Bumpy Sweater.

Thou shalt knit in public.

I kipped! I'm a "kipper"! Should I be proud? Oh, yes.

Okay, I've knit in public before but it's usually at my son's playgroup, and it's always a very small project that I can carry around easily and pull out inconspicuously, such as a stuffed toy. On Sunday, however, I hauled my current sweater project to a crowded playground, sat on a bench and ignored curious stares while I knit the back of the sweater on a pair of circs and my husband played with my son on the jungle gym. After about ten minutes a little girl, accompanied by her mother, sat on the bench next to me.

Little Girl (in a loud whisper): "Mom...see that? She's knitting!"

Mother: "Yes, I know. I saw."

Little Girl: "C'est chouette (it's cool). How come you don't knit?"

Mother: "I do knit."

Little Girl: "How come I never see you knit?"

Mother: [Hesitates.] "Well...I don't have time to knit."

Little Girl: "You should bring your knitting to the playground and knit while I play. Like she's doing." [Motions her head towards me as she says this.]

Haha! You tell your mother, little girl.

On a somewhat related note, I've finished the back of the sweater. I had started a few days ago, got halfway through the back, but when I measured my knitting I discovered that I had knitted too tightly. My gauge had been on spot when I swatched, but when I actually started knitting my tension had changed. I frogged the whole thing and restarted, but about 1/4 through noticed that I was still knitting too tightly. So I ripped it back again and restarted on Saturday afternoon, this time with a glass of wine in tow and much chatting with my husband. On Sunday morning I got some enjoyable knitting done after a very nice breakfast, and had some more fun knitting time while at the playground. Last night, while watching a so-so movie starring Eddie Murphy called Le Flic de San Francisco, I completed the back and the piece measures as it should. Voilá. All the ingredients for more relaxed knitting.

Go, go Speed Racer.

I've been working on my "Stars and Stripes Teddy Bear" in the evenings, and it's coming along nicely. I've finished one leg and have begun knitting the other. When I started the bear, I had planned on having it be my "carry around" project - the project I take with me when I go out everyday because it's small and I can knit it while waiting around or on short breaks, but I've nixed that idea quickly. The parts require lots of shaping and the needles I'm using to knit are so small that I find myself frogging if I don't pay a bit of attention to what I'm doing. It's a good "watching television" project, though. So I think I'll start calling it the "Crappy T.V. in the Evening Bear" because I've been knitting it while zoning out for an hour in front of the television set every night and, well, television programming is very much wanting over here. Remind me to ask Santa for a DVD player this year.

In other knitting news, I've been working very leisurely on my sweater, and am about 1/4 the front. Even though I'm not currently giving the sweater priority, the size 5mm needles and thick, bumpy yarn still make me work pretty quickly on this project. Maybe I should start hoping for cold weather.

Almost finito.

My sweater is pieced together! I dawdled over it, like always, because I don't enjoy seaming as much as I enjoy the actual knitting of a garment. Like I've said before, don't you wish you had a little robot named Rosie to seam all your knitted pieces for you? We've got robots that mix cocktails and a robodog that'll read your e-mails for you, but no robot that'll seam together knitted pieces for lazy knitters like me. Sony?

Anyway, all my sweater needs now is for me to knit an enormous turtleneck (the neckline is boatneck-shaped) about 7 inches long, and some major blocking on the sleeve seams. Backstitch is my favorite way to sew sleeves to the body of sweaters (I use mattress stitch for side seams) because it's stronger than mattress stitch, but the thick seams always make the shoulders look as big as a linebacker's. Blocking the backstitch seams always smooths them out, though. (Thank heavens for blocking.)

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaadass sweater.

I decided to wear my new sweater (with very dark, bootcut jeans) to a family lunch on Sunday, and as soon as I pulled it on I immediately felt as big and woolly as a sheep. I had never worn anything knit in such thick wool before - until I started knitting I used to be the humdrum classic cut ribbed sweater in black kind of person, thankyouverymuch - so I felt a bit odd.

But then when I hit the outdoors I realized that I really adore this sweater! It's perfect for cold weather because the thick wool makes it warm, but it's wearable indoors because it has 3/4 sleeves and a wide neckline that keeps the enormous turtleneck collar from hugging my neck tightly. As I started greeting everyone when we arrived at our family gathering, a cousin reached out, touched my (sweatered) arm and said, "Wow, what a beautiful sweater." I couldn't help piping up, "I knit it!" And I felt like a bit of a show-off as a group of female family members crowded in closer to admire it. One actually said, "Can you knit one for me, too?" Uh, right. Let me whip out the needles right here, my dear. I took it as a compliment, nonetheless. (And now I can't wait to knit myself some more of these thick wool sweaters!)