When a Sleeve is Not a Sleeve

Oh, Death — when is this project going to end?  Hint: Probably when I become a little less stupid.  I’ve been working on a Melbourne Pullover for my brother for almost a year now.  Well, not exactly diligently.  It’s in the rotation of current projects, and was sent into hibernation for some months while I obsessively worked on the St. Brigid sweater, but it’s been there, waiting for me to turn to it during a case of finish-it-up-itis.

I thought that’s where I was headed.  I woke the sweater from its hibernation a few weeks ago, and quipped on my Ravelry project page that I was finishing up the first sleeve.  Since then, I’ve knitted assiduously during Family Movie Nights and other odd times.  Today was the day, I’d decided, that I’d finish and block the sleeve, start the second sleeve, and thus have that last part ready for Family Movie Nights to come.  I’d be done with the sweater in a few weeks, and meanwhile I could start swatching for my next project.

So, I marked the sleeve for the beginning of the armholes, and went to figure out the decreases.  Because I’m making the sweater a bit smaller than what’s called for in the pattern, I pulled out the sweater front and back to see how the armholes should match up.

Only, there was no sweater front.  I had the back, plus the abandoned first attempt at the back, but no front.  I searched my sewing room frantically.  Was it on a shelf with other finished objects?  In the stash with the rest of the yarn?  No luck.  Nor did I mention finishing and blocking the front on Ravelry, as I typically do.

I started looking at my sleeve.  The cuff was very wide, and it appeared that I had knit it even, without any increases from cuff to armhole.  It was a perfect rectangle. How could I have screwed up a sleeve so badly?  Then, it dawned on me — this was the sweater front, and I hadn’t started the sleeves yet.  I’d need to rip out about two inches of knitting to get the length I needed before armhole shaping, but there it was, right in my hands all along.

As relieved as I was to have the sweater front and back, I was so, so disappointed that I wasn’t further along.  This sweater has been a long, slow slog.  I knit up my first attempt at the sweater back to measure 22 X 27 inches, only to watch it grow, upon blocking, to a ridiculous 25 X 30 inches.  I had no choice but to re-knit the entire back to be 19 X 25 inches, which then blocked out to the correct size.  Having to re-knit the entire back gave me project fatigue, so I parked the sweater for months before resuming.  I folded up the huge first-attempt sweater back and placed it with the right-sized sweater back, planning to frog it when I needed to so that I could scavenge the yarn.  Seeing the two pieces folded up together, I must have thought I was looking at the front and back of the sweater, all ready to be sewn to the sleeves, once I had them done.

All of this leaves me pretty upset with myself, and I admit that I’m taking it out on the sweater.  The sweater and I need a little time apart — I’d call it a trial separation, but I know we’ll get back together soon to finish what we started almost a year ago.  So, I bound off for the armholes and am going to put it aside, at least for the afternoon.

If you need me, I’ll be swatching up Starmore’s 3-ply Hebridean in Limpet (with my new Harmony needles, no less!), in preparation for my next Aran sweater.  And thinking about tequila for tonight.

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