Monday, September 26, 2005

Moments that make you just wanna cry…or cuss…

So the sweater I was making for Eldest.


I apparently have some kind of hex on me when it comes to the necks of her sweaters. This was someone else’s pattern, which I followed precisely. Even when I said to myself, “I do not understand how in the hell this is supposed to work…fold over to the wrong…and then overlap the…but how do you…and why in the world would you ever put a seam in the very front of a sweater, it’ll show and I can’t imagine it will look any good…” (I don’t have a picture of this one – I don’t know what happened to the book it was in, and all I have left of it is the photocopy of the instructions I carried around in my knitting bag SEVEN YEARS AGO when I knit this for a nephew!) (But it was a very cute sweater, I distinctly remember it being adorable…)

I was tempted as I started this neckband to say, “Never mind” and just do it one of the seventeen thousand ways I know and have done successfully in the past. Like, say, a nice high turtleneck with a soft flaring to make it an easy fit over her head and a non-strangle-hold embrace around her neck.

But no. And I blame Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for this, because she pointed out in her book At Knit’s End that nobody has ever been lethally harmed by their knitting and that ergo, being afraid of trying something new in knitting (like, say, steeks or lace) is a little silly.

So when confronted with collar directions I didn’t understand and which seemed in my opinion to be destined to come to no good end, I said to myself, said I, “Self! You just stop that! You keep being fearful about trying things you don’t understand in knitting! You will do this neckband per instructions and I’m sure it will become plain to you in the end…”

Well, it did become plain to me in the end.

This designer is a closet knitter-hater, that’s what. The directions for the last few rows went something like this: cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of each row four times, then cast ON 3 stitches at the beginning of each row four times, do three more rows ‘plain’, then fold over and cross the right side over the left side and stitch down.


It didn’t work. First of all, it fitted together something like a puzzle, with overlapping pieces that were obviously meant to be stitched back together to make a whole (why, I cannot begin to guess), which resulted in a rather large lump in the front under the hideous seam that couldn’t be hidden due to the fact that all the casting on and off prevented me from simply cleverly seaming together in a manner that made it appear to be simple ribbing.

What I then had was a nasty lumpy ugly can’t-hide-it funky seam – right in front. RIGHT IN FRONT! See, now, if I’m doing a collar that is going to have an unsightly seam, I put it in the back where at least you have some chance it will be hidden by hair. Or, I might do something funky and/or decorative with the seam, add a little picot edging or something that makes people go, “Huh, what a funky decorative seam…she must have needed to hide something there!”

It did not look decorative, or funky, or cool, or any other superlative in the realms of Good.

It looked stupid. Not just handmade, but handmade by someone who sucks at knitting.

But wait! It gets better!!

I said to myself, said I, “Self! That looks really stupid! We’re going to just take that out and do the neck again, and I don’t want to hear any whining from you about how you don’t feel like it! Suck it up and walk it off, girl, and start frogging!!” (Frog stitch: when you tear out your knitting to start over, so named because as you pull the yarn it makes a noise like this: Rip-it! Rip-it!)

So I start frogging.

Honest to Dog, I do not know how, but somehow I managed to break or mangle or otherwise mess up the yarn along the way such that I now have about three hundred loose ends, and the front of the damned sweater is ruined. I have not been able to figure out a way to fix it that doesn’t involve basically reknitting the last six inches (or so) of the front. The back also suffered some minor damages, but I was able to easily pick up and reknit those little sections. See, I’m pretty good at fixing even cables when a stitch drops and rushes down fifteen rows before you notice.

SO NOW, if I want it to look right (and I do), I’m going to have to unseam the shoulders (a pain in and of itself – if I mess up the shoulder on the back, I will be well and truly pissed and buying my liquor at Costco to overcome my emotional issues!), then rip out the sweater all the way down to about an inch below the neck shaping (ack!) and reknit it.


…when all is reknitted and ready to go…

…I am going to say to myself, “Self! Ignore learning something new – go with a classic high turtleneck for this bad boy!”…

You know what else?

I’m still scared of steeks. Thank God there is more than enough un-steeked knitting to do in this wild world to allow me to avoid steeks for the rest of my natural life.

Because they scare me.

They really, really do…

{grumble} fold over to the wrong side {grouse} I’ve got your wrong side RIGHT HERE and furthermore {rip-it, rip-it, rip-it} putting a seam in the front of a collar and another thing…!

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