Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"The beginning is half the whole." - Pythagoras
This morning, after busy months building inventory for markets and fairs, I began knitting something quite different: a birthday sweater for my oldest daughter. Katherine was born on February 28th. I have three weeks to complete this project, since it must travel by mail from my home to hers.
The pattern was chosen way back in October, the yarn was ordered and delivered to Hobart before I came down to Brooklyn for the winter, and I've been looking with longing at these untouched skeins for many weeks, envisioning the cozy garment they will become.
In other words, this is a project that I have been pleasantly anticipating. Bliss, you might then imagine, filling my heart as I picked up the needles and began merrily knitting away. But that would not be the whole story . . .
First I had to knit the gauge swatch, which I hate doing. All knitters hate it, but any worth their salt know it is a crucial step. We have all skipped it (more than once) and all suffered the consequences (more than once). No fun to knit a plain 4" x 4" square "for nothing", and the excitement of diving into a new project is hard to resist, but I made the swatch. It took half an hour to verify that I will indeed produce 5 stitches and 7 rows per 1 inch while using this yarn and needle. "Achievement unlocked," I believe they say. Immediately after measuring, I unraveled the swatch.
Next I cast on 145 collar stitches using a method that I do not enjoy. As the pattern designer points out, this technique creates a lovely finished edge, but it is tedious. The collar is the focal point of this sweater, and I want it to lie gracefully flat, so I did as I was told.
Finally, then -- a full hour later -- I was ready to begin knitting.
The collar is ribbed (Knit 1, Purl 3). Simple but boring, a 2 row repeat for 49 rows (7"). The fun will come once I have divided the 145 stitches into sections: fronts, back, and sleeves. I am anxious to get to that step, to begin the lace work, to see the garment take shape. 7" of ribbing seems a lot to do before getting to the good part. But the collar is the focal point of the sweater . . . so I am practicing Zen, mindful that each stitch is integral to the beautiful whole.
How many stitches will I have made (not even counting that gauge swatch!) by the time I have finished the collar and move on to the body?
Bliss? Well, perhaps not yet.
But warm contentment. A project well begun.