Well, not everything that knitters say will be posted here, actually, as some of the things that this knitter has been saying this week might be best represented on a family-friendly blog as: *&^$@#$!!!
Briefly, the shrug won't work. It got bigger in many of the right places, but also in some wrong places, leading to a weird pucker in front of the armscye when it's worn. I am becoming increasingly convinced that the only reason this thing looks the way it does in the pattern photos is because it was put onto a dressmaker's dummy and then steam-ironed to within an inch of its life. Alas that one cannot do that on oneself. I made it (once again) through to halfway down the first sleeve before realizing that this is a lost cause. It is currently in time out. After I can face it again, it will be frogged. Because I love this stitch pattern so much, I have devised a plan to knit a fitted pullover sweater, perhaps with a sweetheart neckline, in the non-lace version of the stitch motif, with long sleeves in the lace version. That will happen at some other time (assuming that the yarn survives a second visit to the frog pond). The only good news in the whole Shrug Saga is that, after searching futilely online for another ball or two of the yarn in my colorway and dyelot, I went into my LYS to drop off my blocking mats for a class, and lo and behold, there in the bin with all the other colors of this yarn, was one lone ball in my colorway and dyelot; someone must have returned it. So when I do knit my sweater, I shall have enough yarn. Small miracles.
Yesterday, in the aftermath of a really bad day that capped off an already-rough couple of weeks (you know how it goes: you just take a sigh of relief, figuring it's Friday and really how much worse could it possibly get, and then something falls down on you like a ton of bricks out of nowhere), I headed off to my LYS, determined to get some yarn to knit this hat that's been noodling around in the back of my brain. I cast on right there and then, before I'd even rung out with the yarn (I love that my friends there understand that sometimes, the only thing that makes anything better is immediate knitting gratification), and I knitted away last night and this morning (even though the smart little voice in the back of my brain was saying, "Isn't this looking a bit too big?"), and finished the hat before lunch. It is meant to be for Older Daughter, and, in fact, it turned out exactly as I'd hoped it would, except for one thing. It's too big.
This is based on EZ's three-cornered tam in The Knitter's Almanac (which I long ago declared would be my desert island knitting book, should I ever need one; it's perfect in every way: it's fun to read, the range of projects is enormous and the ability to vary them infinite, and it's exactly the right size to tuck into a bag and take everywhere - I worry that that last feature might have been lost in the new version, which I may have to buy nevertheless because I want to see what got added). I will be ripping this out once it dries (I somehow thought that blocking might solve my problem - will I never learn?) and starting over on far fewer stitches, but I'm going to try the same thing over again. I'm curious to see whether this travelling cable will work no matter how many stitches I have. This is exactly the kind of cheap, mindless entertainment that I need right now.
I also finished the second sleeve of Bel Air this morning, and will be casting on for the back. In the absence of success with the shrug, this may be my conference sweater. We'll see.
This is the only knitting that has worked out at all for me lately - the rest of my projects have been a litany of disasters and do-overs. It's good to know that good pattern-writing, combined with a nice yarn (fingering weight though it may be) and pretty colors, can still prevail in the face of a dire case of Murphy's Law Syndrome.
My paper remains a struggle. I think I've realized it's because I've become distracted by the thing I want to talk about instead of focusing on the thing I know I can talk about in 15 minutes. (BTW, krb, if this does come together into a shareable form, I'm happy to share; you can email me at jahlersATcsusmDOTedu.) Meanwhile, though, I have a few more quotes for you.
“The quiet, even, regular motion of the needles quiets the nerves and tranquilizes the mind, and lets thought flow free.” (Dorcas Magazine, March 1844; NIH 143)
“When the needles slip through the fingers, your imagination takes flight.” (NYT, May 12, 1936; NIH 267-8)
“Knitting relaxes me, keeps my hands busy but my mind free.” (Survey, 8/9/09)
I think that my mind needs that flowing freedom right about now. My knitting chair calls.