thought "This is freaking TINY. What is WRONG with this thing? What the hell was I doing here?" I pulled out the Back. I pulled out the Sleeves. I dragged out the tape measure. I measured and re-measured. I pulled out the knit check and the schematic and the notes and the pattern. I measured again. And then it hit me, clear as day, I saw it.

OBVIOUSLY someone had been playing with my papers. OBVIOUSLY someone (I assume it was the yarn, who else could it be? No one else writes like me!) decided to calculate gauge for an entirely different garment on the side margin of the Colorful Tracks schematic page. "CONSPIRACY!" I thought. It has to be. In my feverish state, They took over. Needles, yarn, pen, paper...they're all in it together. My anger and my paranoia grew. I felt the world spinning, I hyperventilated. In a horrible act of desperation I checked the size of the needles. There it was, the final, ultimate insult. They shrank. When I began they were size U.S.8's, I just know they were. I had, after all, just bound off the sleeves when I cast on the front. I grabbed the same needles...unless...unless SOMEONE switched them! As I slid the needle into the size U.S.5 hole and realized that I had been horribly and heartlessly duped, the earth fell away and I found myself sitting, on my chair, high above it all, ready to jump.

This is where my husband found me Monday evening. Perched on the edge of my chair, ready to jump, a small glass of white wine at my side, the Front across my lap, scissor in hand. There seemed only one solution. Assault. Attack. Return Fire. Kill the S.O.B. Not a kind and gentle rip and re-ball, but a forcible brutal attack; shredding, mangling, dicing, converting into pillow stuffing. As I explained the gravity of the situation to him, searching for a language he can understand, my composure returned sufficiently to prevent Yarn Death. He asked if he could help. (awwwwww......) Initially reluctant to share my pain, I yielded. I drank my wine, babbled endlessly and nonsensically about least I think it was sexism?...honey? what was I babbling about? Oh! Communication differences! failure to communicate (the needles and yarn must be male), lack of recognition of the normal and healthy differences between men and women, a lack of patience and tolerance when communicting with people different from ourselves. What the hell this had to do with anything I do not know, but it prevented me from fully recognizing the destruction taking place before my eyes.

And now we are back to square...four? The back and sleeves completed, the front ready to be cast on with size aaaaaaytes, not fives, the yarn ready to be re-balled on the gadget for that purpose into tidy center-pull balls.

But I can't start. Yesterday I tried to swatch. It was a disaster. Nothing went as planned. I was using the same size 8's intended for Colorful Tracks, and they protested under my fingers as I knitted. I must yield. I must return to the field of battle, no longer afraid to confront the Enemy. I will not give in. I will not step aside. A sweater WILL be completed by next week Wednesday - finished, buttons and all - or I will....

well, hell, I almost said "quit knitting", but skip that. I shall...

hmmm...I need something dramatic, but reasonable...not too over the top, but enough to show I mean business. A week is a long time to finish two fronts, after all, so it might be safe to make it a huge threat...

HAH! I've got it! If this thing is not done by next Wednesday I will design something in Red Heart Super Saver!

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