As to Hopkins, I frogged the sleeve back to 33 stitches and decreased on every row to 15, at which point I bound off. Obviously, I have given up all notion of calculating and am going with trial and error. But it worked, I have sewn it back in, and all is well. I must now make sure to match the second sleeve to the first.

But what is the moral of the sleeve calculation story? Is it that arithmetic in knitting is hopeless? I don’t think so. I think the moral is that, when your calculations say you should decrease every 1.2 rows, you can’t say to yourself, “Eh, 1.2 is a lot like 1!” Instead, you should think “I need X number of decreases over X inches,” and work it out exactly. In fact, you should just toss out all words like “sort of,” “roughly,” “approximately,” and “about.” Next time I will do better.

Spinner Mom suggests leaving the second sleeve till after the T-shirt — an appealing idea. Yesterday I remembered the existence of Omega Sinfonia, a modest cotton yarn that comes in cool ’30s colors like Aladdin Green and Bubble Gum Pink. I went and bought some on the way to work, so I could start with the knitalong. People who are thinking that I will soon have spent as much as if I had just bought the Calmer in the first place —

No, no, I am not going to say anything snippy. In cruising the knitting blogs today (while swatching), I found some of the nastiest exchanges imaginable. I had a 30-second spat with a friend the other day (I said something snippy, he said, “I can’t talk to you any more!” and stormed out) and was upset for hours. These poor bloggers had vituperation in their comments for days. I don’t know how their nerves held out. Cleverboots came in yesterday and spoke up in favor of the freedom to express outrageous opinions, but only if you can choose your audience, which I suppose bloggers cannot do. On the other hand, we blog readers surely can move on if we find ourselves outraged, can’t we? And Cleverboots’s outrageousness is usually about sex, schools, and childrearing (the story she told me yesterday combined the three), all potentially emotional topics, while the bloggers in question were ramping on each other about knitting. In any case, having seen firsthand what happens to people who make snippy comments, I will stop right there.

So I got to work early, with a good deal of nice yarn and quite a few spare minutes, and no knitting needles. But I really wanted to swatch. Naturally ( naturally, that is, for a crazed knitter), I began checking out all pointy objects in the vicinity. I am therefore in a position to tell you positively that there are some pointy objects which are not worth trying to knit with. Pencils, contrary to what #2 son said, are not suitable for knitting. Wire, screwdrivers, and pens are likewise no good. Watercolor paintbrush handles, however, not only work just fine, but also were perfect for the gauge.

Nonetheless, I swatched properly when I got home. I had hoped to go with size 3 needles, so I could keep the 4s for Hopkins’s second sleeve, and perhaps do them alternately, but in fact 4 is what gives me the gauge. So I have begun the T-shirt, in Aladdin green. I will be deciding about the graphic when I get there, but I am thinking about this unassuming little flower from the Dover electronic clip-art library:

KnitPro charted it for me.

I also got my Brambleberry order. We were running out of soap, so I got in several pounds of bulk soap which which to make some bars. The order also included a spring scent sampler, with scents like Lettuce, Grass Stain, and Stargazer Lily. With soaping and knitting, I will be spending some time before going to work immersed in nice smells, colors, and textures. A good way to begin the day.

The farmers market also opens this morning. There may not be much there in the way of vegetables, but it will be a festive experience.