Monday, March 7, 2016

reading and counting

Reading and counting: I've been doing both for years. I have an undergraduate degree in English, which demonstrates a modicum of reading ability, and as for counting, well, I have a full complement of fingers and toes. And yet.

I've been working on this knitting project. Of course I'm always working on a knitting project, but this is a particular one, the one that is currently my mindless knitting project. A mindless knitting project, dear uninitiated reader, is one that goes on forever, is easily memorized, and can be knitted while having a conversation or even while reading. Most knitters have at least one of these on the go at all times. (It's the non troppo wrap by ├ůsa Tricosa in case you want to knit one of your own.)

decent approximation 
It feels like I started this a year or two ago, but it was actually December 2015. I wasn't knitting on it regularly, but every few days I'd pick it up and knit some stripes. It appeared to be growing at a respectable rate, and it was oh so glowingly pretty! I had to keep stopping to stretch out the knitting and gaze at the play of color across the two gently variegated yarns. (I waste a lot of knitting time gazing at my work. It's one of the hazards of knitting.)

 My camera has a hard time with colors in the red-violet range, but this pic isn't bad. You'll have to invite me over if you want to see it in person.

I was happy with my progress until I recalled how long the finished object was supposed to be. 122 stripes. Yes, 122. A lot of stripes. The stripe pattern is written out in an eight-row sequence, with four rows of each color making up a full pattern repeat, so when I started counting stripes, I counted two for one. It takes about an hour to knit one eight-row sequence. You can probably do the math here. I'm a fairly quick knitter, but this was starting to look like a multi-year project.  (I tend not to enjoy multi-year projects.) But I kept knitting. And knitting. And knitting. And I kept seeing other people posting photos of their finished non troppo wraps on Ravelry, while mine hardly seemed to grow at all. Well, the wrap was growing.  The stripe count was stubbornly resistant.

stubbornly resistant stripes

One night, after hours of knitting added just a tiny increment to my stripe count, I posted a cris de couer on my Ravelry project page.  This is ridiculous, I wailed. When will I ever finish? How are other people knitting one, two and even three of these monsters while I languish here, fingers cramped and shoulders knotted, my stripes barely into the double digits?!!!

The thing is, I have trouble with numbers. Words are my friends, but numbers...not so much. I'm not even all that good at counting, despite my full complement of fingers and toes. Ever tried to count a flock of birds in flight? That's what numbers are like to me, even when they're sitting still. They just can't be trusted. So when I count my knitting, I count it two or three times and then I go and look at someone else's photos of the same project and count theirs, just to be sure.

So that's what I did. And that's when I realized: I was counting just fine. The words had betrayed me. Yes, the pattern is written in an eight-row sequence...but the stripes are counted as they appear, four rows of one color, then four rows of the other.  Eight rows=TWO stripes. TWO.  I had twice as many stripes as I thought I had. Glory Hallelujah, I was going to finish this wrap!

I really ought to end this tale with a stunning photo series of the finished project. It's just that I haven't finished it quite yet. Once I got the stripe count under control, I decided to make it longer. Yes, you heard me correctly. I traded my despair for madness and I'm still knitting. But it'll be finished soon enough, and it. will. be. glorious.

Knitter's honor.

is it long enough yet?


  1. "I traded my despair for madness and I'm still knitting." Haha, love this, Kim! Glad to read your wonderful writing again. <3

  2. I'm glad you posted this. I just started this wrap and was scratching my head over this too. It's not terribly clear and I really didn't want to calculate back from row gauge to see if the "stripes were every 4 rows or 8 rows.


Thanks for writing! I love hearing from you.