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Trying to Fix What Can’t Be Fixed

Dear Kay,
MUCH has happened since last I wrote. My duties as one of four co-chairs of the Eighth Grade Pancake Breakfast are now complete, after a 3 am wakeup and a respectable serving of 1,500 breakfasts on Friday morning. The only mishap, other than running out of sausage and pancake cooks who did not want to stop making pancakes, happened here:
(That’s 3,700 pieces of bacon being laid out to meet its destiny. The stuff of dreams and nightmares, I tell you!)
During the pregame food prep, I was dismantling Canteloupe #9 and managed to slice my left index finger. One of the cooks handed me a Band-Aid and said, “It was one of those blue knives, wasn’t it?” to which I said yes, and she nodded. “It’s always those blue knives,” which made me think: it’s funny how we know things aren’t always quite right, but we don’t always fix them, do we?
Which brings me to the knitting thing. I didn’t think much of my cut until I hunkered down with the ol’ Donegal project and found that the cut was precisely at the landing spot for Yarn No. 2. You know: you hold the two yarns for Fair Isle across your index fingers. I couldn’t get anything going, what with the Band-Aid mucking up the works. And taking off the Band-Aid meant that all that woolly goodness was slicing right into the cut.
Ech! Sorry! I just gave myself that electricity-in-my-feet feeling.
It was just as well, actually, because I was crabby about this small circular needle anyway, and this gave me the opportunity to take some of the good advice suggested last time I wrote about the challenge of knitting on a 12″-inch circular. (Thanks, you guys, for all the ideas.) Time to swap out some needles.
I didn’t have a long size three, to do Magic Loop. But I do have a pile of size 3 circs, so I went with the notion of knitting the sleeve on two circular needles. I do this sort of thing all the time–I love two circs! Makes me think of Cat Bordhi, and that’s never a bad thing. I threaded the stitches onto two Clover bamboo circs, only to remember that Clovers are not good for this two-circs knitting thing: the cables are too stiff to droop out of the way properly. I limped back to my needle stash, dragging my bad finger behind me, to dig up some floppier-becabled needles.
Great, great. I got that all situated, only to find that the sleeve had become even more tangled than before, what with all the floppy circs and the two yarns and the narrow diameter of the sleeve and the so forth and the so on. The constant yarn changes, with the accompanying spit-felting, made all this exhaustingly cumbersome, worse than ever.
So I ditched the two circs and returned to my 12″ circular, relieved that at least I knew what the deal was. It was like trying to get comfortable in an airplane seat: no matter how many pillows you stuff around yourself, no matter how cleverly you wedge yourself against the bulkhead, you inexorably arrive at that moment when you have to accept the fact that you’re trying to sleep sitting upright.
If you need proof of why spit-felting is superior to not-spit-felting, take a look at the right side, where I was joining yarns before I remembered to do spit-felting. That’s FUN ON THE HORIZON, folks.
By Sunday, my wound had healed up enough that only a little yarn got stuck in the cut–JUST KIDDING! Just trying to gross you out. I flipped the sweater inside out to work the sleeves, because working a narrow-diameter Fair Isle inside out means that your floats automatically get a little longer, and you don’t end up with those pinched floats inside when you’re knitting with the right side out. Once I did this, things really started looking up: my stitches were smoother, I was reconciled to knitting with these $(%*&$*# freaking needles, and I knew at some point this flight was going to end.
Still picking yarn out of my wound–JUST KIDDING!
PS Still wallowing in the season finale of Mad Men. Wasn’t it deluxe?

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  1. You, who are about to weave in a whack of ends, I salute you.
    Knit on!
    P.S. I think that many ends is easily a whack but I think it could be a bazillion, possibly a gugillion but I wouldn’t want you to be accused of hyperbole.

  2. However many ends there are, that is one bee-you-tee-ful sweater, my friends. Maybe you can pay someone slightly above minimum wage to do those for you? Or barter, you do my ends, I’ll knit you a whack of dishcloths? It is worth considering.

