Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.


Dear Ann,
How the heck are you? Today, I’m putting the finishing touches on Soccer Pullover. In my Knitting Plan, this was a One-Week Project, from cast-on to Finished Object. At the present time, I am well into Week Two. Oh well.
I’ve received Reader Mail informing me that in the UK, this would be called Football Pullover. This is one of those moments when two of my strongest impulses collide. On the one hand, it is my firm policy to adopt all Anglicisms that I possibly can. Why, just last night I was telling Hubby to put a piece of luggage in the boot of our motorcar. “Blimey, man, get yer skates on–we’re bloody late!” said I. (I’m not saying I’m good at pretending to be British; just that it is my firm policy to do so.)
But in this case, even if it means forgoing an opportunity to put on the Airs of the Dubiously English, I am sticking with Soccer Pullover. Why? Because I grew up in Nebraska, where the American version of football is The Most Important Thing in Life PERIOD. As a small child, I quaked when my dad leapt to his feet, roaring at Coach Bob Devaney on the television screen. The house shook, and I worried that Life As We Know It would end if we lost the annual game with Oklahoma.
Since playing football was compulsory for boys of that time and place, I also associate football with my brother looking like he was going to retch and/or cry on rides home from ‘midget football’ practice. I have never been more powerlessly angry at anybody, ever, than I was at the so-called ‘coaches’ who stood on the sidelines shouting at 10-year-olds who missed their blocking assignments. If I could have struck them dead on the spot, North Omaha would have been littered with the corpses of middle-aged tyrants.
One of my promises to my child self was that, when I grew up, as God is my witness, I’d never watch football again. Not even the Orange Bowl. I am very good at keeping promises to my child self, to the point that I have sometimes forgotten, and called home on New Year’s Day, right in the middle of the Big Game. Everyone is surprised that I not only don’t know the score, I don’t know who “we” are playing. I’m all, Dude, I don’t watch football, and they’re all, ‘Nah….really?’ For it is unthinkable to them that anyone doesn’t watch football. (I know how you love your Tennessee Titans, Ann; this is my personal baggage, which does not represent the views of Mason-Dixon Knitting.)
Enough reliving childhood trauma, therapeutic as that is (for me): back to the knitting content!
Last night during the extra innings of the Yankees/Red Sox game (oy! more sports!), I had ample (very ample) opportunity to sew the ends into the back of the Soccer Ball Motif. See how nice?
Pop Quiz:
Sewing in the ends took me–
a. Many hours
b. More time than I can possibly justify
c. Months
d. Forever
e. All of the above
The answer is (e), but it was mindless and therefore deeply satisfying. I use the sewing-in process to make little nips and tucks that close holes in the color changes of the intarsia. I know I should prevent these holes from forming in the first place, but holes have a way of occurring even in the best intarsial experiences. (I am always so happy when I see a little hiccup in an intarsia sweater photographed in a Rowan book–they’re human! Yay!) I’m curious to see what will happen on the back after the shrinking process. I tried not to pull very tight, to leave a little shrink-room. Usually the shrinkage helps keep ends from popping out, so I’m cautiously optimistic that these guys will play nice and behave themselves.
Earlier today (but not so early that I had decent light for a picture), I did a three-needle bind-off of the short-rowed shoulder seams.
(What is that gold string? It’s an elastic cord from the box of Lore’s chocolates that Cheryl gave me when I visited Philly 10 days ago. When I reached the back neck on the train ride home, I improvised a stitch holder, and ate some chocolates to keep my strength up.)
And here I go, after picking up 92 stitches for the neckband:
The white doughnut is an elastic hairband posing as a gigantic stitch marker to identify the start of a new round of the neckband. Like my resourceful pioneer ancestors, I can make a stitch holder or marker out of pretty much anything. In this case it saved me the trouble of getting off the chair and walking two steps to get a proper one out of my tool kit.
One thing I’ve been looking forward to is seeing how this thing fades. It goes into the hot wash tonight. Can you stand the play-by-play knitting excitement?
Happy Monday,
Love, Kay




  1. Cor’ luvva duck ! That’s a lot of bloomin’ ends to stitch in !
    I’d like to point out at this moment that duck loving is strictly a south of the border custom and we Scots largely restrain our romantic feelings in that direction. Tho’ if we ever meet in person I’ll tell you the one about the Aberdonian and the sheep …
    Em, btw, won’t the blue run and dye your white ball in the process ?? Just askin’….
    Heather x

  2. The husband and I are also not sports people (lucky we have each other) and we actually WENT TO THE MOVIES DURING THE GAME THE YEAR THE TITANS WERE IN THE SUPER BOWL.

