Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adventures with Inishmore, etc.

I've been telling myself for at least two weeks that I need to blog, I need to blog. But it's hard to blog--or cook, or clean, or read--when you are spending nearly every free moment also telling yourself, I've gotta knit, I've gotta knit. Know why? 'Cause I was almost done with Inishmore, the Epic Sweater (and I mean Epic, as in Magnum Opus, as in Neverending, as in what in God's name was I thinking?) that I started last February or March.

Well, guess what?
Inishmore back
Inishmore front

It's done. It's not perfect, but it's still gorgeous. It's tremendously warm. And I love it. (Forgive my sloppiness in not doing the bottom button. I was grabbing a kid to be my photographer, and she rushed me so she could get back to enjoying our backyard on this pleasantly warm evening.)

Inishmore 2
As you can see, I did manage to turn it into a cardigan without screwing it up too much. I used one repeat of the twisted cable ribbing for the button and buttonhole bands. In order to keep the cable panels that I really liked, I altered the one of which I really was not too fond. Essentially I cut the large braid-like cable in half, as it was done on the sleeves, and thus did away with enough stitches to account for the buttonband in the center. I then took the gorgeous center panel and divided it in half, one half on each front piece, and added a twisted border stitch to the edge, to give the button band something to hold on to. In these pictures, the cable panels unfortunately look like they don't match up perfectly, but I have not noticed it IRL. Don't look too closely, Okay?!

It buttons like a man's sweater, because I forgot to put a buttonhole in what I did the right front of the sweater. When I discovered the error, I decided I did not care. In a very conforting coincidence, my hero, the Yarn Harlot, recently did an entire blog post defending her practice of putting buttons on the "man's side" for everyone--men, women, children and babies. Rock on, Harlot! And thanks for making me realize it's not that I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing, but that I was actually making an unconscious choice to rebel against gender stereotying in buttons. Um, yeah, that's what I was doing.

So the sweater is done, and I am very proud. It was warm enough to wear it yesterday like a coat, which is exactly how I envisioned wearing it. This was why I wanted to make it into a cardigan. On its first day out, where could the sweater go but ... to Woolbearers! My excuse was tha I wanted to get some Cascade 220 for a vest I wanted to make for Rich, but we all know I really just wanted to show off my sweater to people who would appreciate it. The saleswomen there yesterday were very attentive and kind, and I got all the sweater complimenting I craved. Thanks, ladies!

Meanwhile, here are just a few lessons I learned from Inishmore:
  • Purling through the back of the loop is a special torture created for knitters by other knitters. What did I ever do to Alice Starmore to deserve this kind of treatment?!
  • Alice Starmore patterns need to be knitted with a lighter yarn than that called for. Bulky pattern + small gauge = sore hands. Again.
  • Always pay attention to the needles you are using. If you use #6's by mistake when you want to use #4s, and then knit a whole sweater piece, you know you are not going to frog it. So pay attention from the get go.

I have no other knitting to show here, because I have worked on nothing but Inishmore. Frankly, Inishmore became an obsession with me for the past month. It was the only thing I wanted to knit. If I couldn't knit Inishmore, I did not want to knit. So my socks, Mathboy's sweater, and the afghan all fell by the wayside. Knitting time was Inishmore-Time. Once it was done, I did not know what to do with myself at first. My old projects don't call to me like they once did, until Inishmore interrupted the call. And I find myself experiencing Cable Withdrawal. So, I have picked up Mathboy's sweater , my socks, and even the Murky Muir, but my progress is rather half-hearted. (They have no cables, she whines, no twisted stitches....)

But I have got to come up with a good travel knitting project for next week. I am going to be spending 2 solid days sitting and observing in the conference rooms of the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott for the Montessori Model United Nations program. This year, Mathboy is on the Security Council for the Model UN, and his position deals with weapons of mass destruction. (In case anyone is wondering: he is opposed to them.) Last year's topic (Sweden's position on how to eliminate poverty in the world) was a lot more difficult, and required considerably more research. I feel like Mathboy is coasting this year with such an easy topic, but I know he will enjoy the program nonetheless.

We are staying with my friend Elyse for the NYC trip, and, although the commute from her house will be more onerous than for the kids who are staying at the hotel, the money we will save will more than pay for the extras we will get to do. Elyse scored us tickets to Henry V at the New Victory Theater in NY this Sunday, and I am very excited! Then, Monday morning we are going to the American Natural History Museum. Ever since last year, when Catgirl and Rich and I got to go to this museum without Mathboy (while he was in his UN sessions), he has been slightly peeved. This visit will fix that. No more peeve.

After lunch on Monday, we will meet the other school kids at the hotel, register for the UN, and then the excitement begins for him, and the knitting begins for me. But what shall I bring??! I have Friday and Saturday to decide. Oh, and do laundry and clean the house and plan meals for Catgirl and Rich for while we are away. But the knititng?!

Other Stuff: Schools, schools, schools. God help us on this one. Mathboy has his "shadow day" at Moorestown Friends tomorrow, but I think I have become a convert for Doane Academy. It's a very long story, but I think this place might be a better fit for him. From what I have seen, the administrators seem much more willing to be flexible about grade levels, which is extremely important in finding the right place for Mathboy. Plus, to have a headmaster say to me, "You son needs a creative program to fit his needs for advanced materials, and I would excited to address that challenge," or something very similar but just as amazing, was so mind-boggling that I think I almost fainted. I know I teared up (I don't think he saw!).

In case you missed the significance of this, let me repeat: A school administrator acknowledged that Mathboy needs Something More than a regular school curriculum and said that he was "excited" to try to come up with what he needs. I'm getting light-headed again right now, just writing about it. Excuse me while I go get a paper-bag to breathe into.

I'm back. Well, I can't think of anything else to report. I will have MMUN pictures next time I write, and probably more knitting. :o) Maybe I'll have school information. Who knows?

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