I rarely don’t finish a book once I’ve started it, and it’s the same with a knitting project. Even if I hit unexpected doldrums, I am stubborn, and also curious to see how it all works out. (I have been known to delay completion of a handknit for the better part of a decade, but giving up — or more precisely, acknowledging that I’m giving up — is rare.)
So it’s weighing on me, the decision whether to stop working on my Wollman Rink Cowl. The notion of quitting crept into my mind early on. Every round is 300 stitches of linen stitch. Knit one stitch, slip the next stitch with yarn in front, switch the yarn to the back, knit one stitch, over and over, alternating into eternity. I had not worked linen stitch for a long time, and I doubt that I’d ever worked 300-stitch rounds of it, for hundreds of yards of yarn. As I reaquainted myself with the stitch, I thought, this is not knitting–it’s weaving, and weaving in a tedious way, where each individual stitch is worked as warp or weft, one at a time, in a halting rhythm.
The constant over-and-under of linen stitch creates a beautifully flat fabric. Flatness is its virtue and its curse. There is no give, or spring, between the stitches and rows as in regular knit and purl stitches. That spring comes from pulling loops through other loops, creating linked vertical chains of slip knots. As the lack of flexibility in the growing stack of linen stitch started to put a crick in my neck, I began to wonder whether I’d miss the stretchiness of normal knitted fabric in the finished cowl.
On the other hand, the fabric of linen stitch has a salt-and-pepper beauty that results directly from the over-and-under mixing of the colors, a checkered effect that I have always admired. I couldn’t decide.
While not-deciding, I made a tiny fox from a Mochimochi kit that I bought last year at Vogue Knitting Live, from Anna Hrachovec herself. (Congratulations on your new baby boy, Anna!) A weightless little kit that yields three tiny foxes. The kit includes stuffing, which is inserted into the tail, and then the body, with tweezers, in an amount so tiny that it seems impossible that it could stuff anything.
One fox down and no closer to deciding, I picked up the as-yet unused ball of Wollman Rink’s main color, and cast on a Honey Cowl.
(If me sitting in a chair knitting were Downton Abbey, the soundtrack would take a decidedly Lady Edith turn at this point.)
Pretty soon, the Honey Cowl is going to need a second ball of the main color, and I’ll have to decide whether to pull out the Wollman Rink Cowl, or leave it on the needles to fight another day, and go buy another ball.
I have half a Honey Cowl, and two more foxes, to make up my mind.