What happened? Why did I stuff a mostly finished project into a plastic bag, then another bag, then a Trader Joe’s shopping bag? Fear of infection?
I couldn’t begin to remember what had shut down my progress on Hadley. Hadley! It’s one of the loveliest designs we’ve ever published. Hadley is Véronik Avery’s cozy, rustic snuggler from MDK Field Guide No. 2: Fair Isle. I was Banging Out this sweater for our 2017 knitalong.
I didn’t finish it? I failed to Bang Out?
All I knew is that I had to figure out what happened.
Like an archaeologist in a cave full of shards and earrings, I embarked on a forensic knitting investigation.
Missing: the pattern. What size was I making? I counted the hem stitches and I found that I was making the second size. Maybe I had concluded that the second size was going to be The Wrong Size?
Doubtful. I usually overoptimistically assume I can block the heck out of anything and end up with a sweater that’s a plausible size, or at least giantly oversized in a way that I tell myself looks adorable and not sad.
Clue: A 24-inch circular was in place at the top of the Three Tubes. The stitches were kind of crammed on there.
Did I ditch this because I didn’t have a good 32-inch circular needle?
Possible. Lame but possible.
Deep Mystery/Shockingly Inconsistent Behavior: I had just completed the Connecting Of The Three Tubes, after knitting the body and—incredibly—both sleeves. Usually I’ll ditch a project when it’s time for the sleeves. This was weird. I was heading into the muffin top—the yoke!—the thrilling conclusion of this design. What would make me give up when the fun part is right there?
Then I counted the stitches on the needles to figure out where exactly I was in the pattern.
The Disaster: The stitch counts didn’t match anything in the pattern. One sleeve was 63 stitches; the other was 59. The front was 87; the back was 94. None of these had anything to do with what the pattern called for.
Even typing these words makes me want to lie down. This had to be the soul crusher that sent my Hadley into triple-plastic purgatory. That moment when you understand that something profoundly terrible has happened and I’ll just . . . put it . . . in this bag. And another bag. And one more, just so it never ever escapes from there.
The minute I peeled back all the layers of plastic, I was in love with my Hadley all over again—brand new, like a delicious stack of Thin Mints fresh out of the box. What beautiful yarn! What a pattern!
In the two intervening years, I’d acquired a perfect 32-inch Addi Rocket. Ahh! Elbow room!
Two years later, I’m getting a new sweater, zipzap just like that.
If you’ve got a Zone of Despair in your knitting setup—that place where unfinished objects languish—I recommend going in there, unearthing whatever project it was that you abandoned, and get back to it. You may be surprised at how much you like it, now that you’ve forgotten everything about why you ditched it. And it may be that whatever the obstacle was that shut you down, it isn’t that bad.