  3. OMG! every time you said something about yarn in the wound it gave me the CHILLS! that feeling is familiar to me bc…it’s happened to me before and you NEVER forget that feeling!!! ICK!
    and omg. your sweater is just AMAZING! have I used enough !!!s and CAPS yet? NOOO!!! :o) haha!
    hugs, elaine.

  4. Loved the Mad Men season finale. Especially since the company I worked for was just sold to a larger company.
    I would love to see Joan or Peggy take up knitting !!!!!

  5. I did exactly the same thing to my finger (in the yarn holding spot) last week.
    Two words:
    Super Glue
    a few more words:
    Wait until it dries BEFORE you start knitting. Very important, this.

  6. I started this same sweater about 15 years ago. When I began I worked on it dilligently for a month or so before my dislike of colorwork reasserted itself. Now it is languishing in a box in the closet. Every five years I pull it out, find the pattern, sort out the yarn, knit a row or two and put it back in the box. I have begun the knitting for the steeks and had decided that this would probably make an excellent vest. Seeing your work, I’m thiniking about pulling it out again even though it’s only been two years. Can you promise mine will look as nice as yours?

  7. Deluxe with a side of sweet potato fries! I about died when Joan answered the phone, “Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce!”

  8. Your descriptions this morning are so spot on, you make me giggle with truthiness. Good job. Hope your finger is better. And weaving ends? You get into a zen state on that…

  9. “It’s always those blue knives.” Sounds like a line from a Stephen King novel or the beginning of a great drive-in horror movie.
    Can you cauterize all those ends? No, probably not enough acrylic in the yarn…yikes! just kidding. You’re a better man than I am, Ann, I’d be weeping over that many ends.
    I was the room mom for the 5th grade traditional Thanksgiving feast years back and made about that much turkey jerky and from-scratch cornbread. Fun times. (No blue knives involved.)

  10. ew! ewwww! I felt tinfoil in my teeth, not electricity in my feet, but it’s still ewwww!
    On the other hand, your comparison to the moment of resignation to the fact that one is trapped in an airplane seat is right on the money. Also a little bit queasy-making.
    Hope you heal quickly!
    p.s. I’m not falling for the old “wool in the wound” gag again. “Gag.” heh.

  11. Even the inside of that sweater is beautiful. If you ignore the endstobewoven.
    I always manage to get the injury on the pad of my left index finger where the needle wants to poke into on every stitch.

  12. Oh man, I am STILL basking in the Mad Men afterglow. When Joan walked in, I jumped up and did a dance. HOORAY!

  13. I’m a firm believer in spit-splicing. My Expedition-in-progress is hardly a Starmore, but by spit-splicing when I start a new ball I’ll have accumulated something like 5 total ends to darn in. And since I’ve done those as I go, there’ll only be one to do when I finish this second sleeve.
    I’m very familiar with the cut finger thing. The culprit for me, though, is thick suture material when I’m doing surgery. Leaves my glove intact but it slices into the finger when I tighten down knots.

  14. Hi Ann,
    Love the sweater, loved the Mad Men finale.
    Villagecrone, Christina Hendricks (Joan)is
    is knitter, it was in a recent issue of People.
    In Season 2, Harry’s wife was shown knitting
    something for their baby to be.

  15. Oh man – with that title and that pic, I thought there was a mistake in the sweater and my heart stopped. Whew – don’t do that to me honey! Now that I’m breathing again, echo the superglue comment above. It works for surgery pts (listed as cyanoacrylate esther adhesive), it’ll work for a blue knife cut.

  16. Grosser than gross. The yarn-y cut AND the ends that need weaving. But Mad Men? Deluxe indeed!! It’s rare that I feel exhilarated after a tv show, but hot damn!

