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March Madness, Indeed

Dear Kay,
I was so crabby after Davidson’s noble effort last night that I ended up in my closet, rooting around in what is the inevitable crapheap of my life. A bad mood always sends me toward cleaning up, so at least something came of that so-close-yet-so-far ending to the Kansas-Davidson game.
The whole issue of my closet is really irritating to me. It’s one of those closets that has all these cubbies and shelves and clothes rods–too much room, really. It means that you can continue to buy T shirts at the Banana Republic outlet pretty much forever, because there’s always room for another one. It means that inventory control is impossible: once I collated my black pants, I discovered I had four pairs of black pants, each with a fatal flaw that meant I never wear any of them. After deciding that one pair can in fact be rehabilitated and swearing never to buy black pants again, I moved to the back half of the closet, which is the highly upholstered zone known as my stash.
It is also the land of limbo for unfinished objects, of course. Imagine my surprise when I unearthed the item featured above, the Fair Isle sweater that has been a part of my life since the early part of the millennium. Anybody who recognizes this project is a true blue reader of this blog. Anyway, Keava, an Alice Starmore pattern, is only one sleeve shy of being finished. I was so stunned to discover this, because I would have bet you a hundred bucks that back when I put this project into turnaround, I hadn’t started the sleeves. Hunh. A sleeve left to go.
At this point I don’t really even care whether this sweater will be worn, by anybody. It just seems unfair somehow to leave this project dangling in unbeloved limbo.
As I hunkered down with this unwieldy, scratchy little pile of Shetland wool, I remembered what it was that had made me abandon it.
1. The needles at the sleeve had just picked up 135 stitches, ready to start sleeving. When I checked the pattern, there is no size that calls for 135 stitches to be picked up around the sleeve hole. Yet the first, completed sleeve has 135 stitches around the sleeve hole. Maybe I freaked out and worried about a sausage arms issue? I can’t believe I can’t remember how I ended up with 14 stitches fewer than the smallest size calls for. I tried it on, and sure enough, the sleeves fit great–if you like a drop-shoulder sleeve. Did I custom-size this? Randomly screw up? Absolutely no recall.
2. Old Gold. There’s no more Old Gold in my basket of Keava yarn. I’m guessing that I put the brakes on Keava so that I could track down more Alice Starmore Campion in Old Gold. These days, anybody working an Alice Starmore pattern has to use Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool because Starmore’s is no longer made. So I fished out my Jamieson & Smith shade card to see what the Old Gold situation is, and I discovered that Jamieson & Smith doesn’t make anything resembling Old Gold anymore. They suggest that you substitute Chartreuse, which is the yellowy green most prominent in the pattern.
Well, that is a sort of bummer, because Old Gold adds a certain whatever to the insane mix of colors here. (I do not claim that this is a beautiful colorway, mind you. It’s crazy, thassall.) So I fished out a skein of Alice Starmore Campion I have in the shade known as Ginger, and I’m trying it out to see if it will add a certain whatever to the mix:
If it’s dire, and it’s too early to tell, I’ll just use Chartreuse in place of Old Gold, and the sleeve will be slightly less whatever.
I did crank a couple of inches on this last night, in my crabitude, and by the end, I was much mollified and soothed about wee Davidson’s brush with greatness. And I discovered that Fair Isle really does have mysterious, hypnotic powers.
PS In the interest of proving that I can in fact finish something, here’s the Tailgate Rug, 2008 Edition, all bordered up and ready to cover a floor:
I think I’m catching a case of Finishitis.

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  1. Why not just do a saved eBay search for Old Gold for the rest of your natural life? It will come along one day.
    But if you hate the sleeve fit I think you should make it into a cushion right now. Bad sleeves are hateful.
    Just my opinion of course.

  2. I don’t hate the sleeve fit; it’s a really fine dropped-shoulder sleeve. It’s AUTHENTIC! I’m all in! I already have two cushions hiding in the back of the closet already! I’m going for it! The eighties are back with us, anyway! Once I get my bad perm going, this is going to be great.

  3. Ooh, don’t usually arrive this early in the comments section, so thought I’d check in to say hi to you both – I’m reading from Ireland, a relatively (okay, very – I’ve just learned to do a yarn over) new knitter. I’m terribly impressed by your ability to Fair-Isle this and border that and even more envious of what sounds like an impressive stash.
    Love the blog, have done loads of research into knitting blogs and you are one of the first places I stop each day. Right up there with the best. But you knew that.

  4. Rock on with your bad self! A finished tailgate and yer gonna finish that fair isle. It’s all good.

  5. Can you send some of those Finishitis germs to me in a little test tube or something? I definitely need to catch that.

  6. Yep, I’ve finishitis as well. Which is good, because it will counteract the raging startitis I had earlier this year.
    I like the bordered Tailgate Rug. **adds to mile-long list of projects to try**

  7. Big adrenaline spike here, I ran to check the stash I inherited. Sure enough… pristine skein of Campion…, Oh shucks, it is the Oasis color. Green. Too Bad.

  8. Ann, I sure hope Finishitis is contagious, by computer. I could use a case!

  9. Oh, I love that sweater! At least, I’ve loved watching you knit it… Here I thought you’d finished it…. I’m sure you’ll find that the colours will just work fine. If not, just keep one arm behind your back when you wear it.

  10. The rug and the sweater are both fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  11. The Alice Starmore is so lovely! You should really check out Jamieson’s (NOT the same company as Jamieson & Smith, although they are both in Lerwick, Shetland) as their line called Spindrift has so many gorgeous shades that might work for you. They are such nice people to deal with, as well!

