Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now Ended

Dear Now-Ended Never-Ending Afghan,

Let's not talk about it. We've had our ups and downs, come a long way since "Cast on 8 stitches," but now they're over, and we can both move on with our lives.

I remember back in 2006. I restarted you from my painful beginner attempts of 2005, and we were both filled with hopes and dreams and promise. Intellectually, I knew where we were heading, with four increases per row, twenty-four rows per colour, nine colours... But knowing it with the head and with the heart are two separate things, and at the beginning, there was only knitting joy.

Well, some joy. I won't mention the twisted purl stitches that made the first eight rows of a colour something suited for the ninth circle of hell. I admit my part in it. I was purling wrong. I was twisting the stitches. But until I corrected myself at colour five, I admit to dwelling in your sixteen rows of knit and dragging your eight of garter.

And when we were about to rediscover joy, when I learned to purl correctly, and we could again work in hopes and dreams and promise, came the realization that I had no tension. I had moved from the beginner tension of strangling the yarn, to letting it move onto the needles unchecked, until I was an inch out of gauge. Truly, it wasn't your fault. But every time I looked at the lovely jewel-bright purple colour six with its unbelievably loose tension, I lost heart.

And then, when I had achieved tension, and it was time to truly work on you, you turned on me. Rows suddenly were six hundred stitches long. I am not a fast knitter, and you knew this. But rather than growing quickly with each hour spent in each other's company, you flatly refused to indulge me. "Knit faster," you said, "and knit more, and maybe I'll grow."

So this weekend, after months of on-again-off-again and hours of agonizing time spent in each other's company, here we were.

Ready to cast off. Finally, we were one row away from moving on with our lives. But you couldn't just let it go, could you? You couldn't let us part ways without one final dig. No. You made me start a BRAND NEW SKEIN of yarn to cast off LESS THAN A QUARTER OF YOUR STITCHES. And as if that weren't enough...

You tell me after I'm done binding off 951 stitches (+/- 5 due to losing count) that I should have bound you off with a larger needle, so your edges wouldn't fold in!

But I digress. It's in the past, and it doesn't do to dwell on the past. I won't mention how the inconsistent gauge and tight castoff makes it impossible for you to lie flat. I won't mention how absolutely huge the purple band is in comparison to the other colours. I certainly won't mention that I had to put my hand-washing basin under your centre to stretch you up enough to dry you without being folded over and bunched in the centre.

In the end, you are big enough to accent a bed nicely, and will probably make a lovely snuggling blanket when you're dry. You are also my first knitting project, for all that you are not the first finished, and are a written record of my progression as a knitter in basics like stitches, tension, and (in the end) perseverance.

You are done, and our relationship can change now, as it always does when a project moves from work in progress to finished. But I will say this. It's telling about a person and her relationship with her knitting project that she will point to a clean and tidy storage room instead of the completion of a four-year-in-the-making afghan as the highlight of her long weekend.

Love (kind of), Vanessa


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