It has been said that the body of a sweater can be an endless ocean of stockinette.
I tend to agree. Today's meditation focuses on the middles of sweaters.
Between the interesting and exciting Beginning of the sweater, and the triumphant exhilaration of the End of the sweater, lies the no-man's land of the body knitting. It's a desert, an unbroken field, an airport parking lot. Immense, gargantuan, and freakin' huge. The sweater I am working on has entered this stage prematurely, on day 2 of its existence. It's my own fault. I thought I would mix things up a bit, and eschew my typical extravagant lower border in favor of something more restrained. I'm supposed to challenge myself, no? Well that was fine, except I forgot that a simple little border does not offer the bonus of distraction. When the first thing I do on a garment is six or eight inches of challenging color work, the difficulty usually distracts me from thinking about how many inches are completed. Not so with this number. The wimpy little nancy-border was over in like two seconds, leaving me on stranded on the beach. Nothing to see but the miles of flat water ahead. No cables or shaping or interest of any kind. Nothing but the hypnotic sameness of knit, knit, knit.
I have heard this kind of knitting referred to as "TV knitting". I think it refers to the kind of knitting you can do at the same time as something else, because it doesn't require much of you. Since ALL of my knitting is done at the same time as something else, I can't really categorize it that way. This is neither talent nor gift; only strategy. If I didn't co-knit (knitting while also in line at the DMV, knitting while also quizzing a child on spelling words, knitting while also water skiing - you know the drill), I would never knit at all.
This piece is also big. I mean BIG, as in 288 stitches in a round, on size 3 needles. That's a 48" circumference, to you and me (provided the Gods of Gauge are feeling benevolent - never a guarantee). I made the mistake of estimating how many stitches are going to be in the thing: 80,640. This does not encourage me. I have decided instead to measure my progress, not by the stitch, or even the inch, but by the skein. That's right; even yardage is too weak a measurement; I need the big guns. I have estimated that 5 inches of sweater body length equal about one skein of yarn, so that is going to be my progress milepost. I predict that I will have to knit one whole skein every day this week to stay on schedule. Even for a knitting maniac, that is a fat-ass goal.
I will now retreat to what relative privacy I can , and execute the following emergency measures:
1. A sincere entreaty to the patron saint(s) of Repetitive Motion Injury - anybody know who that is?
2. Blood sacrifice to Garterina and Stockinetta, the Pagan Gods of dull knitting.
3. Serene reflection on the nature and consequence of overcommitment.
4. Location of the backup emergency corkscrew.