Stretch

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"Just two inches...maybe an inch and a half."  With my hands splayed flat on the mat in front of me and my head dangling between my arms (otherwise known as downward dog) I will my heels to touch the floor.  But no matter how much I breathe, the muscles in the back of my legs refuse to stretch enough to allow my feet to fully be in contact with the ground.

Eh, with practice I'll get there.  It's frustrating, but it's the kind of frustration that's good for you.  It takes just the kind of quiet patience and perseverance that I most need to learn.

***

I was almost done with the bulk of this sweater before I even realized it.  Just a quick border to put on, and she'd be ready.  It was the perfect pattern for my speed-demon, get-it-done knitting style.

I picked up stitches around the edge, knit a few rows, and started the recommended i-cord cast-off.  At a make-six stitches-for-every-one-you-cast-off pace, it took over two hours.  Much worse, it ended up being so tight that my nice flat cardigan turned into an odd, ugly bubble-shrug.  I didn't rip the entire thing apart that very night only because I was too exhausted to.

But even rest didn't make me feel better about it.  I had followed the pattern.  But somewhere between the finished body and adding the trim, something had gone majorly wrong.  I spent the better part of a day stewing.  Should I cut my losses and start something new?  Or spend the time to try again, knowing that I might waste several hours of precious knitting time, only to get the same result?

Generally, I would cut my losses in a heart beat.  I hate fiddling with patterns that don't work.  I hate ripping things out to start again.  I hate starting again, period.  I'm just not that sort of knitter, or person, if I'm being honest.

But some Ravelry research revealed that the cast-off was probably the larger part of the problem, and the number of stitches I picked up had also likely contributed.  It wasn't that the pattern was wrong, it was just not specific enough.  And while it meant that a few hours of work would have to be re-done, a little voice in my head was telling me that maybe I needed to do this.  Not for the sweater, per se, but perhaps to stretch myself a bit.

So I ripped it back to the state you see it in above, sat down with a movie, and started again.  When I cast-off a few minutes ago--the normal way, not with the i-cord this time--it laid flat just as it was supposed to.  It still needs sleeves, and the ends woven in, but on the whole, I think it's going to be a cute cardigan.

Frustrating, but, again, probably just in the right way.

(And don't worry, I'll post proper pictures when it's properly finished!)