Posted on July 31, 2004 at 12:31 am

I have cast off my last stitch on the linen drape sweater. It has been an emotional odyssey, from enthusiam of the beginning, through despair in a yarn that fought me much of the way, to the resignation of many many many (did I say many?) little linen stitches for a tunic to cover the hulking mass that is this six footer.

You might have noticed that in the picture of me and Ms. Lily that I am towering over her. I am, in fact, bending my knees. I am practically sitting in mid-air because otherwise the photographer wouldn’t be able to fit the two of us in the same picture. I could have stood twenty feet behind her like one of those tourist shots people take of themselves with the Eiffel tower, but the conference room wasn’t big enough for that to work.

There are advantages to being tall: I have always been able to see at parades; I never need a stepladder to change a light bulb; I enjoy breathing the clear air of the upper atmosphere while the city below suffers during ozone alerts; Jeremy Irons in 6’3″ tall. But the disadvantages are impairments to the practicalities of normal life: Land’s End charges more for the Tall versions of their clothes because there is, admittedly, more fabric in them (pardon me, but why aren’t Petite clothes correspondingly cheaper?). The tall seats on airplanes are always reserved for gold card members who are universally short. It takes me 30% longer to knit a sweater for myself than it does to knit one for a normal human being.

Other normal-sized Linen Drape-alongers have whipped off their works of art in mere month or two, but not me. Other normal-sized Linen Drape-alongers chose lovely little blouse shapes to knit, but not me. Lovely little blouse shapes make me look like I dumpster dive at the local Montessori. I am taking so long not only because I am tall, but because I knit a tunic-sized garment. I feel hobbled by my size in this knit-along game. I know that there is no real time-limit in a knit-along, but I can’t help but feel that knit alongs are a race. There are rules, starting dates, and prizes for finishing–an asterix or a changed font colour on the host’s site, and the sweater, of course. Just like those humiliating birthday party exercises in Darwinian theory when we were little.
Yet finally, I am finished knitting Jaipur. I am now seaming Jaipur. I have cast on for the Tuja I’m knitting along with my mother in Silk Road Aran in plum. I wrestled through the hemline detail of purling the cast on edge into the seventh row, and now I’m ten inches up, including twentysome rows of the slanting rib. It would be a fast knit were it not for some glaring errors in the pattern. This has proven vexing to my dear mother, who hasn’t knit a sweater from a chart before. We’ve been on the phone twice already, working out what must be wrong about the instructions. As best as I can tell, the chart key should read “k1, make 1” for the “make 1” symbol, and the left slanting decrease should read “slip 1 knitwise, k1, psso” to make it a mirror image of the corresponding “k2tog” right-slanting decreases. As written, “k2tbl” makes a twisted and distorted stitch that is fine I suppose, if you don’t want the two sides of the front panel to match. My mother has to face the ripping out of eight rows in the round (which is like 16 rows of normal knitting, right?), by which she is very discouraged. I said “If you don’t rip, where’s the sport?” but she is not amused. Wish her good cheer, and tell her to hang in there.

Next post: still more vacation knitting, and perhaps the finished Jaipur?