So why can't I stop? What mad lunacy is driving me to continue with a project which has already taken up far too much time, has spawned countless sub-projects, and has produced to date absolutely nothing except a bigger list of non-knitting things left undone that were urgent enough in the first place.
I allude, of course, to the Mad Vest. That sudden brilliant flash of creative genius which had me dashing wildly for every skein, every cone, every ball of yarn I possessed, in the absolute belief that I was about to break boundaries, transcend experience, create the most beautiful fibre-item ever seen in the world, The One which would ensure my name going down in knitting history (and don't you copy it, I thought of it first!). I was over the critical stage of this disease, or so I thought, when I last posted. Little did I know that the fever had not gone away. It broke out again, in even worse degree, and I have been suffering from it since.
Angeluna observed that I could at least have taken pictures of the various stages of dementia before frogging yet again. Point taken, Angeluna, and for you and others who wish to avoid a similarly sad situation, I did just that at intervals during the past week. OK, I know they'll make you laugh. I don't care any more. Go on, laugh at me.
Here was a particularly silly idea, early in the week. I suddenly wondered if a combination of black mohair and pink fun stuff would make the perfect Mad Vest. I was cautious enough to try out a ripple pattern in crochet first, because (a) it's quicker and (b) it's easier to frog. You see? Learning a little, if not a lot. In any case, it didn't last long. I realised at just about the point you see here that I must have been out of my tiny nut to think I could successfully wear (could at ALL wear) anything remotely like this. A-frogging we will go, tra la la...
This was another attempt, in a nice thick navy chenille which hurled itself into Celtic Memory's hot little paws somewhere in the south of France last year. As you can see, it didn't get beyond the first row before being hauled furiously off the circular. The patience span was getting shorter every time.
Had enough yet? Gosh, you're a crowd of ghouls, aren't you?
Of course!, I cried, smiting myself heavily on the forehead. Blues are what I need. It's the colour I have most of in my stash after all. It suits me! How could I have considered even the most restrained of Mad Vests (is that a contradiction? Probably) without a whole scrumptiousness of blues? Down to the stash room quickly. Haul out another of those pop-up laundry bins (do you use these for stash diving? Aren't they ideal?)
H-ll and d-m-ation. No bins left. (Celtic Memory possesses several - more than several in fact - of these. All are now otherwise occupied with skeins of yarn, balls of yarn, cones of yarn, WIPs and UFOs. Oh sorry day!) Well haul them upstairs somehow. (Dropped a few in dark corners which will appear in one or other of the dogs' beds during the next month or so, slightly soggy from being loved a lot). Pile them all on the floor in the sitting room. Shut the dogs out (should have done that first). Start again.
WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
IS THIS SOME KIND OF MASOCHISTIC SELF-TORTURE?
DON'T YOU HAVE OTHER, LIKE PAYING, WORK TO DO?
(yes, actually, now that you mention it, there are a few deadlines looming...)
A ray of sunshine breaks in from stage left. Postie arrives with a package of magazines from darling Ambermoggie. Amber has been destashing and I got the Noro pattern books (yay!)
Oh my HEAVENS, look at that Ekeby vest! I'd forgotten all ABOUT that.
Never mind that I'm not that shape, that colouring, that age, that style. Never mind ANYTHING. I have to make it. THAT is my Mad Vest (for now at any rate). Noro, Noro, who's got the Noro?
Briefly considered frogging the half-made Halfobi jacket...
...but couldn't bring myself to do it (I know, surprising, considering the way I go on).
Ha! How about that Noro vest I started a while back? It must be around here somewhere. Oh there it is. How on earth did it get there?
Hmmm. Now that I look at it, I see that it's quite the wrong gauge - far too loose. Would look dreadful on me if I persevered and finished it. No, only virtuous thing to do is frog it back right away before it goes any further. And that would leave me with several balls of Silk Garden Lite, wouldn't it? Well isn't that convenient? Oooh, now for a nice little sit down in my favourite armchair with the Ekeby pattern...
Can you tell me why, why, WHY it is that when we know in our heart of hearts that something is going to turn out the wrong size, we still keep working on it? I mean, it isn't as if I hadn't realised it. I worked a few rows of the pattern in a larger needle and decided it was too loose so switched to a finer one and started again, congratulating myself on my efficiency as I did so.
Now it has been abundantly clear since Row 5 at least of the current version that this is going to be the shortest most miniscule vest since time began. Cropped isn't in it. Oh the gauge is absolutely right, it looks beautiful. But a vest which ceases abruptly half-way down my chest isn't really practical.
SO WHY AM I STILL WORKING AWAY DETERMINEDLY ON IT?
Why haven't I sworn, frogged, started again with an additional 12 sts or so to fit the pattern into a longer length?
How is it, I beg someone to tell me, that I am stupid, dense, slow enough to keep on knitting happily, enjoying the gradual development of the colours, the way this intriguing pattern works up (am I answering my own question here?) when I know it's going to be way, way, too small?
Dez, I know you won't laugh at me. You've admitted to doing the same thing now and again. But I bet no-one else has. Oh no, you all swatch, and block and measure and swatch again for safety, and then cast on knowing exactly where you're going and exactly how it is going to turn out. Oh happy people.
(it is a nice pattern though, isn't it? And the colours are cute, the way they evolve from one another. Clever Mr. Noro. Clever Jane Ellison.)
Celtic Memory became a little depressed. Just a little. Not quite despairing but definitely down. And what do we all do when we get a little depressed?
All together now -
WE CAST ON FOR A NEW PROJECT!!!
Well done. That was a perfect chorus.
There was this nice soft ball of Austermann Step in the sock yarn stash. Wasser, I think the pale grey/blue blend is called.
Coming along nicely. Rib done on Sock 1, and now starting the rib on Sock 2, so they can work away together. It's going to be either the Broad Cable Ribbing or the Faggot & Cable pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. The Broad Cable would be easier, but the Faggot & Cable is really beautiful. Unfortunately it requires a real cable twist every 12th row, and for stitches as fine as socks I find I have to resort to a cable needle which annoys me inordinately since normally I just pull them off the needles and twist them into their new position. But if you try that on size 0 needles, you tend to spend a lot of time with a fine crochet hook picking them up again from whence they have merrily retreated, four rows down.
And I could start these socks because I have MORE size O circulars, hahahahahaHAHAH! This time the wonderfully generous gifter was Morgen in Washington State, who sent me this marvellous package:
Can you see what I got? You might not be able to, so I'll list them off. TWO size 0 circulars. TWO size 00 circulars (that impossible size to locate, these were HiyaHiya. Now, with the ones from Rho, and these from Morgen, I am well provided indeed!) A wuvly wuvly coffee mug, and some glorious white tea. An adorable mini sock blocker with instructions for a mini sock to go on it. And last, but most certainly not least, Steph's Casts Off book. And not just Casts Off, but a signed copy of Casts Off, especially for me! What are you like, Morgen? And all packed into what is absolutely my favourite type of knitting bag - a clear plastic one with handles and a zip on top. Morgen, you are far and away the biggest petkin. Lucky bag coming your way! Although how can I match that?
With all these new needles, at last I can join the big girls, those who carelessly and happily have several sets of socks on the go at once (you know who you are). In fact if I got my act together and really tried, I could put a pair of socks on one circular, and have even more on the go at once...
Do you think perhaps if I dampened and stretched that Ekeby vest really hard, it would turn out the right length after all...?