13 January 2013

The Saddest (Knitting) Story Ever in the Entire Universe

YOU GUYS.  The worst thing ever has happened.  (Well, there are worse things in general, but the worst knitting-thing.)  It's terrible.  Perhaps the worst knitting-thing ever to happen in the whole history of bad knitting-things.  I will burst into tears any minute now.

The Minimalist Cardigan is not nearly as finished as it appears in this picture.
Far from it.

Listen, children, to a long and harrowing tale:

I woke up New Years Day all filled with inspiration to Accomplish Something.  Seems like a good way to start the year, no?  So I dug out the long-marinating Minimalist Cardigan, which I've been threatening to finish for at least six months.

Longtime readers mayyyy recall that the Minimalist  Cardigan was on hold for two reasons: first, that I'd run out of yarn and couldn't find the same dye lot anywhere.  I eventually broke down (February of 2011) and bought a skein of a different dye lot.  The second reason (encountered in March of 2010) was a problem with the neck not matching the shoulders.  I really couldn't decide what to do, so I just waited until I was ready to figure it out.

On January 1, 2013, I woke up with my decision: take out the pleated shoulder seam, undo the Kitchener stitch on the neck, add a few inches and reattach the back.  Did it all in one day.  Just a few hours, really.  It was lovely, and gave me new energy for the whole project.

Now that's some beautiful grafting work,
if I do say so myself.

I was being meticulous.  I even took pictures of my measurements just in case I needed them later.

Also, I got a digital kitchen scale for Christmas, so I had to make sure it was working properly.  (So excited.)

The sleeves were the next problem to tackle.  At some point, I lost track of what needles I'd been using.  The sleeves were held on straight aluminum needles that I stole borrowed appropriated from my mom years and years ago.  But are those the needles I used to make the sweater in the first place?  I have no idea.  After all, it's been at least three years since I *stopped* working on this sweater.  I had one sleeve knitted up, but needed to do the other -- and if I was working on unknown needles 3 years ago, how in the world was I to get the same exact gauge on the second sleeve, no matter what needles I used?  No, both sleeves needed to be knit with the same needles so they'd match each other, even if they didn't exactly match the body of the sweater.  The finished sleeve would have to be re-knit.

So I did re-knit it.  But I neglected to un-kink the yarn properly (or, um, at all) before I did it.  That was dumb, and the sleeve looked bad enough that I wasn't confident it would re-block properly.  I didn't even photograph it.

I had some traveling to do -- a week-long conference of sorts for professional development.  Perfect for knitting and re-knitting sleeves.  Brought the sweater body, plus the finished-but-to-be-re-redone sleeve and the skein for the second sleeve.  First two days of the conference, I knit up the second sleeve using the aluminum straights.  Then I unraveled the first sleeve and properly straightened the yarn in the hotel shower using the wonderfully-heavy ice bucket for weight.  I was fortunate to have a tolerant conference roommate, who happens to take baths.

Then I re-reknit the darn first sleeve.  I finished right at the end of the day Friday (our last day there) and had managed to get most of the side-seaming done here and there.  All that was left to do was sew in the sleeves.

I sewed in Sleeve A (because once they're both off the needles, who knows which is the first sleeve, which I knit three times, and which is the second sleeve, which I knit only once?) on the first plane home this morning.  The flight was the exact right length to get it done.  The most beautiful seaming I've ever done, frankly.  I really should take a picture of the underarm seam, 'cause it's a thing of beauty.

AND THEN I LEFT SLEEVE B ON THE FIRST PLANE.  I think it must have fallen down between my seat and the window-wall, or maybe even slipped off the armrest to the row behind mine when I stood up.  I'd even looked back in my row to make sure I didn't leave anything as I was getting off the plane.  I didn't discover the loss until I was on plane #2 an hour later, when I'd settled into my new seat so I could start sewing in Sleeve B while waiting for takeoff.

That's right.  Sleeve B is gone.

Fortunately my flight had a minor problem and was delayed just enough for me to report the loss.  I filled out a lost article form online and called the airline to talk with an actual person, who was very helpful.  Unfortunately, plane#1 was already on its way to Los Angeles.  I was in Washington DC.  That's incredibly not helpful.  Just a few minutes after I learned this information, my plane departed for Connecticut.  The official story from the airline is that the flight crew reports all lost articles at the end of the day.  Tomorrow the computer system will kick in and match the crew's lost article report with my lost article form--if the crew did indeed find Sleeve B and didn't throw it away.
Photo taken in Hartford.  The sweater looks really good,
except for the missing sleeve.
The blue sweater makes my outfit look silly, though.
I swear it looked great when I was
doing the monochromatic thing.

I'll get a phone call tomorrow if Sleeve B has been found.  If it hasn't... well, that's that.

Relatively quickly, I came up with a back-up plan.  I'd flown in to Hartford and was driving back to Burlington right away, and the route goes right past WEBS, pretty much the biggest yarn store in the country.  That's where I bought the extra skein back in 2011 in the first place.  They're open till 5:30 on Saturdays, and I had plenty of time to get there.  I called them to ask them to set aside a skein of Bulldog Blue for me.  The helpful woman on the phone looked in the computer... no Bulldog Blue on hand.  Would I like them to order it for me?  It'll come in in a few weeks.

No problem, I said, a few weeks will be fine.  (And if the airline does find Sleeve B, I will cancel the order.)  She checked the Brown Sheep website to be sure...

And the color is discontinued.  They can't order it for me.  Nobody can order it for me.  There is no more Bulldog Blue available for purchase.  

There is one person on Ravelry who has this colorway in their stash and is willing to sell it.  If I don't get a phone call from the airline tomorrow, you better believe I am contacting this Raveler.

Please, send as many prayers and vibes and whatnot into the universe as you possibly can.  So far mine kind of look like this:

Please, God, let the airline find Sleeve B and mail it back to me.  I can't promise You that I will never again take four years to finish a sweater, but I can promise you that I have learned some sort of lesson from this experience and when I figure out what it is I will remember it forever. Love, Holyknitter.  Amen.

I feel confident that God understands what I mean here.

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