How many mistakes can one knitter make in one project? Let’s outline below.*
Remember Kayla’s Lace Cardigan? This is the project that my friend Julie picked as a birth gift for her daughter. Who will be turning 2 later this year. Anyhoo…
I’d started the cardi last year after translating it from Norwegian. Yeah. I got about 4″ into it when I found an error in the stitch counts that I couldn’t work out. I emailed the publisher and had to put it aside to work on something else. At some point I slipped it onto smaller needles so I could work other projects, and it languished in my knitting bin.
This year, once some health issues and timing and sleep and such were worked out, I knew that I needed to regain my focus and get back to work. It’s not fair that Kayla is almost 2. (Although lucky that I was always going to knit the size 2 size).
I’ve been working on it steadily for the last 3 weeks. The pattern is written by dimensions, not rows, as in “when the work reaches 10 cm work a decrease”, or “when work reaches 25 cm BO 2 sts at markers” and so on. I’d already worked out that my gauge gave me X rows per 2cm, so I had gone through my working copy and written down the row I should be at for each of the length notations.
Tuesday night I’d knew I’d have the whole body finished by the end of the night. The body is worked in one piece up to the armpits, then the right front, left front and back are worked separately. Early on in the evening I’d finished the right front, my first of the fronts. I eagerly laid it flat on my couch to measure to ensure I’d reached the required 44 cm.
It was 38 cm long. I couldn’t believe it. I measured from the bottom up to the first button hole which should have been 20 cm – it was. I remeasured the length – still 38 cm. What? Ok, I thought, it was my fault for measuring on a couch. I went and got a foam tile and my pins, laid it out and remeasured. Even with SEVERE blocking, there was no way it would reach 44 cm. I realized maybe I’d counted my gauge on the couch last year. Stupid me for not pinning it out! That will teach me. I patiently wrote out my current (supposed) gauge, then remeasured a section down towards the cast on and wrote down the number of rows per 10 cm that I got.
They were exactly the same. WTF??? How could I have the same gauge but not have it work out? I remeasured a 3rd time – spot on. Ok, enough of this. I’d had enough trying to figure out where I’d screwed up.
I would have to rip. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong, but I assumed I must have fudged a row count somewhere.
The easiest spot to rip back to and know what row I was on was the armpit row, since it had the easy-to-find bind offs. (Remember, it’s an allover lace pattern). I yanked out the needle, ripped back to the armpits (over 60 rows) and painstakingly reinserted the needle into 197 tiny lace sts, decs and YOs. I worked one row to reorient my stitches properly on the needle and pick up any accidentally dropped stitches, and had enough. My eyes were going squinty, my head hurt, and it was late. I went to bed.
Wednesday I kept picking it up to work on, but suddenly something new was bothering me. The bottom of the cardigan, from the cast on upwards, is worked in an allover eyelet lace pattern. Then after about 4″ of work, you insert markers where the armpits will eventually be, and a few times over another 8″ you decrease at the markers “keeping pattern going across”. Well apparently I’d interpreted that rather loosely. On rows where the pattern fit into the remaining number of sts on either side of the markers, I’d worked lace. On rows where they didn’t quite fit, I’d worked stockinette stitch. For some reason it never occurred to me to work the lace across the markers. Anyhow, looking down at my work I now had these unsightly panels under each armpit, with a mix of half-formed lace and stocking stitch. Not pretty, and not what I wanted for Kayla when she finally got her sweater.
It was staring me in the face- I had to rip back. I called Maaike and told her of my plans to rip. She convinced me to wait until I saw her later that night and not to rip in the heat of the moment. I managed to wait, but she agreed with me- it just didn’t look good.
Yesterday I brought the knitting down to my ball winder. I knew I’d be ripping back the better part of a ball and a half of sock yarn, and wanted it properly wound, not just wrapped around the ball band. I ripped, and ripped, originally intending on stopping just before the first set of bind offs. That way I could at least salvage my original 4″ of work.