  3. no real comment other than to clap in the no-football solidarity (and the great post.) clap clap clap

  4. DYEing to see how that sweater comes out. Get it? DYEing?
    I’m looking at all those ends and going, WHOA that’s a mess o’ stuff. Looks like a bad suture on ER. Hope that thing heals up OK.
    As for the Titans, well. Kay, I see our journeys through the valley of football to be a perfect inverse. I attended a school that didn’t even HAVE a football team. The college I attended was likewise crippled by its lack of 300-pound burlyguys; we had The Worst Record in the entire country, except of course for Northwestern. So when an NFL franchise came to town five years ago, all that pent-up fandom just came barreling out of me like some kind of sporty Tourette’s Syndrome–I couldn’t help myself, that’s all. Deep-frying a turkey? Seems like a good idea to me, now that I have experienced the communion of the like-minded at a Titans tailgate party. You do know, of course, that I would NEVer allow my boys to play such a heathen boneheaded sport. To my immense relief, David came home last month, announced that flag football was starting and he thought it was stupid. Right on! Go Titans! Your mother is nuts! Whatever!
    And way to keep that pioneer spirit, what with the chocolate box cord and hairband. They rescued Apollo 13 with that kind of resourcefulness.
    I need to get some presentable knitting going ASAP. You are dusting me big time. Does a piece of Koigu, rectangular, count?

  5. The thing about football is, well… its just not baseball. Now that the Cubs have lived out their destiny once again, and it’s all over for this year (again), my knitting output has slowed considerably.
    Those soft hair thingies make great stoppers to put on the ends of your needles to keep stitches from coming off. Point Protectors, I believe the professionals call them. And now I’m off to see if the Yankees and Red Sox ares still tied in the 11th.

  6. Oh Kay, if you had any idea the kind of day I had. I am so tired that I couldn’t even put on the cheerful mommy voice when I called home to “tuck in” my older son over the phone. (And bless his heart, he actually picked up on that and was clearly concerned about me.) So, it is positive balm to my soul to have finally conquered the hotel wireless access and find flashbacks to a midwestern childhood, where all activity (including churchgoing) was planned around the Sunday football broadcasts. (But I am still a fan, in a “I like to know someone is watching it while I putter in the kitchen with the ghosts of my mother, grandmother and aunt” kind of way.)
    All that aside, the SOCCER pullover is really looking fine and I’m very encouraged to hear someone has actually tried the world of short row shaping on shoulders, which seems to me to be the thing that was missing from my knitting all these years. (Still haven’t gotten up to any shoulders to try it myself, though.) So thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. I always forget about short-row shaping until I’ve cast off one of the shoulders and go, “Doh that would have been a good place to do that short-row thing.” Must make this a prioridy.

  8. hm… my telly has a funny reaction… as soon as something with sport is on – any game – it tends to change channel….
    However … it seems you have discovered the idea of how to avoid holes in intarsia ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Kay dear, what if you went Continental and called it the futbol sweater? Does that work for you or doesn’t it? Nah, it’s kind of like Continental breakfast, innit, which doesn’t really stand up to bangers and porridge.
    The image of all those blue suds makes me think I should hermetically seal the skein of Denim you kindly left behind for me. (Okay, the memory of the blue smudges on your cheeks and nose as you sat in my living room working on the back of the sweater also freaked me out a little.)
    We’re big fans of Folkmanis here, too. Bruno is the armadillo boy.
    xo, c.

  10. Can I just say…
    Boomer Sooner!
    -A Loyal Fan

  11. Oh thanks, Jennifer, now I have that stupid tune to Boomer Sooner (same tune as my grandma’s lullaby, ‘Bye-lo, bye-lo’)going through my brain in an endless loop.
    Let’s be clear–I am indifferent to the Sooners, the Huskers, the Crimson Tide, the WHATEVERS (I am still fond of the Huskers’ original name, the Bugeaters–this was back when men were men and football team names had a sense of humor). So it is entirely ineffectual to taunt me with Boomer Sooner. What does Boomer Sooner mean, anyway, and why do the Sooners find it the slightest bit motivating? xoxox Kay

  12. The elastic hairband, in my family, has always been termed (dramatic pause), “a gizzie”. And yes, they are fab. I have about 6 wrapped around my keyring for speedyquickemergency use at any time, in anyplace.

  13. f2ac9703fd3287fd5c99549a6c4c6dfb cb0.


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