  12. Come on! Finish that sleeve! You know you want it!
    Your post reminded me of my still erh…, ‘sleeping’ fair isle w.i.p. Not going to fish those out anytime soon though.

  13. The tailgate rug is wonderful. The joins with the ragball, really does add a lot to the finished product. We are needing a new bathmat, but first, I have a few other things to finish up.
    Good luck with the sweater project.

  14. I might have some in my campion collection – I live just a bit south of you, so, I’ll let you know as soon as I’m allowed into where it’s stored (just daughter’s room but son is currently in from the UK and appropriating the space) – give me a few hours, ‘K?

  15. Tailgate Rug II is fabu. xoxo kellu

  16. I hate Kansas. I never want to go to Kansas again. It’s going to make driving to Iowa from Texas very interesting.

  17. I feel your pain. My alma mater is UConn. At least your coach is not being paid millions to get knocked out in the first round. At least I’m getting more knitting done.

  18. I might have some Old Gold. Even though at first I thought you were talking cigarettes. I’ll try and remember to check the bin when I get home.

  19. Ann, I may have some Old Gold, too. I will look this evening…it will take a while to wade through MY closet. Oh God. What a disaster. Let me know if you do need it and I will let you know if I find any. :0) S.

  20. Ann, please, please PLEASE come sit next to me and sneeze on my knitting or something. I’m desperate for some finishitis!!
    Hoping it’s contagious,

  21. That is a lovely sweater. I want to be able to knit things with that much detail (I know it is possible, I’ve just not bothered to expand my knitting skills). Good luck on finding either the original color or an acceptable substitute.

  22. The photo of this sweater looks beautiful, although I was relieved to learn that you hadn’t just whipped it up in between bordering the tailgate rug. Geez… Good luck finding the elusive Old Gold.

  23. I thought you finished that, but read it to my husband to help him understand why I keep starting things before I finish all the others! Thank you.

  24. Ann,
    I may have some Old Gold. I bought a bunch of Campion a long time ago and have never done anything with it.
    I will look this evening and let you know.

  25. Well, Davidson gave them a heckuva run baby, a heckuva run. They really should have taken it, I was surely screaming my head off for them. They played a dipdog great game.
    If you can wrestle finishitis out of the jaws of defeat, well shoot—- I was just struggling to finish with something positive and upbeat!!!!

  26. Gwyneth, I second that emotion!
    Ann, that sweater is to die for. I just stared in awe with a dropped jaw (and there wasn’t any sight of any cake in the room, either) when your page blinked open, and a vision of lovliness I saw. I just love the pattern, the colors, and the ribbing is a dream of mine that I had forgotton. Maybe someday, I also could knit such a Fair Isle. Right now, I get the vicarious thrill…
    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  27. Ooo, lucky you. I’ve never caught that.

  28. OK – hopefully this will feel better: I bow to you and feebly wave a little flag. The Davidson team (what are there, 1700 students there?) did, in actual fat and fair and skware beat out my big strong brawny BADGERS. I tip my bonnet to ye. And I can tell you, there’s NOTHING like that in my Unfinished Stuff pile. Half a cotton dishrag maybe (and not a cool one of your patterns, a mindless Dummy Grammy one). Don’t get me wrong, I LURVE those dummygranny dishcloths and crank them out enthusiastically. But…fairisle they ain’t. There is applause happening here for you. Standing ovation-type applause. Just sayin’.

  29. Oops…please, in actual FACT. FACT. (Not fat – I think at 4’11” I have more fat that the combined whole Davidson team) Apologies.

  30. Is finishitis contagious? If so, can you come over to my house? Also – the closet that is too big? Can it come over to my house?

  31. it’s a lovely color combo…finish it finish it…or send it to me and I will…I LOVE these colors all together…and the pattern is gorgeous…

  32. I too may have old gold – the question is how deep is it buried – so if someone gets to you before me – cool. Maybe you should let us enablers know how much and what dyelot as well, eh? Also, I loved that you said “Hunh?” in your post! Call me weird but I’ve been miffed ever since the entire printed world went over to Huh instead of Hunh!!! Would the French spell it Huh? It actually IS hunh when you say it fellow readers – practice a couple times. You are my heroine now in the most surprising unthought of way!!!!

  33. I have quite a bit of Campion in yellows and greens. I’ll check this evening.

  34. I have quite a bit of Campion in yellows and greens. I’ll check this evening.

  35. I have an unfinished fair isle sweater too. Am kind of wanting to frog it and use the yarn for felted placemats. I wish I would have made a SMALL fair isle item, like a hat or gloves or maybe even a pillow. Not the whole gigantic big Proustian THING. It overwhelmed me.

  36. So sorry about Davidson. We have a kid from our town on the team – Bryant Barr – so I was rooting pretty hard for them. But what a game!

  37. I love how the tail gate rug looks! BTW..if you don’t have any floor space available I am sure I could make room for it at my home ;p

  38. I, too, was sad for Davidson, but even sadder for Duke who dropped from the radar much earlier. Rumor has it the flu bug was the main reason.

  39. I guess it’s too late to pretend it’s a vest?

  40. …crabitude, huh? I LOVE that word and plan to adopt it!- with appropriate credit of course! I had quite a lot of crabitude last week- due to a prolonged date with “the flu” despite having the flu shot months ago. Didn’t even want to knit…wasn’t even interesting in THINKING about knitting. Yep, crabitude was everywhere. I am happy to report that crabitude (and the flu) have flown the coop! Thanks for reminding me that crabitude…just happens, even to knitters…and is thoroughly temporary.


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