Monday, August 11, 2008

Suddenly...The Air Is Lighter

I suppose I could keep you all in suspense today and maybe drag out this whole business with my trying to break the Blog Sweater Curse for the past month.  It's been good for quite a few posts, after all.  But I just can't seem to bring myself to do that.  You guys have been troupers about this whole thing and so darned encouraging that I'd feel like an absolute heel if I tried it.  So, without further ado, I give you....




The Blog Buster!!!!!


There are a few (thousand) ends wriggling around inside there that probably should be corralled, but I'm still calling it, "Done."  This is one curse that has been well and truly broken.  For the first time since starting this blog, I have managed to finish an adult sweater.  

Say my name!!!!!!!!

Now, since I was so darned good about the whole suspense thing, I am now going to bore you with the excruciating details regarding my amazing victory over the forces of evil.  That's just how these things work.  I don't make the rules.  I simply play by them.  

Chapter One:  It Started With An Embolism

Last spring, I found myself with a gift certificate and time to kill so I went ahead and got myself a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac.  It arrived.  I read it.  I made all kinds of "Oh, I see..." and "Isn't that interesting!" types of noises and nodded sagely several times.  

Then I had some sort of cerebral accident that involved bleeding from the ears and I forgot a lot of very important things like my social security number and where I put the waffle maker.  EZ was kind of...a differentiated thinker.

Once I recovered, though, I happened to pick up the book again and started seeing some sense to what EZ was saying.  I also noted a few things about knitting that she and I had in common.  Not that whole devotion to gauge business, mind you...but some other stuff.

So, when I found myself with a summer vacation on my hands and yet another gift certificate, I went ahead and snagged a copy of Knitting Without Tears.  

Chapter Two:  It's Not Like I'm Actually Going To Finish It Or Anything...

Again, I found myself seeing some interesting parallels.  In fact, when I read the rather meandering words of wisdom around the yoke sweater thingie EZ wrote about, it actually sort of made sense.  I figured it couldn't hurt if I just tried it.  I knew from bitter experience that I wasn't going to actually make a sweater.  The Blog Sweater Curse would not allow it.  But the lessons learned might be good ones and it's always fun when things go really badly because that makes for really good blogging.  

I then did things that are so foreign to me that I feared I'd been possessed.  There was swatching.  There was measuring of an old sweater that used to belong to my grandfather and which is the perfect shape for lolling about on the weekends.  I broke out the calculator and did all sorts of mathematical kinds of things, the likes of which have not been seen around here, well...ever.

If someone could just shoot over and check on Daddy Sheep right about now, that'd be super.  He's not a weakly man or anything, but it is entirely possible he may need some help getting up off the floor.  I'm sure he's fine, but you never know.  He was, after all, the Assistant Principal at my high school and the one who had to deal with my math teachers, most of whom questioned at least three times per semester whether or not I had been dropped on my head repeatedly during the "soft of head" years.  You can see how this all might be a little shocking for him...

Armed with approximately eight billion sticky notes, my trusty copy of KWT and the knowledge of certain failure firmly lodged in my brain, I cast on.  

Chapter Three:  Things Start To Get A Little Too Real  

After a while, I began to realize that things were a bit off.  And when I say, "off" I mean that nothing had gone wrong.  Something should have gone wrong by that point.  I had a body.  I had sleeves.  They even somehow connected to one another.  A stark realization hit me:  Without even knowing it, I had challenged the dark forces.  I was now battling the Blog Sweater Curse and I hadn't even meant to.  I stopped sleeping and developed a stutter that I'd never had before.  I periodically broke out in a cold sweat, even when I wasn't doing anything remotely connected to the project.  But I knit on.  

Chapter Four:  The Final Push

There were questions every step of the way.  But I trusted in my percentages and kept the calculator close to hand just in case.  My greatest fears were around size, frankly.  At points, this thing looked big enough to slipcover my car with enough left over should I desired a moped cozy of some sort.  But these fears were all for naught.  The math held true and the shaping (haphazardly applied through the yoke at best) seemed to force the thing into a more manageable size.

