Revisiting an old Friend

Last night I went to Knit Night at Clever Knits in Vista again. In preparation, I pulled out my Hemlock Ring Blanket and frogged the very last project I’d been working on back when I was twisting my knit stitches. I think I may finally be over it (knitting wrong thru so many projects) by the time I’ve finished this blanket. Why, you ask, is it going to take me until I’m done? Why not be over it right now? Well, because the difference in the appearance of the product, when knit the correct way, is so stunningly great that I can’t help stopping every so often and marveling at how much better it looks now. The center isn’t nearly as puckered, and the spots where I’m gathering three stitches together lay in a neat line, one above the next.

While I was at Knit Night, a lady asked about what I was making, and I replied that this was the fourth time I’d knit this pattern, and still had nary a blanket to show for my efforts. I explained further, and was shocked to find that two others, sitting very near me, had had a similar experience. One had twisted both her knit and purl stitches, and (although she now knits the right way) argued that a twisted stitch was a perfectly valid stitch. True, I replied, but only if that’s what you were meaning to do. The other lady did exactly what I’d done (twisted the knits, but not the purls), and had likewise banished the sweater she’d been working on at the time of her discovery to a bag in the closet. “I’m still angry with it,” she said. Funny, that’s exactly how I’d felt about the FLS!

The second lady was wearing a beautiful shawl that she’d made, and was working on another project, so it looks like she’s embraced the idea that just because you didn’t do something right when you started, you can still do it right later. You know, it’s that whole “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” lesson. She was very nice, and I’m glad that she kept at it, otherwise I’d never have met her (although I still didn’t remember to introduce myself or ask for her name).

I’ve made it to the charted part of the Hemlock Ring, and I think I’ll do one pattern row along with the four rows of knit a day. This will be easy at first, but once I get up toward the end, it might be a bit of a stretch. According to my (current, optimistic) schedule, I’ll finish it by September 2.

In between rows on the blanket, I’ll continue working on the Irish Hiking Scarf. Here it is, with the last of the yarn. I’m almost done!

Unraveling my Nemesis

I see it as a sign of my growth as a person and a knitter that this evening, as I sat on my bed unknitting my very first sweater (started way back in March), that I didn’t cry. Not even once. Heck, my eyes didn’t even well up as I sat there, pulling out row after row after row and winding my sweater back into (many) balls of yarn.

I took the band-aid approach, and ripped back the sleeves and the bottom edge before I realized I should probably document this potentially psychologically damaging undertaking. That way, when my husband got home and found me blubbering in the midst of what seemed like a mile of lovely yarn, he and the doctors could use the photographic evidence to piece together just what led to my demise.

Here we are a little further in the unknitting process. At this point, I was cursing the fact that I’d knit the sweater with two balls of yarn at once, doing two rows with one, then two rows with the other in order to spread out the color variations a bit.  Aside from the inevitable tangles of string, knitting this way was not a problem. Unknitting it, however, proved to provide just the right amount of frustration to take my mind off the three wasted weeks of work that had been lost.

Nothing but yoke. Ha! You could say that, at  this point, I had egg on my face (get it, nothing but yoke (yolk)?). Or, if you have a proper sense of humor, you could just skip it and observe the growing number of yarn-balls in the background. Horrifying, yet it grabs your attention and holds it, much like a train wreck, would you say? Admit it, you’re thinking, “Better her than me.”

And here we are. Back at the beginning.

The whole time I was doing this, I kept thinking that if I’d had just a little more yarn, and if the lady at the yarn store hadn’t mentioned the fact that my knitting was arse-backwards, I would have had this sweater done months ago, and could have avoided freezing to death in my office.  But now, I’m looking forward to making a more beautiful, if only because it will have been knit correctly, sweater. Although no longer my first sweater, this project will always have a special place in my heart.

Featured here is the February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne, (undone) in Araucania Toconao Multi (which, although a lovely smooshy yarn, is a pain in the butt to match hank to hank)

Ahhhh…Much Better

Ok. It’s been a while, but I’m back. Two weeks ago, on Thursday, I experienced an ego-crushing blow that made me pause and examine whether or not I was worthy to continue calling myself a knitter (note the lower case “k”).

See, I went to a LYS to get some advice on how to weave in the ends of cotton yarn, as I was nearing the end of the Mabel sweater and didn’t want to have to wait after I’d cast off that final stitch to block it and see what my creation looked like after blocking. The lady I spoke to gave me the information I needed, then complimented my fine knitting. Then, she tipped my world upside down.

“What an interesting pattern. I’ve never seen one that had you twist all of the stitches.”
IMG_0229
Huh?

I broke the news to her that I had no idea what she was referring to, and a worried look crossed her face. She had me sit down at the table and take a deep breath. Then she handed me a sample and asked me to purl a stitch.

“Oh good. It’s best that it’s not your purls.”

Huh?^2

Then she had me knit a stitch.

“Ah. See, you’re wrapping your yarn around the wrong way. Look at your sweater. See how the stitches aren’t lining up quite right?”

Oh shit.

I took a few days off of knitting to consider my position. Mabel, nearing completion, was not the only project I was working on. The Hemlock Ring Throw was still on the needles, as were the January installment from the Rockin’ Sock Club. To make matters worse, my February Lady Sweater was still packed away as well, awaiting my final decision on how to get 4 more yards of yarn that actually match the rest of what I’d used.

All of those beautiful (to me, prior to that fateful Thursday, at least) projects. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve recovered. Mabel got ripped back completely (I nearly cried) and re-knit properly. It looks SO much better now.

Much Better!
Much Better!

The January RSC socks were removed from their needles and likewise frogged.

February Lady is still in timeout. I’m recovered, but still stinging a little. Maybe I’ll undo her next week.