Third: The Mysterious Black Hole Project

I like to think of myself as a kind, capable knitter. One who teaches patiently without judging and learns graciously and with humility. I have always accepted that there are things (ok, ok, many things) that I don’t know. Considering my acceptance of how little I know, I tend to believe the things that older, wiser knitters tell me. One thing that I have heard legends of time and again is the dreaded black hole knitting project, but I really thought it to be no more than the excuse of lazy or incompetent knitters. A sort of mythical knitting boogey-man. "How," I thought, "could someone measure their work, have 29 inches of blanket, knit for 2 hours, and measure again to find that they still have 29 inches? She’s either doing something wrong or fudging just how long she’s been working on the thing."

You know, I am learning that there is definitely some kind of fiber-karma floating around out there. If you think hateful and disparaging things about the knitting perils of others, you will soon come to have a project so frustrating that it forces you to think hateful and disparaging thoughts about your own knitting, all the while questioning your skill and sanity.

Case in point, I recently bought Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits, and I fell in love instantly with the young, stylish knits that I found in it. I wanted to start with something light that was easy and quick enough that I could start and finish it with time to wear it most of the summer and fall. I chose the Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest, though I chose to knit it in a lovely, lightweight, soft brown wool that has been making eyes at me from within my stash for months now. I began the sweater several weeks ago and started to knit on it, finding the project to be an absolute dream. Simple, classic, and best of all seamless construction that seemed to just fly off of my needles. By the end of day two I had made it all the way down the neck, divided for the arm shaping, rejoined, and knit several inches of beautiful, bust-hugging bodice. I estimated that at the rate I was going, I'd have a gorgeous sweater in no more than a week, four or five days at best. I considered the fact that I finished an enormous lace baby blanket in just a couple of months (very shortly after I started knitting, actually! how is it that I managed to do that?) to be proof that I had the stamina to pull it off with no trouble.

Then, I entered... the Twilight Zone (you have to say it in Rod Serling's voice in your head - it sounds great that way).

I'm pretty sure that in the knitting twilight zone there are little goblins that crawl onto your needles and release one stitch for each one you complete. There is no other explanation for the fact that over the course of 3 days during which all of my free time went to working on my sweater, I made less than 2 inches worth of progress. Where were my stitches going?

I'm sure it seems like this is the point in my entry where I tell you that I'd made some error and I was knitting twice as many stitches as I needed in each row or something and that the Black Hole Project doesn't exist, but I didn't make any sort of mistake. There's no explanation. No matter how much or how fast I knit, I just couldn't make progress. The BHP is all too real.

So, to fight my way out of the black hole, I did what any other sane knitter would do. I knit a sock.

My first sock.

More on that later.

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