Today, the neckline ribbing was completed and the final grafting grafted.  If there are any real issues to report, they are with these.  The neckline is a little sloppy even by my flexible standards and I shall, someday, reknit it.  I know what I could have done differently, but just don't feel like doing it right now.  I'm also thinking that my weaving at the underarms is a little too tight.  I blame the sock knitting.  I graft toes for wear not aesthetics.  I think sleeves might need less of the iron in their backbone.  There is also a bit of the sloppy going on where the arms connect to the body and I'll be a little more careful with that in the future.

But it is still a sweater, it fits and if you need me, I'll be over here thumbing my nose at the Curse Formerly Known As Blog/Sweater.  I just won't raise my arms too high when I do it because that's really hard when you've grafted your sweater pits so tightly they squeak a bit.

Afterword:  Confessions Of A Weak Knitter

Now, here's where it gets a little hard.  I'm going to lose some readers today and I shall mourn their departure.  But I feel that the truth is the way to go.  Please try to find it in your hearts to forgive me.

The yarn for this project is acrylic.  Not such a big deal, really.  I actually don't hate acrylic and use it for stuff all the time.  Besides, it wasn't like I was actually going to finish this sweater anyway so I figured it didn't matter.  But that's not my confession.  I'd proudly knit with acrylic because sometimes you just need that sweet, sweet feeling of plastic between your fingers.  

No.  There is more.  The thing I have to tell you is...God this is hard.  I'm just gonna do it.  Like ripping off a bandage.  Quick-like...  My confession is this:

I bought the yarn at the Dollar Store.

Yup.  Not even a brand I can identify.  Buck a skein.  In fact, at least three of the circular needles of the five million I purchased to finish this project came from the shelf next to the yarn at the Dollar Store.  I've pretty much got a ten dollar sweater here and that's counting the gas it took to get to the store.

Please don't hate me.  It was the Curse!  It made me buy Dollar Store yarn!  I got all crazy and stuff...I wasn't myself.  Forgive me.  I beg of you.


So there you go.  The story (saga, really) of The Blog Buster Sweater.  And now it is done.  You may all go back to your lives knowing that I fought the good fight and that all is now right with the world.  Enjoy the light, my friends!  We can all breathe just a little bit easier.

Actually, I'm thinking of starting another one.  This wasn't really so hard...

SA

33 comments:

Mel said...

Annie!

You know, if you're going to challenge a curse, cheap ack yarn from the Dollar Store is pretty much the way to go. Are you going to bring it tomorrow so people can ooh and aah appropriately over your achievement?

Mel said...

p.s., I promise to fawn, and maybe even scrape and grovel a little.

Anonymous said...

I always hated that question. Thought that it reflected poorly on your mother! Nice job on the sweater. Dad

PICAdrienne said...

Acrylic yarn, that explains the squeaky pits. Congratulations! Possibly you fooled the blog sweater curse, because you were using dollar store acrylic. The curse didn't figure you to spend that much time on a garment you may wear, with dollar store acrylic. Way to outsmart the curse! Now, you might make one in a yarn that provides you with more pleasure.

Annie said...

It looks lovely, acrylic or not. There's no stopping you now, Ms Sheep

jeanne said...

The curse is broken - good job! (If you ever retire this sweater in favor of one made of natural fibers, I'm sure the AGK would be happy to nap on it...)

Mia said...

Behold! The SWEATER!

I bow to greatness ::laughing:: and why, pray tell, would anyone laugh at a girl's love of acrylic? And if they do, I've got your back on that one girl *grin*

Kris said...

It is great! I love the dishcloth, erm, sweater.

Knitting Linguist said...

Yup, it was definitely the acrylic that let you slide on by under the Curse's radar. Well-planned and executed!

Anonymous said...

Now that was a great story. Congratulations on whacking that curse. That alone is a proud moment.

GiM

Future Mrs. D said...

Great job on the sweater. Looking mighty fine.

Bridget said...

I think it looks great!

I don't really care what yarn other people approve of, so I even thought it still looked great even once you confessed ...

:-)

Beth said...

The sweater turned out so great! Now, don't you have a camera on your laptop which allows you to take self portraits? I think you should model it for everyone.

Karen said...

Your sweater is beautiful!! You did a wonderful job breaking that curse.
So what sweater are you casting on next???

trek said...

You did fancy stuff in the yoke. Everyone should be all impressed right now. Perhaps even doing homage to Your Sheepiness. And to That Thing That Is Certainly Not A Sweater. ;o)

MathIsBeauty said...

