Every year, I knit something 'last-minute' to enter in the Minnesota State Fair. A hat. A pair of mittens. Socks. At first, I was happy entering one project every year, but somehow it grew, and now I enter a few things every year. Small things.
This year, I decided on a sweater as my last-minute project. On the plus side, the sweater was half-finished in June. One the crazy-making side, I still had the back. And the sleeves. On US size one needles.
Ten years ago, I would never have attempted this. I would have been happy entering the few small projects that were almost finished, and the sweater would have made its way down into the bottom of my knitting bag, hidden away.
This year I was compelled to finish. I could Not. Give. Up.
With the entry deadline breathing down my neck, I started taking my lunch breaks in a parking ramp. In my car. Knitting. The inside of the car was hot and steamy and my glasses were fogged up and the ramp lighting was bad, so I couldn't see very well, and I was so tired of knitting the sweater.
The last sleeve wasn’t getting anywhere, and instead of giving up like a more well-balanced-person, I kept knitting, and started to panic. When would I have the time to weave in ends, knit the neck and bottom bands, sew the seams, and block the sweater?
It wasn’t like this was the only thing I could bring to the Fair.
But I didn’t give up, and I got the sleeve done and and I got the sweater done, and I started to realize why I put myself through this kind of crazy project. Pressure strengthens.
Success under pressure has given me an increased ability to cope with truly horrific situations, such as running out, almost, of overseas yarn that has no dye lot.
Knitting this sweater hasn’t made me swear off knitting, it just makes me want to knit something else a lot more. These days, everything in my stash looks fun and fabulous. I'm pretty sure my next project will be bright orange, knit on large needles, with no self-imposed deadline. And it won't go to the State Fair.
Hope your summer knitting (deadline or no) has been a success!
Editor’s Note: Shelley's sweater won the Sweepstakes ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair in August.