The Cure for Finishitis: Actually Finishing
April 15, 2008
Well, I know you’ll be relieved to hear that last night, at 9:48 pm CDT, in my favorite knitting chair, I finally arrived at the mountaintop. There it is: the last stitch of Alice Starmore’s Keava.
For the record, I started this sweater in March 2004, back when George W. Bush was our president, back when our trade deficit was huge, back when we were in a two-front war in the Middle East–O how times have changed!
When I started this sweater, I gave myself the outlandish deadline of 2008 to finish it. As I read through the moldy archives of the blog to see what my frame of mind was when I began this project, I’m surprised at how chipper I was, how ready for adventure–how foolhardy and YOUNG. Who was that starry-eyed knitter? What was she thinking?
Things I Have Learned While Making This Sweater
1. The Pleasure of Finishing Something. It is an excellent feeling to finish a Fair Isle sweater, even if it’s one that I will be wearing only under extreme weather conditions. It’s funny: this morning we have freezing temperatures, which are unusual this time of year, so Mother Nature provided me with an unexpected chance to give Keava a test-run. With unwoven strands trailing from the cuffs, I took the fellas to school. I am telling you, those Shetland islanders have it figured out: this yarn is remarkably lightweight, spongy almost, and insulates better than any other sweater I own. Despite the stranded knitting, it’s not heavy. I felt like a toasty, loud-colored sheep this morning.
2. Getting Better at Something. This is a big if obvious one: by the final sleeve of this Keava, I was clicking along much faster than I did at the beginning. I worked half of that last sleeve in one day, as we watched the final nine holes of the Masters which I usually watch and wished for Tiger Woods to win, even when it was clear that he wouldn’t. At this point, I’m pretty sure he is a cyborg.
By the way, golf may be the perfect sport for a knitter. You watch, you knit, you accidentally fall asleep or otherwise enter a fugue state, yet you never really miss much. All those whispering commentators. I’m zoning out right now, just thinking about them.
3. Patience. I think this is the single biggest lesson of this project for me. There are a number of irritants about Fair Isle. At first, things like switching out yarn colors, knitting with two hands, and following a chart gave me moments of high annoyance. But something very interesting has happened in the past FOUR YEARS of intermittent knitting on this project: I stopped worrying about the irritants and realized that this is just a different sort of knitting. There’s speed knitting, and there’s this. It doesn’t appear that I’m going to stop knitting anytime soon, so what’s the problem?
4. I Think I Want to Make Another One. This may be akin to the sort of conversation I had after walking a half-marathon with my friend Frannie. “There’s one in Phoenix! We can do that one next!”
Haven’t been walking in Phoenix much.