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  • Kay, have I got a Ravelry group to support you in your quest to finish the BFJ: Stash Knit Down. After you squander many precious hours of non-knitting on its boards, I am pretty sure that you’ll find a trick or two to help you get to that desirable finish-line. And while you’re at it, be sure to join the Kaffe Fassett group to show off your master work.

    Then again that glimpse of your log-cabin in progress looks positively mouth-watering.

  • I got myself through the entire body of a fair isle sweater for my husband (fingering weight, size 2 needles, arm and neck steeks). This required much enforced knitting and bargaining (ie. only allowed to work on something else after getting through a full repeat of the chart per day).
    I then had to finally admit it was too small. It became a throw pillow.
    If you want to wear that puppy enough, you will make it so!

  • How about count the # of days til Rhinebeck, set aside a certain# for finishing, washing and blocking, and divide the chart by the days you have left. I would also start living on cereal, sandwiches and take out-and forget about cleanin–get that jacket fine!! We know you can do it.

    • That sounds perfectly reasonable. Unless the number turns out to be 100 rows a day or something!

    • I third this suggestion–and perhaps something good you can listen to since perhaps compelling TV would be better left for the log cabining.

    • This is the classic Yarn Harlot approach to deadline knitting. I feel sure you can get advice from the master herself on it.

  • Appreciate combining knitting with the Stones 🙂

  • I’m starting to feel the same way about all the Christmas knitting I planned last January. Hello Fall. If this was food, my mother would say ‘your eyes are bigger than your stomach.’ One sunny afternoon is all you need to get in the grove. Then you’ll feel it again and be done in plenty of time.

  • Also, I love the Tesco’s bag! I had no idea, and shall instruct the next visitor to the UK to pick me up one!

  • Labor Day Weekend. Three days to reboot.
    So you can tuck yourself into a corner, put on an audiobook so there is something else to think about and let it happen. No screens. You have to be able to look at the knitting.
    You may leave the apartment to walk Olive.
    Good luck!

    • I love the idea of devoting an entire long weekend to one specific endeavor. You would make great progress. Fall cannot get here soon enough for me, but I can already feel the days getting shorter and that greatly affects my energy and the need for more sleep, which unfortunately affects the knitting progress.

  • I like the idea of getting up an hour early to do it. Or stake a time in the evening devoted solely to knitting on BFJ, perhaps with your favourite movie or tv show (but not one that needs you to pay close attention or you won’t know “who done it” at the end). Revisit the oldies but goodies. You Can Do This, though I understand the lure of log cabin striping.

  • No criticism in comments ever. Perhaps a thoughtful loving suggestion. Is it wrong that I say just let it live in a Tesco bag for now and pick up something you enjoy knitting? Why stress about it this year. Plenty of ways to shine and no time restrictions. I am trying to be kinder to myself and accepting that there’s time for whatever is stressing me and it doesn’t have to be NOW.

    • Words to live by. Thanks!

    • I needed those words, too

    • Yes, there is a festival every fall…it’s not as if the pattern is hot off the press!

  • Hang in there Kay! Once done you will have a true heirloom. Your great grandchildren will discover it in a mothball laden chest and admire their ancestor’s handiwork. I took Brandon Mably’s intro to color class twice. You are really working only with two colors-the Big Flower and the background. Don’t obsess over the background-just line the colors up haphazardly. Kaffe’s color sense is so profound that it will work no matter what. You could have a friend help you unwind yarn, cut it and tie it together for the background so all you have to do is concentrate on the Big Flower.

  • So… Last summer I found myself needing to knit a relatively large intarsia blanket in 3 months. To reach my goal, I figured out the total number of rows/ or inches I had to knit. In my case it was 20 rows a day. I marked my beginning with a coil-less safety pin, and I didn’t go to bed before it was done. I tried to do half in the morning, half in the evening. Then I marked my stopping point with another coil less pin. The next day I would try to beat my previous day. I also wrote down my goals on a calendar so I could see how I was coming along. And while I would never mess with that glorious flower, you can go rogue on the sleeves and simplify the pattern if time is working against you… Then it’s not just like everyone else’s Big Flower… It’s Kay’s Flower. Someone once told me that we should be the boss of our own knitting. May your needles have wings!

