As the poet says, man rises on the stepping stones of his dead self to higher things. At the moment I’m sloughing dead selves faster than a snake sheds its skin!
And it was all going so well…
You see, ever since my cataract operations a few years back I’ve struggled to see really fine detail. Hard as it is to believe, sometimes I can’t tell if a stitch is a knit or a purl, especially if it’s a few rows back, and especially if the yarn is a dark colour. (Add to that a splash of colour blindness, just enough to make things interesting, and you can begin to appreciate my problem.)
So I have devised a system to keep track of where I am at any given time. I count off cables with a 7-barred gate and at regular intervals – at the end of every second diamond, say – I check the total number of rows against the number of completed diamonds (so ten 18-row diamonds equals 180 rows, equals 25 cables plus 5 rows). That way, I have a foolproof method of ensuring that I never get too far out of sync.
Foolproof, did I say? Alas the day. You see, I have one final, fatal problem to overcome, which is a tendency for my mind to wander at crucial times – or even for several days. So it was, gentle reader, that I made a crucial error – somehow I skipped a couple of rows, eliding two diamonds. I knew something was wrong at the time, I could see it wasn’t right; but because of my aforementioned eyesight problems I couldn’t tell what it was. (And, since Margaret was off big-game hunting in France, I couldn’t just ask anyone.) So I gave a mental shrug and carried on, slightly puzzled, but not even certain anything was wrong.
Until I got to the second diamond and discovered that the numbers didn’t add up; I was two rows short. You know that sensation where you go very hot and then very cold in rapid succession? If you imagine a Star Wars robot with blue lightning flickering over the casing just before it falls over, stunned, that was pretty much me. So some 3 inches has had to come out, about 8 hours work. Sigh.
Luckily, knitting for me is always more about process than results. I do it because I enjoy it – discovering completed ganseys dropping off the production line every few months is a sort of unexpected bonus. So I’m taking a few days off to recoup my energy, and then it’ll be as it if never happened.
And at least I have completed the back (successfully – the numbers add up!), so you can get an idea of how the whole thing will look when it’s done.
While Margaret’s been away I’ve just got my head down and put in some 5-7 hours a day on the novel. I’ve almost finished the first draft – the 127th, really, if you count the number of times I’ve gone over it – there’s a just the final tweaking and polishing to go. It’s a historical fantasy, basically the Wars of the Roses with magic, and is also a supernatural murder mystery (who murdered the demon and why?). It clocks in at 70,000 words and I’m rather pleased with it, while accepting that I probably haven’t a hope of seeing it in print.
It’s been that sort of week, really. And with all these dead selves to stand on, I’m starting to resemble an anxious meerkat on guard duty…