The Thin Green LIne
April 14, 2010
Hear me now: I love Volt. Long live Volt.
I love Volt so much that I am determined not to hold it against Volt that its first 10 rows nearly brought an end to my long apprenticeship as a knitter.
Yes. I nearly walked away from knitting forever. Because I kept messing up the increases and decreases on Volt.
Maybe it was the black yarn (and my lousy vision) on that first stripe. Maybe it was the blinding light and heady coconut sunscreen hit of Miami, the feeling that there was a Crime Scene Investigation very near. But I thought I was going to lose my ever-lovin’ mind if I had to rip back those 398 stitches one more time, worm them back onto the needles, and start over.
A healthier, less bloody-minded person would have taken a break from Volt, allowed the brain cells to refresh, pushed the reset button. But I had brought with me only Volt and my sock-yarn log cabin. And I was going to run out of log cabin before I ran out of Spring Vacation. If I did not get some traction on Volt, I was going to have to knit 6 Citron shawlettes. So I kept at Volt, and I kept getting madder and madder at Volt.
And finally it clicked. Knitting always does, eventually. I don’t know why this straightforward, beautiful pattern pushed me so far around the bend.
I’m still counting way too much, considering that the increases and decreases are so clearly visible now. I count nearly every right side row. (It reminds me of how I used to drive halfway to school, turn around, drive back home, and run down to the basement to make sure I’d unplugged the iron, even though I knew I’d unplugged the iron.) I go to sleep counting, and I wake up counting: 12/1/12, 19/1/19, 33/1/33, 54/1/54. I have gotten well past the point where the decreases are visible to me and I don’t have to count (or guess) where to put that slip2, k1, p2sso. Even that wobbly p1, yo, p1 double increase is right there in front of my eyes, now. (How could I have missed it? So many times?) But those hellish first rows cost me a chunk of confidence in my ability to Do Right, so I keep counting to make sure. (I’m counting right now. While I type.)
The most thrilling moments of Volt are when I get to knit that garter ridge of chartreuse every 40 rows. It feels like a real long way between those sweet garter ridges. It’s an accomplishment, every time. An Event.
In the home stretch now, I can’t stop thinking about what to do with the leftover nuggets of cashmere. That’s going to be the best part–a free cashmere scarf. And no counting.