In her book "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off" Stephanie describes a phenomena that occurs quite regularly in knitting called "Black Holes". I am sure many of you have experienced this. It occurs very frequently when you are just starting to learn how to knit--which is why so many beginners give up. What happens is you find a great project, that may or may not be a large project, that you are just dieing to make. You cast on, with great anticipation of the end result, and begin knitting furiously. You knit for several hours or even days and suddenly notice that you have only knit one or two inches into the item. Confused, you get annoyed, but you knit on, now obsessed with making progress. Hours and hundreds of rows or rounds later you stop and take another measurement. Still only about two inches. Very annoyed and feeling a little on the edge you now attack the knitting project. You may find yourself murmuring incoherently and bursting out in swear words occasionally at this point. Days, perhaps weeks have past. Dishes are piled high in the sink, no one has clean underthings to wear, and the children are cowering, white-haired gnomes that scamper about fearful everytime they sense another out burst coming from you. The husband has even given up asking if you will be cooking ever again and has assumed his position on the couch with the remote and a delivery pizza next to him. Suddenly you snap out of it, sort-of, and realize that you have a black hole project--a project that sucks all of the stitches you create into itself without ever getting bigger.
I have had just such a project for the last year or so (I have lost count of the exact amount of time because of how long it has taken). This was not a difficult project. It used decent sized needles--US 7, and aran weight yarn. It only needed to get to 11 inches before the shoulder decrease then 2 1/2 inches more in the pattern and three rows of ribbing. Simple right? So I thought. After knitting the first three inches I noticed that no matter how long I worked on this project I had clearly quit making progress. So when I snapped out of the insanity that a black hole project creates, I set the project aside on my desk. I have made 20 or 30 pairs of socks, two sweaters, several washcloths, and who know what else in an effort to get over the effects that this black hole project brought on.
I was feeling pretty confident about finishing a few months ago so I began knitting again. I did make some progress so I pushed on. Suddenly discovering that it was swallowing rows faster than I could knit them I immediately stopped and put it away--thus preventing the "crazy" cycle from starting all over.
So, I started my Sockamania project, finished the pair of socks that I featured in the last post, and did a bunch of housework.
Several days ago, feeling good about the project again, I said, "That's it! I am finishing this project and getting it off of my desk if it's the last thing I do!" A little dangerous I realize, but I was feeling a little rebelious, dangerous, on the edge--so what the heck--I pick it up and furiously attacked the project. Twenty-four hours later......TA-DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The pattern is in Interweave Press "Wrap Style". It is called "Spiral Shell" and the designer is Deborah Newton. She makes no mention of it being a potential "Black Hole" project so I will have to assume that I am the only one that experienced it with this pattern. I would offer one bit of advice, when you get to the ribbing, I would go one or two needle sizes smaller to knit it and then cast off pretty tight. I did not and had to put elastic thread though the top so that it would stay put.
The next "Black Hole" project.......
It's a great t-shirt, I just can't seem to get any farther.
How about you...any black holes in your knitting universe lately?