  17. Just starting to rent the first season of MadMen and I’m hooked. Had some good advice from Terry O’Reilly (http://www.cbc.ca/ageofpersuasion/).
    Love, love the sweater. It’s way more tempting than the book.
    And you can’t gross me out: I’m a nurse and I can out gross out my husband and he’s a large animal vet. Bring it on.

  18. My blood ran cold just reading about your yarn running through the cut on your finger!!!

  19. If you’re sure the cut is clean and healing, hit that thing with super glue. It’ll seal it shut and makes it possible to knit without any pain but a little snaggyness if the yarn pulls directly over the glue. If you’re REALLY thinking, curl your finger into whatever shape it needs to be in before you hit it with the glue; that helps a lot.
    Extreme knitting. Yeah, baby. Pass the super glue.

  20. Good Grief! I thought you were about to say you cut the STEEK in the wrong place! Don’t scare me like that!

  21. The sweater is fabulous, but that photo of the ends makes me almost pass out. You might want some liquid encouragement before starting that task! As for the finger, there is a nifty product called a liquid bandage (can’t remember the brand name)that you can paint on a cut and it seals it up kind of like fingernail polish fixes a run in your hose. It is intended for small, surface cuts…not cuts so deep you can run yarn through them. The cool thing about the bandage is that is doesn’t catch yarn if you need to knit (notice the use of the word “need”, not “want”). Happy healing.

  22. It was the season FINALE? I was on Ravelry at that time. What was I thinking?

  23. If Don Draper would take up knitting, just think of all the stress-relieving it would bring him. He could sit in the hotelroom cum office with his chums/co-workers churning out cardigans and cowls while taking over advertising accounts up and down Madison Avenue! It broke my heart when Sally challenged him and then walked out of the room. Joan! now this is going to get good.

  24. We are quite a group, very worried about not knitting. Not so worried about Ann’s finger healing, eh? Knitting really is a (wonderful) obsession, isn’t it? We know what’s important.
    I broke my hand a couple of years ago, and really, the first thing I thought was “Oh, no! I don’t think I can knit in this brace!”

  25. Ann, try sealing that cut with superglue. I’m not kidding! Hold the edges together and apply a tiny bit of superglue to cover the cut. It’ll keep water and germs and wool out of the cut and allow you to function without a bandaid. As a nurse, I’ve used this many times when my fingers and knuckles crack open from washing them so much at work. Try it!

  26. Ann, try sealing that cut with superglue. I’m not kidding! Hold the edges together and apply a tiny bit of superglue to cover the cut. It’ll keep water and germs and wool out of the cut and allow you to function without a bandaid. As a nurse, I’ve used this many times when my fingers and knuckles crack open from washing them so much at work. Try it!

  27. I think I will start answering at home: “Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.” That will weed out the uncool callers. Ha! Last episode was a great payoff for some of the slower ones this season. What a stunner! How will we last till next season? And how great will that be? wow.

  28. A 3:00AM wake up to volunteer at school?! Is this Massachist Elemetary School, or what?! I though arriving at DD’s High School Honors Breakfast at 7:45AM was a bit excessive.

  29. this is a do you remember
    when mother cut her self storey
    you don’t -well it was november
    of o9 yes way back then

  30. Duct Tape. Just put it right over the band aid, or even directly over the cut with a piece of tissue underneath. The yarn slides right over.

  31. Gee, knitters are a hearty, “die hard” bunch–
    Neither a blue knife, nor pancakes, nor countless rashers of bacon, nor the gloom of a 12 inch circ shall stay this dear knitter from swift completion of her apPOINTed “rounds”…
    ‘Nuf said.

  32. Beth, my husband used to be an electrician and he says duct tape heals all wounds (like windex in my big fat Greek wedding!). I need to try spit felting. Those ends scare me.

  33. I can just see Don knitting now. And Oh, imagine how smokey that knitting would be!!

  34. ‘Streuth, I sincerely trust that they ditched those blue knives!

