Day Six: What I Aspire To (In Knitting, Of Course!)

I am so sad today.

(Knitting-wise that is, for as bad as I’m feeling at the moment, in the big picture, I’ve been assured that the sky is most definitely NOT falling, so let’s have at least a little perspective. But, I digress…)

Today was knit group. I brought my shawl along. Everybody says never to bring a shawl to knit group. But, there are shawls, and then there are shawls. Mine, in the grand scheme of things, is a cake walk to the true shawl knitter. I was knitting away on a pattern row in my shawl and I get to the end of the pattern section, and my count is off. Somewhere, it’s just off. And remember how, just the other day, I was saying how the lace pattern in this thing is easy to read?

closeup of shawl in progress with knitting needles

closeup of shawl in progress with knitting needles

The thing that makes it easy, supposedly, is that in the 7-stitch pattern repeat, on every row, there is this single, prominent column that runs right down the center of the repeat, on stitch 4. It is easy to see this, so easy to tell what’s happening around it. Except now, for some reason, I can’t. I’ve lost my way. And my numbers are off. Way off. I don’t see where or how I could have dropped stitches or miscounted.

And no, it’s not because I was in knit group, that I can tell. I was going along counting along the way, and everything was fine. I was finding my stitch 4 on every repeat with no problem. Now, all of a sudden, I’m at the end of the section and something, somewhere is just wrong. And I don’t see it. And I’m mad.

So, if I were to say what I aspire to in knitting, it would be to be able to find and fix ANYTHING. No mistake should be daunting or rattling. It’s sad, of course, when one has to rip out several days’ worth of work to fix a mistake 20 rows down, and that kind of thing is frustrating for anybody. But what I don’t get here is why I don’t see the problem. I see that there is one, but I don’t see what it is. And this is what I want to know most in my knitting. How to see what I’ve done wrong, and fix it. And be confident about it. And move on.

I know, I know. Back away from the knitting. What is driving me crazy tonight will be painfully obvious tomorrow, right? Except I don’t think so this time. I just can’t see it.

So I want to know how to see a mistake and fix it, not fudge it. And, I want to knit a sweater. Or ANYTHING. I think I’m the only person at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival every year who goes there with nothing to show for the results of her knitting. I never have anything to wear. So that is something else I aspire to, I guess… to go to the festival next year and not be the only one with nothing to wear.

Ok, I’ll end this bloggy pity party and go knit something simple. Like a dishcloth. Or a scarf. Baby steps…

Fixing Mistakes Again

Wouldn’t you know it, last night I found another mistake in the knitting. It bothered me as I worked all evening, so this morning I decided to fix it before starting my work day. (I’m feeling under the weather today and am writing this post slowly between bouts of shutting my eyes. Perhaps it’s a migraine? Don’t know… all I’m feeling is the nausea. Yuck.)

Anyway, the mistake involved skipping some stitches in a particular column, which had the effect of having several slipped stitches in the column, which resulted in having the work look like this:

accidental slipped stitches shown in purple circle

accidental slipped stitches shown in purple circle

I highlighted the mistake in a purple circle so you can spot it easier. Now, I should point out that I am a huge fan of macro photography, so the mistake in the photo is much bigger than it is in reality. But, that’s how huge it felt to me, so I couldn’t let it go.

So, I dropped the stitch off the needle and laddered down to the point of the mistake. The yarn is a bit sticky so I had to coax the stitches down.

crochet hook inserted in ladder of stitches

crochet hook inserted in ladder of stitches

It was time to break out Aunt Honey’s trusty red crochet hook, and after what seemed like forever, I got the stitches worked back up.The yarn was a bit splitty so it was very slow going. I often did three stitches and ripped back two, up, back down, up, back down, until I finally got to the top and could replace the stitch back onto the needle.

column of stitches after laddering back up

column of stitches after laddering back up

So here it is with the job all done. As you can see, it’s going to take a bit of blocking for the stitches to get in shape. Wish me luck on that one… back to the knitting!

I’m Getting a Little Too Good at This

This morning before work I fixed some dropped stitches in my baby sweater.

baby sweater with dropped stitches again

baby sweater with dropped stitches again

I’m getting tired of this routine! It seems every few rows or so lately I’m having to do some major repair work. I’m pretty sure it has to do with my fatigue level, so I need to fix that, too. But for now, I’m focusing on the sweater. In the photo above you can see the extent of the damage. Not too bad, I guess, compared to some other stuff, but I do detest picking up yarnovers and trying to make them look right again.

picking up stitches from the back with a crochet hook

picking up stitches from the back with a crochet hook

The job called for using my favorite go-to metal crochet hook, a red, dime store variety that used to belong to John’s great aunt Honey. (I never remember whether Honey was Mary or Frances, but she was Honey to family, and her sister was Duddie. Mary or Frances, Frances or Mary? Wait, I’m digressing…)

Anyway, I figured the easiest thing to do first would be to pick up the column of knit stitches on the purl side, the stitches that offset the cable. This wasn’t too hard. I find that when I have lots of columns of stitches to pick up, I’m constantly flipping the work back and forth, because it’s always easiest for me to pick up stitches from wherever the knit side is. I’ve never quite been able to wrap my brain about pulling the loop the other way ’round the yarn to make a purl stitch, so it’s easier to for me to just flip the work over and over, so I’m always creating knit stitches. Hey, it’s slow, but it works.

sweater is fixed again

sweater is fixed again

And here is the sweater fixed once again, ready to continue with the regular knitting routine. Please wish me luck that the streak of dropping stitches is over for a while–I’d really rather be getting this project done soon.

More later!

Fixing a cable

cable stitches transferred to cable needle

cable stitches transferred to cable needle

The cable needles I was waiting for arrived yesterday so this morning before work I set out to try to fix the dropped stitches in my baby sweater. I tried to video the process but wouldn’t you know, the batteries died in the camera before I could get it all down. So, I got a few photos, but not too many. Sorry! I’ll try to do better at documenting my next major knitting F-up. K? So in this first shot here is the cable needle, holding the stitches of the dropped cable.

Next, I’m showing you the ladders created when I unraveled the cable stitches. I’m going to pretend that each strand is like a little ball of yarn and knit from it. I will use the strands from bottom to top. Picking up the bottom strand, knitting the cable stitches onto a second cable needle, then sliding the second needle so that the stitches are ready to be knit again on the next strand, etc. until all of the stitches are knit back up. I did have to do a cable cross on the third strand up from the bottom, but it was pretty ok.

here are the strands I\'m going to knit from

here are the strands I'm going to knit from

In the photo below, the cable is all re-knit and looking almost good as new. My eyelets on either side of the cable look a little wonky but I am going to try to not worry about it so much because I can’t quite figure out how to smooth it all over. Sigh. It’s not perfect but better than it was, for sure.

cable after being reknit

cable after being reknit

And here I am, happily knitting after having fixed the cable. Soon, I really will be able to put the sleeve stitches on holders and knit the rest of the body. I’m looking forward to being done with this sweater so I can move on to the matching hat and socks.

me, happily knitting on baby sweater after cable stitches are fixed

me, happily knitting on baby sweater after cable stitches are fixed

Until next time…