A Personal Best, and a Pile of Kindling

First, I would like to thank you, Gentle Readers, for the outstandingly happy Mojo you sent to me on Monday when my Knitting-Fu went on the blink.  Not long after I posted, things started to sort themselves out, and I can only thank you all for it, because I was still sitting in the jinxed chair, knitting with the same hexed hands.  Your power CAN be used for good, and I'm living proof.  So much so, that I'm pleased to announce that I have finished my fair isle vest, get this: In Exactly Seven Days.  Now I know it's not like I created Heaven and Earth in that timespan, but still, it's a personal best.  Add to that, that this is only my second Fair Isle knitting project EVER, and I'm pretty pleased with myself. {For those who haven't heard me blather on about the differences between Fair Isle and Scandinavian colorwork, just trust me - they're different}.

So in the groove of all things Fair Isle was I, that when I got the knitting done, I decided to take another crack at operating my Wooly Board.  Big for my britches much?

The wooly board and I go way back to the time when I found out that I was going to be a Real Knitter, and started to outfit my studio with all the best gear I could collect.  Most of that gear is absolutely outstanding, and gets used hard, every day.  The wooly board is the only piece of equipment I have failed to understand.  And by "failed", I mean that if my fireplace weren't gas-powered, I would have used this thing to fuel it by now.  Time and time again, I have tried to set the damn thing up and use it to block and dry circular-knit garments.  Time and again, I have collapsed under it, wet sweater akimbo and cursing a blue streak.  I just can't make it work.  And worse than that, I can't help but feel that Alice Starmore lied to me personally, when she suggested in her book on Fair Isle knitting that the wooly board is a useful apparatus.

Because of my epic time constraints, I felt I had to try again with it, though, because blocking and drying a tubular garment flat takes forever (two layers of knitting dry really slowly).  So try I did, fortified by desperation and a glass of wine.  I struggled with all the long wooden bars, bolts and knobs, under the dripping mass of my knitting, armed with pliers, vague "directions" pamphlet and sheer force of will.

I offer here, proof that it can be done.  Sort of.  I gave up on using some of the pieces.  I got soaking wet.  I pinched a finger.  I spewed some choice expletives.  And then I walked away.  This morning, it was already dry, lending credence to the notion that a wooly board really is the superior thing when you can't wait around for drying time.  And my faith in Ms. Starmore is restored, although I wish she had some assembly instructions in her book.  So well does the wooly board work, that I find I actually over-blocked the piece.  By which I mean that I was overzealous in my stretching of the wet knitting, and knocked some of the life out of it.  Not to worry though.  Nothing in the world is as resilient as nice sticky 2-ply shetland wool.  A mist of water and some steam on the ironing board relaxed it back into a more natural shape.  It's now reclining comfortably on a towel on top of the hot tub out back.  The sun is shining.  The sky is blue.  And the wooly board has survived yet another of my attempts to use it.  I still have no clue how to use those sleevy-bits though.