Archive for Knitting Disasters

Super Shawl Shimmy

After I took the Lace Leaf off the needles yesterday, I didn't put it back on the needles right away because I knew it was a job that would require some concentration. After Iris went to sleep, I started to get it back on, only to have the needle come up missing. I decided to cast on for new socks rather than hunt up the missing needle, but letting that shawl sit with all those naked, loose stitches made me uneasy all day. I turned the living room upside down tonight, found the prodigal needle, and got the shawl back on. Phew! All is right with the world.

Or rather, it would be if I hadn't realized after re-needling that I actually need to frog two more rows than I did. So it all has to come off again, and the cycle begins anew. I am comforted by the fact that it could always be worse. So much worse!

In other shawl related news, I ordered the Lotus Blossom Shawl pattern from Fiddlesticks Knits. It's definitely the most I've ever paid for a pattern, and I don't mind telling you that it's driving me crazy that there's no option to download it as a PDF. It's not just a matter of the internet spoiling me with instant pattern gratification (even though it totally has!) I like having the security of the PDF saved to my hard drive. Around here, a lot can go wrong with a printed pattern! I could scan it into the computer myself, but buying it in PDF format is just so much more convenient! But, the shawl is gorgeous and I have some yarn here that just screams Lotus Blossom to me. (Hint: New yarn, not my Pigeonroof Studios. Not yet, my precioussss.) I've heard about the greatness of Fiddlesticks charts, so maybe it will be worth the pain of waiting for snail mail after all.

While I'm waiting for my pattern to get here (and avoiding taking Lace Leaf off the needles to frog AGAIN) I'm swatching, swatching, swatching. If you're not a rabid Sundara fan, you might have missed this great post about lace yarn and needle sizes- check it out! Good stuff!


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Orange: The Color of Failure


I haven’t blogged for almost two weeks now. For once, it’s not because I don’t have time (overtime is off, at least for awhile), or because I don’t have anything interesting to say. It’s because every time I sat down to blog last week, I got annoyed, then angry, and then a little depressed. My posts would start out with a few mild complaints, and by the end they were usually peppered with incoherent ranting in ALL CAPS, with lots of exclamation points and expletives. If you’re around me for any length of time, you know that my mouth could make the surliest sailor weak with shame, but even for me this was an awful lot of anger to be hurling around on the Intarwebs.

Knitting isn’t going so well lately (see above photos), and when my knitting is out of joint, I find myself feeling out of joint too. It’s easy for me to blog my knitting triumphs- who doesn’t love a happy ending? – but when it gets ugly, I never feel quite so ready to share.

I’m not shy about my imperfections, or embarrassed about making mistakes. You hear it all the time, and it’s true: mistakes are just a part of the process. If you knit long enough, you’ll figure out how to prevent and correct many errors, but you’ll never stop making them all together.

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore says that because his intelligence is far greater than average, his mistakes are far greater and more terrible than average too. The same can definitely be applied to knitting. The more adventurous and experienced you become as a knitter, the more complex your mistakes will become.

I know all that, really I do. I accept that I will have to rip things out and re-knit. I accept that I will twist stitches where they shouldn’t twist and drop them where they shouldn’t be dropped. My happy knitting experiences outweigh the bad ones by far. But for some reason, I feel like I should keep my knitting problems locked in a closet, as far away from the public eye as possible.

I hypothesize that my feeling of wanting to cover up the seedy underbelly of knitting stems from a desire for others, especially non-knitters, to see this craft as one that is largely pleasant and productive. I figure that if "the muggles" get wind of the fact that knitting doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, and can occasionally bring the knitter to the brink of desperation, they’ll get scared off. It’s the same reason that you’re not supposed to tell pregnant women how awful labor is and how your baby mostly cries, poops, and throws up on you. (Maybe it’s okay before they’re pregnant, but definitely not after it’s already too late to turn back.)

Ah, confession really is good for the soul.

Anyway, I had started the Central Park Hoodie and I was absolutely in love. Everything was going fine, until I decided that I needed to adjust the depth of the armhole. After spending a couple hours pondering over the mysteries of recalculating the slope of the decreases and trying to self-measure my armpit to see how deep it actually is, I was forced to admit defeat and ripped my beautiful orange tweed back for the second time. I know it’s not the yarn’s fault, but I still feel like punishing it. ("Bad yarn! Back in the closet! No knitting for you!")

To sum it all up, I’m feeling very under-inspired at the moment. My last successful project was the Kitty Pi from Wendy Knits. I definitely want to make at least one more (extra large for Fat Louie, of course), but it doesn’t sound particularly fun at the moment. I’ve decided to swear off the knitting of all things with sleeves for the time being. I think the orange yarn might be destined to be a vest, but I’m pretty sick of looking at it. I started working on a little felted strawberry purse from the latest issue of Knitscene, but it is a pain in the ass. (More on that later.)


So anyway, I’m sorry for the downer of a post. Maybe I’ll get inspired and knit something awesome, which should lead to happier blogging.