  35. I feel your pain. I recently broke my left index finger. The pain of the finger was much less than the pain of not being able to knit. After a time in the brace, I actually taught myself to throw…I just couldn’t not knit.

  36. I feel your pain. I recently broke my left index finger. The pain of the finger was much less than the pain of not being able to knit. After a time in the brace, I actually taught myself to throw…I just couldn’t not knit.

  37. Thanks for the Bill Withers’ memory.

  38. Please explain spit felting!

  39. I read about Mad Men in your blog so I checked it out. Am a big fan now….love the show. But WHY oh WHY is it the end of the season NOW? I thought end of the season was…you know…in the spring like all the other TV shows? (I don’t watch much TV….have things changed?)

  40. We put our crack science team on this, because we have known for a long time about the superglue on a cut thing. But here’s some news knitters might need:
    [from wikipedia article on cyanoacrylate]
    Applying cyanoacrylate to materials made of cotton or wool (such as cotton swabs, cotton balls, and certain yarns or fabrics) results in a powerful, rapid exothermic reaction. The heat released may cause minor burns, and if enough cyanoacrylate is used, the reaction is capable of setting the cotton product in question on fire, as well as releasing additional irritating vapor in the form of white smoke.[3]
    Material Safety Data Sheets for cyanoacrylate instruct users not to wear cotton or wool clothing, especially cotton gloves, when applying or handling cyanoacrylates.[4]
    Good to know.

  41. Three Things: 1) As always, thanks for the laugh-out-loud 2) omg..look at all the ends! 3) This is the first time my body became so involved in reading MDK, enough with the cringes – o.k.?!(just kiddin’)

  42. Yes, interesting how people don’t ever fix some things. sorry your finger got caught in that.
    If I was not a committed knitter (to knitting that is, although the way the day has been, I won’t mind being committed somewhere…)anyways, the yarn in the wound thing, all the mucking with needles and then the picture of the sweater with steeked edge…well, it just makes you wonder–and this is what a knitter does for fun???

  43. Don’t we just take these little 10 digits for granted? I am famous for a finger cut on Thanksgiving while down to the wire with the stuffing.
    Mad Men, so many memories come alive there. My Dad in his top coat, cigarette smokers everywhere you look,etc.etc. Yes, looking forward to next season. Thanks for the chuckles, as always.

  44. Ann, could I talk you into some photos (or better yet a little video) of knitting your sweater inside out for the floats? I just finished my first stranded project (fiddlehead mittens) and they turned out both gigantic and puckered. How did I manage both? I need to give a pair of mittens to someone with small hands so I’ve got to get this stranded thing figured out but I don’t think I’m doing the inside out thing right. I keep finding my project slowly back right side out. I must be holding it upside down or something.

  45. Forget your wound description, it’s those ends that are making me woozy..

  46. The colors in that sweater are absolutely gorgeous! But the ends — Yikes! — maybe start on them fresh one morning after a good night’s sleep?
    Finger cuts are so painful. I worked in a stationery store for years and sliver-thin paper cuts hurt like hell. I use liquid band-aid stuff.

  47. The sweater is beautiful, but the ends! I have a pair of socks like that that’s been “finished” for like two years and I’ve thought of just leaving them in there.
    I use spit splicing all the time, just did a top down cardigan for my son with maybe 5 ends to weave in, lovely! But I have a question. When you’re using spit splicing to change colors, how do you know where to do it? So that the color change happens on the right stitch? This question is what stops me from splicing on fairisle.
    Great books, great blog!!

  48. I think hand size has something to do with dealing with 12″ circs. My hands are quite small so I like knitting with them.
    Your sweater is gorgeous; even the inside is lovely. May a suggest a large bag of M&M’s to help make working in those ends easier?

  49. oh! You are making me want to pick up and finish the stranded mittens I was making last winter. All that is left is a thumb, but it’s in the wrong place so I have to move it. Thus the putting it off. But stranded is so fun, isn’t it?? Thanks for the inspiration!


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