Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 4: In Which I Learn a Couple of Things

When I was a musician, I knew that time spent away from my instrument was part of the learning process. I knew that my brain continued to process material recently practised, and that time away (especially overnight) would result in greater mastery of the skills practised during the previous day.
Of course, this concept applies in other areas. A little time spent away from a project can lead to a greater understanding of what's going on. This is the second version of Downton that I've knitted. I knew that when I measured my blocked gauge swatch, I always got 32 rows to 4 inches or 8 rows to 1 inch. I knew that the unblocked knitting was slightly more compressed. I also knew that when I blocked the body to the underarms, somehow I had acquired an extra inch, if I counted the rows. So, it was a good thing to have a day of driving to Toronto and back. I had time to ruminate, without even realizing that that was what I was doing--a sort of free flow of mental fluids and electrical currents doing their best to solve a puzzle in the background of other thoughts.
I told James I wanted to leave at 7:30, knowing full well that this meant we would leave by 8:00 (my real goal). We arrived in downtown TO by 11:00, and he was moved in by 12:30. Very efficient. Then I moved the car to my favourite parking spot in front of Trinity College (where James spent the last 4 years).

Gardens in front of Trin.

View of the quad from the main hallway.

We "did" Bloor St. First to the Bay, for James who had failed to follow the advice in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to "bring a towel". Then, to the Source for an clock radio, then to H&M where I bought 3 sweaters for $75 and Isabel bought a dress, a sweater, and a belt. I hugged James good-bye, resisted the urge to cry, and we were off on the return journey.

All this while the torso of Downton was quietly drying on the sunroom floor back home.By the time of our return, I knew the cause of all my gauge problems. My real gauge wasn't 8 rows to the inch, it was 7.69--not enough to show on a 4-inch swatch, especially in double moss stitch, where the eye sees everything in twos. But definitely enough to make a difference over 13 inches of knitting. Duh!
Now I'm going to rip back 6 rows, put the fronts on threads and proceed up the back to the neck, with my REAL, TRUE row gauge in mind.

What was the other thing I learned? Much as I loved having James around all summer, and hard as it was to say good-bye, I also love not having him around all the time. I guess we're both growing up.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I managed on top of everything else to knit the back tab.