This appears to be the latest dance move in the knitting of The Sweater.
The Gauge God is clearly out to get me (can't be a goddess; surely they're not this capricious)(and yes, I am waiting for the lightning strike now). In this case, it's row gauge, I think. I keep doing nice mathematical calculations, designed to tell me how deep the sleeve cap should be, and how often and where I should decrease along the underarm, and, in the same way that my calculations about decreases didn't work for the waist shaping, the calculations didn't so much work for the sleeve cap or decreases.
I knit away merrily yesterday, feeling good (should've been my first clue that I was about to get smacked down, right?), and thinking happy, bubbly thoughts about having my sweater finished by the weekend. Maybe even before my package arrived from the Rockin' Sock Club. I knitted the sleeve cap (which always takes so much longer than it seems like it should -- am I the only one with this problem?), and then worked away at the decreases. I made it through all of them by the end of The Italian Job (it was on TV last night, and Rick wanted to watch it), and set it down for the night, feeling virtuous and pleased with myself (warning number two of impeding doom).
I tried it on this morning. And no, I didn't take any pictures. Y'all have seen enough photographic evidence of my Math Issues to last a lifetime. Let's just say that, while I prefer to wear clothes that are relatively loose, with plenty of room to move, wrestle with dogs, and grab kids as they prepare to launch themselves towards the nearest source of doom, this sleeve was in no way loose. Tight might be a better descriptor, as might any word conveying the meaning "to bind"*.
I ripped it out. And I reknitted the sleeve cap much, much deeper. It took most of the morning. Then I knitted two inches (as called for by my row gauge plus some serious overestimating in order to compensate for whatever's going wrong with row gauge) and started the decreases. After two decreases, determined not to be led too far down another primrose path, I tried it on. The good news: my arm benefits from the circulation of blood whilst wearing this sleeve. The further good news: the sleeve cap is, if I do say so myself, quite nice. The not-so-good news: if I want to maintain the degree of positive ease with which I am most comfortable around the upper arm, I will need to rip out the last two inches of knitting -- again -- and knit down several more inches before beginning my decreases. Alas.
It's all knitting, though, right? And I do this because I love knitting, right?
I think that the problem here is that I have become, for the duration of this particular project (and some projects are just like this), a product knitter. I want this sweater. I have been contemplating this sweater, or some iteration of it, for the better part of a year. That's how long it took to find the right yarn (and may I just say here again what a genius Chris is? This yarn is perfect, and I love it madly, truly, deeply, and it is tolerating these iterative fiddlings beautifully), and the right stitch motifs, and to decide on the shape and size. And now that I've made all of those decisions, I want it.
I'm looking forward to getting back to my usual leanings towards process knitting. I think that part of the problem here, too, is that this is the last product-oriented project that was on my List O' Things To Knit Before the Recommencement of Research, and that day is nigh. Once this is done, I can go back to knitting things with less hard and fast timelines. Of course, the fact that my sock club package arrived today, and that it involves beads, and that I am charmed to pieces by the idea of knitting with beads, is in no way implicated in my sense of urgency here. Nope, nope, not at all. I am made of sterner stuff, and do not need to be swayed by my baser instincts and desires in the matter of casting on for a new and shiny project.
Might another smack-down be incoming? Wait and see...
* Just had to share a favorite etymology here. Did you know that the root of "yoga" and that of "yoke" are cognate with one another? They both relate to binding, in the sense of binding breath and movement in yoga, and animals together in the case of yoke. This is also cognate with the root in "conjugal" -- we all get where the binding is there -- and, now that I come to think of it, it's got to be what's going on in "conjugate", too, eh? However, as nifty as all of this binding is, it has no place in my armscye.
This just in (and thanks to Carrie for getting me started on this): Armscye is not, I repeat, not in the Oxford English Dictionary. I checked, in both my hard copy, and in the online version. However (despair not, ducks), scye is in there. It's defined as: “the opening of a gown, etc., into which the sleeve is inserted; the part of the dress between the armpit and the chest”. (of obscure etymology) I am so wishing that I had my Indo-European Root Dictionary at home (I knew I should have two copies). But, meanwhile, doesn't that mean that the "arm" in "armscye" is inherently redundant?