Knitting on Vivian sweater is moving forward again

Yesterday was largely consumed by necessary and routine juggling of finances to keep the boat afloat. I also noodled at the problem I mentioned with the size I'm knitting of the Vivian sweater and attempted to come to a quick decision on an alternative project to knit for R&R.

In the afternoon, I turned my attention again to spinning for The Project and found myself in a totally self-indulgent frame of mind. Instead of spinning the size of skeinlet we need for photography (like the one on the top in the next photo), I kept going and spun every scrap of this particular fiber that was left in the baggie after I'd removed the wee bit to be used as the unspun fiber in the photograph. I ended up with the skein on the bottom.


Delightful. Not all that much fiber in the bag; it was spinning up at a nice speedy weight; and even without fiber prep (just as clipped) it flowed quite smoothly. I was so pleased. It was great fun. It was an accomplishment: something finished.

This lack of discipline won't do at all. If I let myself go this way, I'll never meet this part of The Project's schedule. (What exactly that schedule is still waffles around the as-yet-unscheduled photography, but I can't gamble on having infinite time to complete the prep work. When the shoot does get scheduled, I will almost certainly not have time to cram in the rest of the prep between notification and show-up-and-do-it.)

I must get my balance back, which means resolving Vivian, if at all possible. Or deciding on a different knitting endeavor. I don't have what it takes to decide on a different knitting endeavor: I have lots of ideas, lots of yarn, and no impulse at all to connect the dots right now.

So I took graph paper, instructions, and pencils to the knitting group and spent about 45 minutes noodling with ways to resolve the problem with the pattern. I would have been willing to engage in some of the possible fudging actions if the work were at a finer gauge (so a quick adjustment of stitch counts would not have been so obvious) or if the maneuvers would have resulted in slightly looser armholes, instead of tighter ones.

I was getting that tense, knotted feeling in my stomach that means "I do NOT want to be doing this." Resentful. Not relaxed. Increasing stress, which was not the point. There are lots of things I don't want to do that I have to do anyway. This was not one of them.

And then I decided I'd had it. There was a very simple fix available to me that would get me back to what I almost desperately needed: aesthetically pleasing, not-boring, stress-reducing knitting.

So the Vivian sweater is moving forward again.


I didn't rip out the already-knitted body; I started with a new ball of yarn. When I'm making a radical decision like this, I don't like to make the change irrevocable until I know it's the right one. I did remove the needle, because I didn't have an extra one with me that was long enough.

After I cast on four more stitches than were called for in the instructions, working the set-up row was a cinch, because I didn't have to read the pattern. I just read and worked from the previously knitted body, with one change: I made the seed-stitch area at the sides 5 stitches wide, instead of 3 stitches wide. When I reach the underarm, these stitches will be the ones that go on hold, leaving the cables intact on either side of them, free to do what they were meant to do in the original concept.

And I am now free to use this knitting for its intended purpose. As soon as I began knitting again—after the cast-on and the requisite counting, even in the first row because I didn't have to micromanage the set-up—I began to relax.

Which means I can probably regain my discipline on spinning the skeinlets.

Work balance appears to have been restored.

Sometimes what looks like the slow road is the fastest way to move forward.


10 thoughts on “Knitting on Vivian sweater is moving forward again”

  1. Unfortunately at times the fastest route is via the detour. Glad you found a solution to the problem and happy knitting, spinning etc.

  2. If adding four stitches is all it takes to solve the problems with the cables, I think that’s the decision I would have taken too.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to solve everything that easily?

    A fibre friend in Minnesota posted the most wonderful line on FB that made me instantly think of you “if handspinning were universal, war would not be!”

  3. I think it’s amazing how a stalled out piece of knitting can really rattle me..I know just how you feel. (or stalled spinning, weaving, or writing…) You have expressed all this in a far better way than I could have. I’m waiting for one ball of “rescue” yarn which is being sent from Tokyo to help bail me out as I finish a sweater. Some things really knock a woman off her game. I think I’ll go to my basement and sort raw wool now to keep myself calm!

  4. Thanks, Laura! Detours often work.

    Linda, yup, simply adding four stitches (and subsequently reknitting the entire body to the armholes) is enough to fix the problem. I should be back at the armholes, ready to join to the sleeves although appropriately, in a week or so.

    You are doing good work in the basement, Joanne. I hope your Japanese yarn comes soon!

  5. Glad you were able to find an easy solution. And it means this project will provide you with even more knitting than you expected, which is a good thing. Right? 🙂

  6. Absolutely right, Kit. I have no objection to the additional knitting. The problems are the time I lost in figuring out the problem and the ripping out of the first body, which will also be non-knitting and non-creative time (although I'll probably do it when I'm on the phone).

  7. “Sometimes the slow road is the fastest way to move forward.”

    It may just be my mind, but this reminds me of a saying garnered from my parents-in-law: “You can’t save money on something you don’t want.”

    Living with the “2 stitches/cabling problem” would have been a painful compromise. Who needs that?

    Looking forward to seeing the “Vivian Body: part #2.”

  8. What kind of wheel do you use for spinning. I am currently looking for a better wheel for spinning fine and lace weights. I have a Joy and it is great to start with, but I need something faster.

  9. Oh, wow, there are so many good choices of wheels! For this project, I needed (and was able to borrow) a wheel with extremely broad capacities that I could also pack in the car and take with me everywhere. It's a Lendrum folding wheel, and it capably handled all but one of the fibers that I spun (I had to shift to a supported takli for the vicuna). I hope to have time to talk more about this in a future blog post.

    The best thing to do is try out wheels. You have lots of good options available to you!

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