    • One more suggestion for the sleeves–try knitting them 2 at a time. Knit whatever color on the first sleeve then knit the same color on the second and so on, until you are done. You will only need to sort colors for both sleeves once.

  • As John Lennon said ,” Life is what happens when you are trying to finish your knitting”, or something like that!
    Put your life stuff on the back burner and do it! The thrill of the finish and wearing that sweater will be your knitting crown of glory for 2016! Do it! Do it!

  • The answer is there on page 140 of Glorious Color (I checked the book). Take all the rest of your yarn and make magic balls. If you want to you can follow the chart order, or you can be like the original Kaffe and wing it. Then you need only look at the flower part, and stop with the color changes on every row; let the magic ball determine the fate of your sweater. This is a legitamate option, Brandon and Kaffe told me so when i took the class, ions ago, and had my book signed.

    Remember that in the 90’s those sweaters were much more free form in their color changes. But would be knitters were frightened off by the play with color as you go thing, and felt comfortable having a chart. You would be absolutely true to the concept and spirit of the original by taking this route. When we took the weekend class, the chart we were given on day two was just black and white, the color, and color changes, were ours to choose (I have actually knit fair isle sweaters with the background color done entirely with a magic ball. Serendipity almost always happens, and it all turned out well)

    • Beautiful.

    • Love this suggestion but then again, I tend not to knit exactly what the pattern says (usually works out fine, when it does not, it makes for a really funny story!). I would combine this with the spreadsheet with the number of rows you need to do each day idea. That induces enough panic for me that I finish the thing with a minimum of all nighters because I am so behind. Of course, this is advice coming from a woman whose daughters always rode to church on Easter Sunday dressed only in a slip while I hemmed their dresses in the car on the way – I live in Louisiana so this worked out quite well as it is warm out!

    • Even though I am not sure what a magic ball is, I really like this idea. You can do it, Kay!

    • Ellen for the win! I love this suggestion–so true to the original intent of Kaffe.

      • Great suggestion! You can do it, Kay. Just think about how you will feel when all these people run up to you at Rhinebeck and squeal about the finish! So wish I could be one of them.

      • I so agree!

    • Love this idea. Vive la différence. Make that sweater yours. Think how lovely this sweater will look with the backdrop of those autumn colored leaves. You can do it!

    • I agreed to another commenter’s words of support (and still support her), but I meant to agree with Ellen’s words of wisdom/advice from the master! Colorplay!

  • No advice, just encouragement. You can do it! I have faith in you!

  • First thing that came to mind was several years back when Ann was talking about the time crunch for blogging and something like “just shoot for 15 minutes of writing” was the suggestion on the table. So, I say:

    Just. Shoot. For. One. Row. At. A. Time.

    When that row is finished, give yourself the option for another, and really only do it if you want to or are able. Otherwise, save it for a little while later. Stay in the moment with it. If you are able to wake up an hour earlier, fine. If it will only set you up to fail, don’t. Do what you have to do about the chart. Xerox copies of it as worksheets (if you haven’t already done so), and write on them however you need to make it easier.
    The idea is to be the one to make the decisions. Run the knitting, rather than have the knitting run you.

    Kay, you are a great knitter and a knitter of patience and substance. You have shown over and over your ability to deal with projects whose number of stitches boggle the mind. I have never doubted for one moment that you will complete this project. I am not equal to it, but I know that you are.

    The one last thing I will say about it is that you don’t really have a deadline. Focus on process, know that it can be done, and forget when you think it should be done. There will be a Rhinebeck 2017, too.

    • Hear, hear.

  • After such a hot summer, I fear that Rhinebeck might be a hot one too. Perhaps it might be better to aim for next year? You don’t want to have to carry that big flower around the whole fair do you? (Better check the Farmers Almanac)

    If you are determined, I agree that the only way is to set yourself a schedule…. This much per day or per week…deadlines that you must enforce with yourself. But, this sounds a bit like knit policing 🙂

  • My insurmountable task a while back involved far too many ends one a fair isle sweater. I set myself a goal of 10 ends/day before I was “allowed” to knit on something fun. After about 3 days, I gave up and just finished the damn thing. And now I wear it often!
    I wish you cool days to wear your Rhinebeck masterpiece.

