A largely parenthetical post

Mike just dropped off the copy of son of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch that I won from a Y Knit contest. And it’s signed by Debbie Stoller!

I’m not sure what my favorite part of the whole exercise was: meeting another Internet knitter (I *heart* all of them), meeting a knitting podcaster (I’m a podcasting early adopter, so it’s always been a little glamorous to me), realizing how extremely local he is (we’re both Easy Bay residents), reading Mike’s Moo card that was tucked into it (man, I love those things) or entering the book into my Ravelry library.

Sweet! I love it when the Internet crosses over into real life. It’s a little awkward in the dating world, but freakin’ great when it comes to hobbies.

A corner of the chart for Torque, which has been eating my life.

Anyway, in usual me fashion, I’m being eaten alive by one of my designs, which I’ve named “Torque.” (And no, I don’t give a damn that there’s already a knitted “Torque” out there; I like the name, and it’s not like anyone could confuse my fingerless gloves with a split-neck pullover. I mean, I guess they could, but if they did they’d have far greater problems than how much yarn to buy, y’know?)

I have a habit of making patterns way more complicated for myself than they need to be, in the hopes of making the knitting process a little more graceful for the end user. The end result may look effortless, but they sure as hell aren’t that way to make, and even knitting it can do pleasantly weird things to your head (as a certain early adopter of my Double Dutch hat can attest). I had a feeling, though, that there was a way to get the thumb gusset on Torque to flow properly in a reasonably easy way, and all it took was a month of frustration and determination to come up with something. And now I’ve got to figure out how to do it all over again … backward. With cables on every other row.

I’ve been knitting bits of this one every night for a week, and stealing time at work to try to puzzle it out. Unfortunately, the first thumb gusset was one of those solutions that comes rippling out of my fingers in such an effortless, intuitive wave that I’m convinced I’m a total genius by the time it’s done. When it came time to do the other one, though, I got the mental version of the blue screen of death. My spatial skills are getting better as I grow older, but staring at my transcription and trying to visualize the mirror image of whatever contorted logic I was playing with gave my brain that horrible blank gray feeling just behind my forehead, in the same place that feels funny when I cross my eyes.

Fortunately, graph paper can solve pretty much any problem, from mapping things (all the straight lines are right there on the page!) to relationship problems (stuff enough graph paper into the other person’s mouth, and you’ll no longer have to put up with their crap) to world hunger (which’ll work as soon as humans learn how to digest cellulose). I charted and charted until I had a good, solid understanding of how the shaping worked and how to mirror it. It took about three evenings of drawing, doodling, erasing, reknitting and cursing to get it right. It also helped that I was all fired up about what is possibly the best notebook ever: Mead #09000, a composition book with half-graph-paper, half-ruled pages that looks like it floated right out of 1966.

My goal is to have the pattern in beta by Tuesday so I can get a couple copies to some test knitters at my stitch ‘n’ bitch. I can’t wait, because I’m really excited about the photography and layout work for it, and then selling the pattern through Ravelry. Also, I’d, um, like to have my life back.