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Bad Week

When I was a kid I had a book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That poor kid just couldn’t catch a break. I’ve thought about that story several times over the last week, because I’ve been feeling a little like Alexander ever since Monday. Nothing drastically awful has happened- I mean, no one I care about has died, I haven’t been abducted by aliens, and moths didn’t get into my stash- but it seems like nothing has gone right either. Work is a mess. My house is a mess. And worst of all, my knitting is a mess. (Naturally, I’m most concerned about the knitting.)

Let’s deal with the most terrible and important thing first: the possible frogging of the Orange Aran. (Yes, you read that right. The whole shebang.)

It was going so, so well. In my last post, I proudly announced no less than 6 inches of new knitting progress on the back, all accomplished in one frenzied weekend. I was almost halfway done with the back, and since I already have a sleeve, that means I was mere inches away from being halfway done with this sweater.

So what is the problem? Can you see it?


How about now?


The really sickening thing is, the mistake isn’t even my fault. Basically, there are two places in the first and seventh rows of the chart where you do what I’ve been thinking of as "the big cable". It’s a six stitch right twisting cable, and it’s "the big cable" because all of the other cables in this sweater are worked over four stitches. The problem is that when you’re working the largest sizes of the sweater, you work the chart twice, and neither the chart or the pattern indicate that the big cable still needs to be worked when you are in the middle of the row, or in between charts. So if you work the chart as it’s written, you end up with a six stitch column of un-cabled stitches going right up the middle of the sweater.

Of course the model sweater pictured in the magazine doesn’t have this problem, probably because it is one of the smaller sizes and therefore was knit using only the center of the chart. Or maybe it’s that the test knitter was smarter than me and figured it out on her own, before knitting a foot of interlocking diamond seed stitch cables. (Bitter, party of one?)

I guess it doesn’t really matter who’s to blame. At this point, all I can do is either rip it out or learn to live with it. To rip, or not to rip? I can’t make up my mind. On the one hand, I only followed the chart as written twice before discovering the issue, and it’s pretty low on the back of the sweater. I’m sure if I just go ahead with the rest of the sweater it will be fine and it won’t be noticed from a prancing pony, or a trotting horse, or what-have-you.

Who am I kidding? I know I’m going to eventually rip it out. I’m just postponing the inevitable. Mistakes in knitting are a weird thing to me. I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination about anything in my life, except knitting. When I make a mistake, I always go through several stages of denial (see above paragraph), and usually knit several inches past the mistake before I accept the unalterable fact that maybe I could live with it- but I don’t want to. I don’t like frogging, but I’d rather frog than live with a mistake that I know I could have fixed.

After I made the decision to rip (which was a few nights ago, since I started this post while my blogging host was having "issues"), I felt a lot better, but also realized that I wasn’t really interested in finishing the sweater I started anymore. I still love the yarn and it will definitely be a sweater eventually, but it will probably be a Central Park Hoodie instead of a Kristin Nicholas Aran Pullover. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited about the prospect of a new sweater, but sad about losing the old one.

The rest of my knitting has been all jacked up too, but I’m determined to get things back on the path to Finished-Objectdom over the rest of the weekend. Since I’ve decided that a lot of my UFOs are going in the frog pond, after I finish up a few smallish project I should be back on the proverbial straight and narrow as far as my Rotation goes, which will be a relief.

Part of getting back on track means that I need to deal with the disaster area my knitting shelf has become. No wonder I’m a mess! Chaos breeds chaos, people.

I’ll take another picture tonight if I make any progress.  (There will be some progress!)

Just so we don’t end on a down note, I’ll say that I’m feeling a lot better since I cried me a little cry this morning, and I’m feeling confident that the upcoming week will be much brighter.

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Good Linen, Bad Linen

This is your linen.

This is your linen on cats.

Any questions?

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Today’s Breaking News:

  • Saturday is great! Not being at work is even better!
  • I am blocking the fronts and back of my Ribby Cardi, and hope to seam it up tomorrow so I can see how far from fitting it actually is. I don’t own an iron, so Jet helped me with the pressing. Bless his heart. Jetblocks
  • I’m very, very tired of my Stripey Socks, but they’re almost done now so I might as well finish them. Plans are in the works for my next pair. I’ve had this beautiful purple Koigu in my stash for almost a year now, just waiting for the perfect pattern to show it off. Koiguyarn_2
    I’m deciding right now between the Mata Hari Socks from Craftoholic or Falling Leaves from Knitty. What do you think?
  • Speaking of Knitty…. new Knitty!! I haven’t really gotten a chance to dig in to this issue yet, but at first glance, my top three patterns to knit would have to be Monkey, Emerald, and Eiffel. I’m seriously considering knitting Hexed, not so much because I love the hat, but because it sounds like a fun knit, and I have about a gazillion skeins of Lamb’s Pride Bulky laying around.
  • I’m trying not to think about my Xmas knitting projects. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, the words that come to mind when I think about it are catastrophe, woe and ruin. I’m very close to deciding that Bob’s big ass head can just stay cold for all I care. If he wants a warm head, maybe he should learn how knit. (No, I’m not bitter… why do you ask?)
  • I can’t wait until tomorrow! At least for this week, my Sunday is totally free and I plan on kicking some knitting (and seaming) booty. Woohoo!!

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