  • Not to worry, Kay…help is on the way with a click of your mouse on Amazon prime! I was stitching an AC skirt in dark indigo (of course!) and using dark indigo thread. I only had evening hours to work on it and couldn’t see a thing. I ordered Beam n Read and it saved the day. It’s a light that hangs around your neck and you can aim the light directly on the stitches. At first I didn’t think I would like this contraption hanging around my neck, but I LOVE it! I’m currently knitting a pair of socks (hate knitting socks …they’re a gift – long story). The yarn is a dark charcoal grey with indigo and magenta running through it…on size 1 needles. I can barely see these stitches in the daylight, and if I mess up I have a big problem on my hands. Try it…you can always return it if it doesn’t work for you…or maybe your LYS carries them. Good luck…you can do this…I know you can…especially with a little help from your new light!!!!!

  • I think I read somewhere that no project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough. You can do it!!! I recently knitted through the night in order to finish an intarsia sweater before catching a 6:15 am flight back to my home across the ocean. Nothing’s impossible!

  • In similar circumstances I have accomplished odious tasks with self talk/deception, step by step. Making no firm commitment, I’d set the knitting bag in a comfortable place. Then later take out the yarn, then minutes later find my place in the pattern. An hour later perhaps, admire the piece and convince myself to knit 50 stitches. Etc, Etc. It’s the start up that’s hard, so I pretend I’m not actually starting.

    One way or another, I imagine you will pull this off!

    • This is kind of the way I approach my work day

  • Dear Kay, Recently I knitted my niece my first ever Honey Cowl. In a lovely fingering weight yarn colourway called Shark Week (I adore this yarn). Well as it was fingering weight yarn it did not knit up quickly. In fact I would often knit for hours and it wouldn’t get any wider (280 stitches around will do that to you). I was afraid I was going to abandon it for some lovely DK yarn calling my name when my sister suggested that I text her a picture with the cowl and a ruler each day. She would even call and ask for the picture if I forgot. This mild accountability really helped me to stick to the project and finish–and now I’m blazing through a pair of socks with the DK yarn!

  • I’m offering a four-pronged approach: (1) magic ball (never would have thought of it, but if it has Kaffe’s imprimatur why not?–especially since it would make your Big Flower unique); (2) figure out how much and then how long you’ll need to knit each day in order to finish on time; (3) set aside that amount of time to knit each day, morning or night; and (4) finally, my own not-borrowed-from-other-commenters suggestion: Mrs. Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters is perfect listening for an undertaking like this–juicy, dramatic, funny, smart, and lo-o-o-ong.

  • WHATEVER IT TAKES!! I want to throw you some HEART EYES and GREEN EYES… maybe some GREEN HEART EYES! 😉 I hope you’ll be wearing some Alabama Chanin something-or-other under that jacket, too. Maybe a skirt with a kick-pleat.

  • Print up a nice clear photo of it, then walk to your closet and take a good long look at all of the items of clothing that will have new life once they are paired with this magical cloak. Then imagine the different events and outings in which you will feel transformed because you have it on. Then hold these thoughts when you sit down to knit. Ya gotta finish it.

  • Oh those Tesco bags, so wonderful for hands and fingers, and heavy loads and large loads that can handle the weight. I love them, much much more than those large knitting projects. So, think of wearing that sweater while buying new yarn to put in your Tesco bag.

  • I was thrilled to see Big Flower appear at the top of the site today, have been wondering (in silent admiration, NOT in the ‘told you so’ camp at all) how it was going.
    I like all of the ideas above, I would add make a place for BF in your apartment where it lives and keep all its bits and bobs there, so you can sit right down with it whenever you have a moment. I am trying to paint or draw a little every day to improve my skills and “make a place for it” was the advice given by a recent teacher. All the tools are kept in the place, so no excuses to just sit down and dive in.

    • Oh I love this tip! I will make a place!

  • No suggestions, I am in awe of what you have done so far. I will just be over here with my pom poms cheering you on.

