Thursday, September 6, 2007

Late night math

First, let me start by saying that I love my husband. I really do (in spite of that little comment on Anne's blog yesterday about being willing to trade him for her new scarf; I can only plead temporary insanity brought on by a surfeit of gorgeous knitting). That said, however, he still occasionally does things that are enough to make even the most patient person (which I have never claimed to be) go batty.

To wit (you saw this coming, did you not?): It's just before 10 last night. I'm tired, but I'm at a crucial point in putting Kivrin's sweater together on one needle. I've finished the Millicent socks, have knitted the second sweater sleeve to a length which matches the first, and am ready to knit the new sleeve onto a circular needle with the fronts, back and first sleeve so I can start the yoke. I look at what's on the circular needle: right front, 20 stitches, check; right sleeve, check; back, check. Being wise, I had set myself up so that I was at the right place to just put the second sleeve on. But, the "right place" I've got is much more than 20 stitches from the end of the left front side. I count again. Yup, 20 stitches for the right front, then the sleeve, back, and a whole bunch more than 20 for the left front. OK, time to check math. If the body was 116 stitches, divided by four (one quarter for each front and half for the back), then each front should be 29 stitches. Cursing my past self, I tink back over the stitches for the back, tink the first sleeve back onto a dpn, tink the held stitches back onto the circular, and knit an extra nine stitches. I then prepare to knit the sleeve back onto the dpn. I am halfway through the sleeve when it hits me: somewhere in there, I need to put stitches onto the stitch holder for the armpit, and moreover, those stitches have to come out of my 29 + 58 + 29 count. This would, of course, explain why I did not have 29 stitches in the right front half to start with (turns out my past self was much smarter than my present self).

Now, in my defense (because I know you were all thinking things like "stop! your math is all wonky" from the very beginning), I had just made it through a day which involved packing lunches, getting the kids to school, buying snacks for the older one's classroom, sitting through office hours, a Senate meeting, more meetings, gotten the girls to soccer practice, out for pizza, and into bed; I had finished a sock, and Kitchenered with nary an error. I was due. Also, for me, conceptualizing the putting together of a sweater requires quiet and concentration to ensure some kind of accuracy. I turned off Law and Order and began to think (a painful process so late in the evening).

OK, so. I needed to put 9 stitches from the body onto holders for each sleeve in order to make the armpits (and yes, I did remember that I also needed to put 9 of the 36 sleeve stitches onto holders to match). So, 29 minus half of that nine doesn't quite work. Let's make that 29-4 for each front. Which means that I would need to knit 25, put nine stitches on a holder, then knit the sleeve on (minus nine more stitches from the sleeve on their very own holder), then knit [58 - (5 x 2)] for the back, put nine more stitches on a holder, knit the second sleeve on (minus another 9) and sail through the front (which should be 29-4 stitches). If I did that right, then 25 + 9 + [58 - (5x2)] + 9 + 25 should equal 116, and dang if it doesn't! Having checked my math twice, and verified with my very rough notes to myself as to what I intended to do that I was following my own directions, I commenced to knit.

Here's where the trouble started. The phone rang. I was sure that it was He Who Had Been Working Late checking in, and chose to ignore it until I'd survived the math/knitting hell in which I was embroiled. To my pleasure, the phone rang twice and stopped. I thought, HWHBWL knows that I know it's him, and that I'll call him back when I'm done doing whatever I'm doing. Alas, not so much. The phone rang again, and again I decided to ignore it. This time, the answering machine picked up, and lo! I was right, it was He. Figuring that now that he had left a message, he would happily and sensibly wait for me to call back, I struggled womanfully on.

And the phone rang again.

At this point, I was juggling a circular needle, four dpns, two balls of yarn, a couple of sleeves, and trailing ends were everywhere. I was also holding what is, for me, a complicated math equation in my head. I had also been stealth knitting in an attempt to keep the kitten from noticing the aforementioned trailing ends, and must now, yarn and needles following willy-nilly, dive for the phone. Suffice it to say, I was not happy. And when I snarled a greeting into the phone, he tells me that he was worried I wouldn't hear the answering machine and might be wondering where he was. I barely managed not to point out to him that I am, in fact, versed in the use of cell phone technology and would have called him if I had in fact been worried, and merely suggested instead that he trust the answering machine and Stop Calling!! Sigh...

At the end of it all, however, the sweater made it onto one circular needle and is ready for me to work the yoke. And Older Daughter has Millicent:
(They are the same length, they're just not pulled up evenly.)
Aren't they lovely? I really am still completely charmed by these guys, and DD was happy enough with them to wear them to school today (after a careful consideration of the status of the marine layer, which was deemed to be heavy enough to keep the day relatively cool).

1 comment:

Fiberjoy said...

Fantastic socks! I'm impressed you finished both so quickly. Very cool that your daughter wore them to school.

Total empathy with the entanglement of maths, yarns, needles and phone rings. Sometimes our guys just don't get it, but we still love them once the exaspiration has dissolved.