I'd wanted to make this sweater since I first saw it, but I was pretty sure it was too expensive, too hard, and too slow. I kept putting the yarn in my online cart and then closing the tab because I couldn't justify the expense. Months later I found a Raveler destashing the kit and bought it for a much more reasonable price.
Almost two years ago the kit came in the mail. At first I was perplexed by the pattern. I cast on anyway, thinking I'd figure it out as I went along, only to discover that corrugated rib might be the death of me. I can knit with my right hand, slowly and laboriously, but it steadfastly refuses to purl. This is weird, because I am emphatically right-handed most of the time, but I am a dyed-in-the-wool Continental knitter and my right hand just cannot seem to get a strand of yarn around the needle purlwise.
I was scared of the steek, because steeking means you can't rip back and re-knit. Not, you understand, that I'd be enthusiastic about ripping back something I'd painstakingly fashioned with 60 stitches per square inch, but it would be better than being stuck with an unwearable garment. If you are similarly scared of steeking, I recommend starting on a child's sweater or a doll sweater: small investment, low stress. It was just what I needed to get over my steeking anxiety.
The hardest part of steeking was unexpected. I had pointed out to my children that the steek looked like a monkey face. (Do you see it? The held stitches are the open mouth, the partial rosettes are big ears, and the stripes are the eyes.) When it came time to cut the steek my boys interposed their bodies between the scissors and the steek. "No!" they yelled. "Don't kill the monkey!"
You mean I should leave this sweater in which I have invested all these hours and dollars in a completely unusable state?
They said that was exactly the thing to do. I sighed heavily, nudged them aside, and sliced it open so I could make the neckband. I blocked it and wove in the ends and wore it to Behold, feeling pleased with myself for finishing it at last. Stella saw it lying on the bed and said, "What's that?" That's a sweater I made, I told her. "That not a sweater," she said assuredly. "That a monkey face."