  • I have no suggestions for your Intarsia quandary. As for color groups I have been in Ravelry’s Purple Rules! group for some time now.

  • Rhinebeck Countdown it is! I’m in the same boat, with a project I love but one that is getting bumped by other deadlines. I plan on dividing up the remaining yardage of the project by the # of days to Rhinebeck and knitting up that yardage at an appropriate, focused time of day (for me, that’s just after lunch). I also second a previous commenter’s notion about giving the project a pretty home near your knitting chair – a basket, inspiring bag, or some other motivating pretty vessel? Oh, and go splurge on a new flavor/kind of tea you can sip while you’re knitting BFJ. That oughtta do it. (I usually recommend wine as a motivator, but ahem – not for charts.)

  • “its chart with no line numbers”

    And the chart is hundreds of lines long, right? Truly daunting.

    For the chart issue I have a solution — a Simple solution. Photocopy that baby, enlarge it, and write the number lines in!!! Then, if that isn’t good enough, take highlighters, and draw a (see-though) colored line across horizontally along the graph line, not through the squares, maybe every 10th row; and with another color, do the same thing vertically, every tenth column. If you’ve been counting to 20 or 30 for that big flower, this will make the world of difference. Just one hint: count twice (or more), draw once. You won’t have a second chance to get it right if you do it wrong:)

    And Kay? You. Can. Do. This. Yes, you can do this by your self-imposed deadline of October 15. We believe in you.

    And, if you choose not to? Well, I’m okay with that too, so no pressure from this end.

  • As for the unnumbered chart – highlighter tape is my favorite tool for charted knitting of all types – the repositionable kind. (somehow repositionable is spelled wrong — probably because it’s not a word?)

    • Repositionable is perfectly fine with me — add it to the dictionary!!

  • You haven’t finished the Big Floral Damask Thing yet?? Yet you want to swan around Rhinebeck in it??? Rumor has it that filming on “Breakfast Club II: The Next Generation” starts soon sfter, and Molly Ringwald’s costume isn’t done yet???? Not only that, but Ann’s lost in chartreuse and needs an intervention! Plus, you have to start on the haute couture “Olive Winter 2016” collection!! Time’s a wasting!

    (Now do you have enough incentive?)

  • You can do it! I read a while back in a book called The Happiness Advantage that so much of accomplishing a thing is making it available to be accomplished (the guy told the story of simply putting his guitar in his living room instead of his closet, to encourage himself to practice). SO – create the BFS (Big Flower Space) that has all your stuff, and the lighting and everything and make sure that space is convenient and inviting – so that the BFS is always ready for you to work on the Big Flower Sweater. Good luck. You got this.

  • Such a project os so beyond my ken, all I can say is get a writing implement and number those rows! Also, food luck! And, you know you can and will finish it in tome for Rhinebeck!

  • After reading your post and most of the comments, I sense a true conflict here. One that only you can resolve. It seems you need to decide what is going to be more important to you between now and your target date. LIFE or The Sweater To End All Sweaters. I don’t think you should abandon the project, but the fact that you are choosing to knit other things is a signal that it may not be more important than other things in your life. Personally, I prefer that my craft enhance my life and not take it over.

    By all means, take a look at what you have left to do and see if you can fit reasonable amounts of knitting in to what you also want to happen in that time period. If it works – fine. If it doesn’t – find a way to either make it work (some of the modifications suggested should acceptable) or become cool with that. If it’s going to be a warmer year maybe it could go to the festival without sleeves. They could be your take along knitting as you stroll the grounds in your wondermous vest.

    But don’t skip one stinkin thing in your real life to stay home and knit. From the Tao of Bueller: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

  • I think we need a Finish it by Rhinebeck thread in the Mason-Dixon rav group. I have a sweater partially done that I would love to swoosh around in on that most hallowed end of weeks. Also, pray for snow or there will be a lot of overheated knitters on the Dutchess County Fair grounds.

  • If not having line numbers on the chart bothers you, pencil them in. It’ll help you feel like you know where you’re at.

    Lots of luck in getting it done!

  • I suggest pouring a glass of wine. I also suggest dividing up the charts – using the highlighter to make the charts easier to navigate and pay a kid to mark the chart lines with numbers. Surely someone needs a free Starbucks or something?

