And this is why you shouldn’t read (anything distracting) and knit.

So last night, in a fit of optimism about my ability to finish a warm sweater before the weather turns, I cast on for the ubiquitous Rocky Coast Cardigan. I would like to take a second and gush about how much I love Coastal Knits; it’s been a while since I fell in love with a pattern book and this is just so charming, and I want to make everything in it (and/or go hiking; whichever). I have the nice Organik yarn to make it, and I had the needles all ready, and because I have been knitting long enough to get cocky about these things, I cast on and off I went.

Until–and I must be fair, here: there is nothing wrong with the pattern at all–I realized as I was working along yesterday morning that I no longer had a symmetrical number of extra stitches on either side of the shoulder cables. That is bad. It means that somewhere in the first couple of repeats, I was zinging right along and forgot to do one of the mirrored increases. And in fact, I forgot it twice. I would love to be able to say it was because one of the shorter members of the household caused me trouble, but the truth is that I was knitting while reading a serial novel of the sophisticated woman-of-the-world variety, and I may have…forgotten…what I was doing. The sad thing is that even as far as they go, this wasn’t a particularly good one, and still. Forced to frog the thing because there’s no non-obvious way to make up for missing two increases several rows back, and I cast on again and have nearly gotten to where I was when I went to bed. Oh, well. I am being more diligent now.

Slight digression about trashy literature follows:

Lately even my brain-candy ladynovels are leaving me cold, and I think it’s because I’ve overdosed on the three most prevalent varieties: hot cowboys, hot soldiers, and hot wealthy Manhattan power brokers. They are also disproportionately set in the south or midwest, probably owing to a bigger audience there. I’d complain about being underrepresented, but a) New England does not have a reputation for being inherently sexy; and b) there was one about this so-and-so Cape Cod family, though I maintain that taking wealthy power brokers and putting them on Cape Cod instead of in Manhattan does not make them not wealthy Manhattan power brokers. Nevertheless, Massachusetts girls need love too. Ladynovel authors, take note. If I only messed up a couple of increases, the book wasn’t that good. If I knitted in stockinette for six inches and forgot to cable altogether, there’s your RITA award. Bonus points if you manage to include a knitting heroine without being patronizing.

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4 thoughts on “And this is why you shouldn’t read (anything distracting) and knit.

  1. My condolences re: the first attempt at the sweater. Glad you noticed it before you got any further along.

    BTW,yYour use of the word “ladynovel” made me chuckle. And I don’t doubt that we New Englanders (in the land of chilly weather and hearts) are much neglected in the genre. Authors must lack imagination…

    • I’m so glad I discovered it before it was time to start the sleeves, because that really would have broken my heart! Just watch, now I’ll do something dumb further back. This takes fifteen skeins of yarn, though, so at least I have a few predetermined rest points where I can count and examine and make sure everything is right before going on.

      Why are we not sexy?! This is so alarming. We have all the elements. It gets cold here, necessitating fires and lots of indoors time and general coziness. And if I may say, we are smart and beautiful and generally amazing. The few times there are novels set in New England, they read to me the way non-New Englanders see us, not as we see ourselves. It reminds me of that line from Almost Famous where Jason Lee’s character is like, “I thought we agreed that I’d be the lead singer and you’d be the drummer with mystique!” Did we inadvertently make that deal?

      • Honestly, I think a lot of authors are too lazy to make smart women seem romantic. Of course, I think good banter can be sexy, so my expectations may be off (smart AND sexy?? mon dieu!).

        • The rules as far as I can tell is that you’re allowed to be smart, but there are certain socially acceptable ways to be smart in romances. It’s okay, even preferable, to own your own business (usually something woman-friendly, like a bookshop, florist shop, bakery, or a soft business like advertising or marketing, or a sexy one like matchmaking or something in the hospitality industry). You can also be some sort of teacher, though that’s less common. You can be a useless socialite type, or an aspiring fashion designer, or work in publishing (perennial). Travel agent’s okay. You can be a veteran; I just read one where there was a lot of gunplay (and it kind of wrecked the sex, tbh). But you definitely don’t knit unless you’re the aspiring fashion designer, and you’re not an engineer or mathematician or college professor or any kind of tradesperson. No plumbers need apply!

          There are times I want to write one with the following exchange:

          Woman: Okay, I found the leak. It’s just a worn-out pipe. Hand me that blowtorch, will you? It’s the long hose attached to the tank. That’s the one. Stand back.
          Man: You are the sexiest woman I have ever, ever met.

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