You should spend your life with someone

Pattern: Magic Mirror Socks by Jeanie Cartmel (PDF link)
Yarn: Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (100% merino wool), colorway P419
Needles: U.S. 1 40″ nickel Options fixed circular (two-at-a-time magic loop style, toe up)

It was the last day of July. For the whole month, cheered on by fellow members of Team Welcome and all the nearly 700 participants in Ravelry’s WIP Wrestlemania 2009, I’d been focusing exclusively on finishing my works in progress — all the knitted items I had going simultaneously, or those that had been set aside to wait for sewing up or grafting or attaching buttons, or those that had been abandoned months or years ago.

As part of that commitment, I hadn’t cast on anything new since June. But in June, I did start a few things … some fresh projects, some knits of a more recent vintage, so that the parade of ancient unfinished objects didn’t get too dispiriting. The random number generator picked 24, and in bag 24 I found this pattern and this beautiful yarn, which I bought in Chicago while there for the American Academy of Religion meeting in November 2008.

I admit that I neglected my older WIPs, the ones the event was designed to help me conquer, because of the siren song of these socks. They progress slowly, a few lines of the chart at a time. Luckily I had many occasions when this careful knitting wasn’t in the cards, and the mindless rows of a baby blanket or a pair of handwarmers were the only activity that fit the bill. Otherwise I probably would have knit little else in July.

Last night I decided that I had enough length on the legs and began to knit the cuff ribbing. The hours ticked by as I knit the twisted rib, first one sock, then the other. I thought I might finish the knitting before Wrestlemania expired along with the month of July, but not the bind-off, which required me to choose a stretchy one at minimum, and find supplies that weren’t beside me on the couch at maximum.

But while chatting in the Luau Lounge with some of my teammates, I began to feel as if quitting with only the bind-off to do would be a crying shame. I could count the socks as done for the purposes of Wrestlemania if I chose, but I knew I’d never be able to live with that; socks still on the needles are hardly finished. And if I had time before midnight, why not go for it and gain a legitimate victory?

At 11:56 pm on July 31, as the judges were getting ready to ring the final bell, I pulled my tapestry needle through the last stitch on the last sock, completing Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off and my socks. I had been worried pretty much since the short-row heel that they were too small, but as July turned into August, I coaxed them onto my feet for a blurry iPhone photo.

One way or the other, these socks would have gotten done; if not yesterday, then today, or tomorrow, or next week. But the benefit of an event like WIP Wrestlemania is that it imposes a certain discipline on the participants. Its austerity pays off in a feeling of accomplishment, and the banishing of disorganization and haphazard approaches to production.

And of course, beautiful, beautiful socks.

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