  • Pollyanna here! Think about Rhinebeck 2017!!!!!!!

  • Add a row of Chartruese. That will bring it into your current mindset. Just one row. If you can’t bear to interrupt your pattern, think of it as a lifeline!

  • I have two suggestions. First–make a rule. Whatever rule you want. It could be something simple like “on Saturdays I will only knit on the BFJ” or something more fun like “I will not watch any British tv shows with Idris Elba until I finish (fill in the blank) portion of the BFJ.” I make rules for anything that is hard to do. Someday, I will tell you my rules for driving over bridges. I hate doing it and know that I am being irrational so my rules help.

    Second–photo copy extra copies of the chart and then cut off the rows that you have done. I can generally see about three rows into a chart without making myself crazy so, every three rows, I just cut them off. I also cut off when I put it down for a while so I know where I am starting. And Olive will enjoy the little strips of paper to chase around.

    And remember that the F in BFJ stands for Flower! Don’t go getting creative.

    • Love it!

  • I have no advice; I will light a candle.

  • Brooklyn Tweed just unveiled a new color that looks chartreuse-ish.

  • A really good audio book can keep me knitting. For really really long, and really really good, and really really apropos right now, there’s Robert Caro’s _The Years of LBJ_. Currently I’m closing in on the final laps of a gigantic afghan, and listening to McCullough’s _The Path Between the Seas_ (the Panama Canal). That enterprise might make a Kaffe Fassett sweater look like a stroll in the park.

  • Comment

  • Two things I have discovered for those charts from hell. Lamination and highlighter tape. I laminate all of those patterns that will take a while. And the highlighter tape is clear colored tape comes in lots of fun colors out there on Amazon that you can move and restock with ease. Those two alone have saved my eyes and mind when in chart mania. You got this Kay if anybody does.

  • Candle. Candle. Candle. Candle. Candle……………….. Candle.

  • This year will be my first time as the sheep and wool festival and I WANT TO SEE THAT SWEATER IN PERSON. A real live Kaffe Fasset in person! Whoa! I’m lights a novena now.

  • sounds like it is time to begin (another?) slog-along

  • Well, that made me feel a bit better about finishing a summer sweater by next Tuesday!

    I think I might have missed January, but since at least February I’ve had a new sweater to wear to each of my monthly knitting guild meetings. One of them actually was knitted in the space of one month. The others crossed over months, because I generally am NOT a monogamous knitter (demure good girl everywhere else, slutty knitter. I’m good with that). One of them I started and nearly finished probably 10 years ago. It had an unfortunate neckline treatment I never liked. I found it in my knitting stuff, took off the necktie, and crocheted one armhole edging and a neckline edging, and it was done. Sheesh.

    Now I’m trying to finish another summer top I’ve been picking away at since spring. I just started ball 8 of 10, so I’m pretty close (they’re only 100 yards each). I might be wearing it unwashed/unblocked on Tuesday, but I think it’ll be done. Gotta keep the streak going. I have another summer top nearly halfway done (and yet another a third of the way done), so I think October will work out, too. Or maybe I’m insane, because holiday crafting also has begun, and there’s another massive boat anchor afghan to crochet.

  • After six months of stress-puppy knitting, I damaged a tendon in my wrist. It may take another six months to mend completely. In the meantime, no knitting.

    I hereby grant thee permission to slack off on your self-imposed drop-deadline. As your greatest fan, I got the right, yes indeed!

    There is no gift sweeter than choice, and I’m grateful that at least one of us can choose to knit on ANYTHING today! 😀

  • I really like the magic ball idea. If you feel the need to follow the color progression on the chart, use that as a guide when choosing your color line up for the magic ball. You can make identical balls for the sleeves, if you want.

  • Wait…am I missing something here? Why do your feet hurt? Is there some folksy saying about unfinished projects and aching tootsies? (“The ox is in the ditch,” is the expression that comes to my mind on seeing how much more knitting is required here.) On a more upbeat note: It’s probably going to be warmish at The Event, so I’m thinking you could wear your sweater without the sleeves. No judgments, I’m sure, from any of your fans who would be delighted to view any part of it.