I have come up with a way to lower the crazy a notch or two: tucking each non-working ball into its sleeve until needed.
Anyway, I have another aspect of the dark underbelly of the knitting community to reveal. I'm warning you, it's not pretty...
After finishing my first sleeve, it just seemed too short. I had checked my gauge periodically and knew it was a bit off, but this was a big difference. So I wove in ends and blocked it to smooth it out. I probably gained 3 inches by doing that. Mind you, most of that length was already there, just wrinkled up in all of the fair isle floats, etc. See my late night relief photo, below.
Once I was sure the entire sweater would be long enough, I decided to amend my hasty sloppiness and weave in every end before starting the second sleeve. From that point forward, I have been weaving in the ends as I go because the number 6 is so much less intimidating than the number 666.
I had some ideas for how I would handle things if my sleeves were too short, none of which involved violence, but they weren't my preference. I'm so glad they weren't necessary. This was definitely a case of Trust the Pattern!
This was probably my most challenging knit of the year, but not because it was a complicated pattern. It could be the fact that my working on it was interrupted with Christmas gifts and a home project I 'll be writing about soon. Or maybe it was just the amount of space I seem to take up when I do fair isle. Seriously, I should list the whole sofa as one of my notions on my projects page.
Most likely, it was some heavy thoughts that have been brewing inside of me, making it hard for me to concentrate. As I "worked these thoughts out" while knitting on the fair isle, I found the project and the solutions to these difficulties becoming synonymous in my mind. Knitting, like running, is very analogous to me. I think, "If I can do this (complete a certain project), then I can also do that (a certain emotional task)." I'm not the only person to do that. Read Paul. So saying, "I finished this fair isle beauty!" reminds me that I can survive other hard tasks, too. I found myself putting off lots of things until the sweater, and the issues I'm facing, were worked out. So the fact that I have basically finished this project gives me confidence I can solve or handle any other difficulties that arise.
When that last sleeve was bound off and all of the sweater blocking across our dinner table, I felt like I could run a marathon. I was really thinking big. Things like: "Now I can walk the dog again, my sweater is finished…" or "With the sweater finished, I can start brushing my hair again… " and "Want some wine, the sweater is finished?"
I guess this post ends with something neat after all. I don't want to speak too soon, but I'm pretty proud of how it's turned out. There's a post about styling this knit by the designer on the Holla Knits blog. It has nice photos not taken on an old towel across my table. Check it out. I can't believe I'm about to have one of these for my very own.