Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

The first time I made buttonholes, it was about 2 am on Christmas morning. I'd brought all the completely knitted pieces down to my parents' with me Christmas Eve, and had planned to quickly sew up the cardigan and wrap it before going to bed that night. (Blocking? I'd never heard of blocking.) Since I wasn't admitting I was so late in getting it done, I kept up a normal conversation until I could retreat to the spare room and whip out my needle and yarn. I got it all sewed together (taking longer than I'd planned, but I'm a night owl, I can stay up late). And then I went to sew on the buttons. And realized there was something terribly wrong. Surely the front of the sweater wasn't supposed to look like this?

I quickly whipped out the pattern and carefully perused the photo. There was a trim piece- a button band- going up one side of the cardigan, around the neck and down the other. A careful reading of the pattern showed that I had missed knitting that piece- so shoot me, I'd never made a cardigan before. Fortunately I had all the materials with me. I had approximately six hours before presents were due to be ripped open, and The Plan said I was going to have a *completed* sweater, *neatly wrapped* and *under the tree Christmas morning*.

No one had ever told me that button bands were difficult, that making neat buttonholes could be tricky or that even experienced knitters sometimes fuss over them. I had a pattern, it instructed me how to make buttonholes, and so I just did it. I knit like the furies were waiting to eat me if I somehow failed to finish this sweater. I knit yards and yards and yards of that danged nine-stitch across button-band. And when it was done, I sewed it to the sweater, sewed on the buttons, carefully wrapped it, and slipped downstairs to place it under the tree. It was 5 am, and I yawned through the holiday, but the sweater was warmly received and looked perfectly fine notwithstanding the last minute panic.

It is this sort of thing I have been thinking about while knitting the very same design of button band for the current sweater.

I finally frogged the first sleeve and started reknitting it this evening.

I'm trying to use up pretty much all the yarn, so I am getting the button band started early. I'm figuring on getting the last sleeve done, then knitting half the button band ball onto the bottom (leaving some to finish knitting the band), then use the last full skein as ribbing. This is probably making life overly difficult, but the economy of using all the yarn was one of the things that made me choose this design to begin with. And I do love a Plan.

And speaking of Plans, that whooshy deadline noise is working up to a dull roar. I really want to have this sweater done for early next week. Like Monday, early next week. One sleeve and a bit of ribbing, that's not too much, is it?

Of course I can't actually blow off *everything* this weekend to knit. And my husband has started dropping delicate hints that maybe this is a Christmas cardigan after all- next Christmas. But I have a Plan, darnit. And I don't *know* that I can't knit a whole sleeve and a bit of ribbing and block this ready for Monday, the way the Plan says.

Ignorance is bliss.

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