Go Sheepie, go Sheepie! Go acrylic yarn, go acrylic yarn. Go beautiful FINISHED sweater!

Yarnhog said...

Yay! You did it!

You're on such a roll, you could probably take on the zombies single-handedly.

I agree it was probably the acrylic that fooled the Blog Sweater Curse. It just didn't recognize the project!

=Tamar said...

Great story, nice sweater. I like acrylic.

Mizzle said...

Go Annie!

Go Annie!

Go Annie!

!!!Yay!!!

Congratulations! :D

Lynne said...

A gold medal performance from Sheepie and The Acrylic. [Actually sounds more like a rock group than an athletic team!]

crzjane said...

(Fireworks lighting the sky) Yeah! Wow! She'd done it. She's beaten back the curse for us all!
Smart move using the Dollar Store Yarn, that probably threw the curse off the track. A very clever move on your part Sheepie.
I do hope Daddy Sheep didn't hit his head on the way down to the floor. My girls have made me swoon a time or two.
Way to go. Start a new one while you are on a roll.
By the way, that's the best looking "dishcloth" (sweater) I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

I hope we can see it tonight. What a milestone you have reached!
Carol

Donna Lee said...

I confess that I bought several dollars of Lion Brand acrylic yarn from the dollar store. I will only plead that the colors were so bright and i thought they would make great cheerful mittens for the dreary winter months. I ended up giving it all to my cousin. Her church group crochets blankets for veterans and nursing homes and prefer acrylic for is washability. So, not a loss. A good deposit in the karma bank.

Cursing Mama said...

But will you use yarn from the dollar store?

debsnm said...

Hey! A bargain is a bargain, and who cares where the yarn came from! I myself am working up a tote bag for dd using acrylic, and it's quite different - sort of like coming home after a long absence. Congrats on beating the curse, and may you have many long, cozy weekends in the 'un' cursed sweater!

Jeanne said...

Whoa, COOL! Great job on The Thing That We Can Now Refer To By Its Proper Name!

I love your motivation technique: "It's not like I'll ever really finish it or anything..." so it was just an experiment. Ahem.

Acrylic rocks. IMHO, the fact that you got a custom-fitted handknit sweater for less than 10 bucks far outweighs any resistance to the fiber type. I proudly knit with acrylic AND finer fibers. (Just not in the same garment!)

April said...

"I bought the yarn at the Dollar Store."

Best knitting blog line EVER.

Congratulations, Sheepie!

Teri S. said...

WOW! I have to pick myself up off the floor. That's most excellent news. It's beautiful! I'm thinking the power of EZ could have done in the sweater curse. And knitting with acrylic from the Dollar Store (the best place to buy acrylic, IMHO) certainly didn't hurt.

But for the love of all things sheepish, could you please knit the next one in wool (or at least a blend)? :-)

Kath said...

AWESOME SWEATER! We're not worthy, we're not worthy, we're not worthy...(genuflecting)

Wow you are brave. Next you'll be strolling through a cemetery under the light of a full moon! But I have to agree, the powers of EZ should certainly be enough to overcome any paltry blog curses. While I love the wool and other natural fibers, I'm certainly no acrylic hater. Whatever makes you happy and getting the yarn at the Dollar Store is truly something to be proud of!

Alwen said...

(still giggling over the iron in the underarms)

Don't sweat too much: we don't want you to rust.

Oh, yeah, and pssst: Congratulations!

Ronni said...

Oh congratulations! I was so worried for a second there. Actually this verification word isn't too encouraging either....

A 10 dollar EZ sweater that fits is excellent! Go you! I'd cheer but the only one that I know (and I only know part of it) is the one from MIT that starts "secant tangent cosine sine" and considering the math comment perhaps I shouldn't continue.

Carrie K said...

A sweater! Finished! Awesome. We'll just skim over the whole acrylic-unclear-provenance bit because who cares? It's comfy, washable, thrifty and DONE! Woot!

Cathy said...

Oh man... look how long ago you finished this and how I totally missed the show!!

Yea you!!

And you know, I use acrylic a lot of the time coz it's machine washable and dryable... a lot to be said for that!!

Yea you!!!