You know that moment, just before the first big drop in a rollercoaster ride? Even if you love rollercoasters (I don’t), there’s just a little bit of dread mixed in with the excitement, knowing what’s coming.

That’s kind of what this weekend felt like for me. Those last few moments of calm, as the car rattles its way up to the precipice. You know that nothing really bad will happen, everything will be fine, and that it will probably even be a fun ride, but there’s that little part of your brain that is very, very aware that you are about to play chicken with gravity.

The new semester starts tomorrow. I had my new faculty orientation today: complete information overload packed into just a few hours of time. I am so glad that I came to campus early rather than starting on the 1st as per my contract. I can’t imagine being one of the people walking onto a new campus for the first time, getting ready to teach a new class (and in some cases teach for the first time) starting on Thursday. Absolutely crazy.

(Not that I feel all that much more sane for the extra 3 months.)

Everyone keeps asking if I’m ready. My favorite answer is that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be…some things you can never be fully prepared for. We’ve reached the top of the track, though…here goes!

I spent the weekend busily starting a crazy new knitting project to go along with my crazy new semester. You may remember the fall colors sweater that’s been waiting in the wings for almost a year now. I’ve decided to go with the last sketch in that post, and even did some swatching back in May to figure out the colorwork patterns that I’d use.

I thought that the design was pretty well worked out, actually, but then I sat down to start and realized that I still had some work to do. First, I completed the charts for the stitch pattern. I tried two different edge patterns, and decided that I liked the one on the right the most. Then I modified the same version for the band on the back of the sweater, where the two sections will run together (I think I’m going to go with the top one).

I’d been planning to knit the ribbing in green and work the body in orange and brown, but I didn’t like the way the solid green looked against the other two colors in my first swatch (barely visible in the photos). I just kept stubbing my eye on it, and that’s never a good sign.

So I did some thinking, and then a little poking around online, and decided that a corrugated (two color) ribbing was probably what I wanted. The poking around online also revealed that there are lots of ways for corrugated ribbing to behave differently than you expect, so that meant another swatch. I had wanted to do a more complete one anyway, and I wanted to make sure that the colorwork design would look symmetrical enough, since it goes around a corner and might get distorted by the fact that knit stitches are not square. So, on Sunday, I made a swatch, in the round this time to keep the tension more even.

I have to say that I am rather smitten, especially with the corrugated rib. It’s slow to knit, and I had to invent a kind of finicky set of gymnastics to hide my floats on the first pattern round, but I really love the results. The main body colorwork also looks like it will work just fine, so then it was just a matter of finalizing the construction.

I’m knitting this on size 0 needles, and am getting 8 stitches to the inch. It makes a beautiful fabric, but this sweater is going to take forever and ever to knit. I cast on 328 stitches in the round for the hem ribbing, with an 8 stitch panel for the front zipper steek.

This sweater will also have two side steeks, to be filled in later with the solid green panels in the drawing. Once I finish the ribbing, I’ll transfer about 2.5″ worth of stitches on each side of the garment onto holders, cast on a new steek band, and then knit the shaped front and back body panels. Once the main part of the body is complete, I’ll cut the underarm steeks, pick up the stitches from the ribbing and along the edges of the steek, and knit in the solid green panels, attaching as I go. Once the sleeves have been added and the sweater is complete, I’ll go back and steek the front panel and install a zipper.

This has to be one of my craziest constructions yet (anything that involves three steeks in a sweater that takes this long to knit qualifies as crazy, I think). I’m most worried about getting the shaping right, since there will be no trying on as I go. Still, it should be an interesting ride. I cast on yesterday….here goes!