In the end I just ripped the whole thing out. I figured that I must have made some mistake somewhere to wind up with such a difference in total height, so I would be better off just starting over from scratch at this point.
This afternoon I put Henri down for his nap and made a glass of tea and settled down with recordings of So You Think You Can Dance (both US and Canada) and my knitting. I cleared my mind and glanced at the pattern to see how many hundreds of stitches I needed to re-cast on.
My translated notes read: CO 197 sts w/3mm needle
I grabbed the needle I’d been working with (an Aero) and started to cast on. Then I thought “hmm…I don’t remember owning a 3 mm Aero needle”. I pulled out the needle slip bags from my larger knitting bag. There were 3 in there from way back when I’d been in the swatching stages. There was an empty 2.75mm Aero bag, an empty 3mm Addi Turbo bag, and a full 3.25mm Addi Turbo bag.
Anyone want to guess what screwed up my knitting? Did you pick it up already? I mentioned it way up there…I’d started the cardi last year after translating it from Norwegian. Yeah. I got about 4″ into it when I found an error in the stitch counts that I couldn’t work out. I emailed the publisher and had to put it aside to work on something else. At some point I slipped it onto smaller needles so I could work other projects, and it languished in my knitting bin.
I can’t believe it. I never put it back on the proper needles. My gauge, that I’d remeasured in the bottom 5″, was from my original knitting. So it was spot-on. Everything after that, everything I’d knit in the last 3 weeks had all been done on the 2.75mm Aero that I’d used as a stitch holder so I could use my 3mm for other projects. Had I left myself a note, had I even looked at my needle properly, I would have switched and by now had been done the entire body and be at least halfway through the sleeves. Had I even looked before ripping I could have ripped back to that 4″ point to at least save that much reknitting.
Sigh. I didn’t look. I didn’t notice. And now I’ve got an entire project to start over. At least I can restart my “start date” in Ravelry.
*Yes, I’m ignoring the loooong delay in posts, and all the missing posts on the boys and knitting in the last 2? months. They’ll come when they come- if I didn’t get this post up I would just not bother. To make up for it, here’s a mosiac of my boys, both at 8 months. Can you tell who is who?
October 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm
That really sucks. So sad to hear that you had to rip all the way back, and even sorrier to hear that it was a needle issue that messed up your guage. At least this way you noticed the lace “issue” before having finished the whole thing.
Those pictures of the boys are quite amazing. I think I’ve figured out which is which, but they sure do look a lot alike! Wonder if this will continue as they grow older.
October 4, 2009 at 12:02 am
It’s insane how “photocopied” your boys look! Though, for sure, Henri is the middle row left hand square and Jakob is middle row right hand square. – Wait I just refreshed and you change your picture to B&W? Well my answers are for the color pic, LOL
Oh no about the 2.75mm needle!!!! Though, that’s something that would happen to me, I’m sure…
Did you restart it, or are you choosing another pattern?? When’s her 2 birthday? Or did that already happen? Good luck!
October 4, 2009 at 3:43 pm
Ha! I spent the weekend mad at a pattern and ripped out a half-finished hat because it didn’t make sense… until I got to the end after redoing it. You are not alone.
PS feel better soon! ow ow ow!
October 5, 2009 at 11:29 am
Yup, I picked up on the booboo right from the getgo. This is going to become the cardi from Hell!
October 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm
I’d be laughing if this happened to someone else. Like the Harlot. It would make SENSE for her to have this much go wrong on one item- it’s blog fodder for the masses. For me it’s just…ugh…what now? LOL
October 6, 2009 at 9:24 am
OMG! and i usually complained about having to frog a project! After getting so much work done, to frog twice! I feel ya!! Can’t believe that!!!
At least YOU finally figure it out though lol!!! Time to buy some post it notes eh?????
I guess it would not be fair of me to answer the Jakob/Henri one!!! 🙂 It is amazing how much alike they are!!