The talk has been flying a little fast and loose around the Family Trunk Project blog lately: suggestions that the knitting projects may be progressing "without a fiasco in sight," my own unbelievable statement that I am "making things easy for myself" and do not plan to shed hysterical tears while working on this sweater project.
I think we can all see where I'm going with this.
As of an hour ago, that nice, nearly-finished sweater front I showed you before, looks about like this. It's the fourth or fifth time I've ripped it back. The first three or four times were more or less expected; I've been tinkering with the cable pattern, trying to get it honed to my satisfaction, and trying to decide how I want it to interact with the neckline. And then, this last time, on my ninth draft of the cable, I really thought I had it all sussed out. It looked just like I wanted it to, and I'd even seamed the front and back together. And then, a little issue that had been poking at the back of my brain from very early in the process, leapt forward and demanded my attention.
It was a fitting issue. I won't go into the gory details, but suffice to say, I made a series of decisions early on that resulted in the lower front pooching out a bit, as if the wearer had a little beer belly. And as much as I sometimes find bellies, beer or otherwise, to be charming, that's not the look I was going for here. It was subtle, but it would have bothered me. Rip, rip, rip!
It's funny: logically, I would expect to feel kind of miserable after ripping back, but that's not how it goes for me at all. The misery comes BEFORE the ripping, as I'm trying to make the decision about whether it needs to happen or not. I almost always decide that it does need to happen, and in fact have never regretted ripping out and redoing, so I'm not sure why I persist in fighting it. Nevertheless, it sometimes takes hours of contemplating a piece, getting more and more unhappy in my indecision, before my brain finally snaps into place and I decide to rip. Once I make the decision I always do it rightawaythissecond, since for me the second-most horrible knitting-related feeling is having decided to rip something out but not having done it yet. (The Most Horrible Knitting Feeling I have personally experienced is working for months on something, only to have it be a poor fit. I imagine an even more horrible feeling would be working that hard on a gift for an unappreciative recipient, but thankfully I have never had to deal with that one.) Anyway, once the ripping is done, and the yarn is drying in the laundry room, I tend to feel energized and excited to implement the changes I have in mind, and that's where I'm at right now. I think this next version of the sweater front will be The One...but then again, I could be wrong. I'm confident that it will, at least, be better than the last one.
The odd thing about redoing the front so many times, is that I have a lot of time to work on the other pieces while the yarn is drying out, so my finishing sequence is all off. The front (version 1) was the first piece I finished, and will probably (as version 9) also be the last. The back and one sleeve are done, and the other sleeve is in progress. I know plenty of knitters who intentionally work pieces out of written order - do sleeves first, and get up to all kinds of wacky hijinks - but I am generally so eager to see how the finished product is coming, that I stick to strict seaming order - back, front, (seam), sleeve (seam), sleeve (seam), finishing. It's going to drive me a little nuts that I'll have a back and two sleeves, and not be able to seam them together without the front. BUT. We must persevere. I can seam the underarms to take the edge off.