Going, Going, Gone

It’s a good thing today is National I Love Yarn Day, because you really have to love yarn when you put several weeks into knitting something only to realize you made a really big mistake.

That happened to me when I was knitting a hooded sweater coat last spring. I thought I was almost done, but when I tried attaching the sleeves it was clear I’d made a mistake in the ribbing. I dreaded the thought of frogging (a knitter’s term for ripping out stitches) 10-1/2 inches worth of knitting—and both sleeves—that I set the project aside all spring and summer. But once cooler weather reignited the urge to knit, I told myself I couldn’t start any new projects until I finish this coat. (Okay, so I made an exception to make something for my sister’s birthday. But that only took a couple days.)

Two weeks ago I got up the courage to frog my work. It wasn’t as painful as I thought, since the yarn is a bulky roving and doesn’t unravel as easily as smoother yarns.

Going….going….gone:

IMG_0740

Going...

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See all those live stitches? The first thing I did was slip a lifeline in. A lifeline is just a piece of yarn in a contrasting color that helps keep the stitches from raveling. I use them a lot when knitting lace or any complex patterns, so when (not if) I catch a mistake I can restart without having to re-knit an entire thing.

Threading the lifeline:

IMG_0745

Lifeline firmly in place:

IMG_0746

Worst of all, there were three sections I had to unravel and re-knit: the right side, the back (which is the big stretch above) and the left side. Each section is knitted separately, which is why I really needed the lifelines. Finally, I slipped the work back onto my circular needles:

IMG_0747

It took nearly a week of evening knitting to re-knit it all. Then I realized I’d decreased on the wrong edge of one side, so I had to re-re-knit a couple inches of that. After that, I realized the larger back section was too short. So my next step will be frogging about three rows, knitting several more, then decreasing. Again.

Did I mention the sleeves use the same unusual ribbing pattern? With most ribbing patterns if you knit a stitch on one side, you purl it on the other. But this is a staggered ribbing—to make it easier to match the pattern when you attach the sleeves—so I’ll have to stay on my toes when increasing and decreasing if I want the pattern to stay in check.

Otherwise you’ll soon be reading another post about why it’s lucky I love yarn enough to rip things out and start over.

What are some of your biggest knitting blunders, and how did you fix them?

 

 

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About Paula Hendrickson

I'm a full-time freelance writer with an addiction to yarn, cooking and all kinds of crafty things. I come from a long line of creative and entrepreneurial types on both sides of the family, making creativity almost like competitive pursuit.

Posted on October 17, 2015, in I Love Yarn Day, Knitting, mistakes, yarn and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great tips, and I’m so glad you also make mistakes… wait, that isn’t exactly what I mean… sigh… I’ll bet you understand.

    • Paula Hendrickson

      I make LOTS of mistakes. The important part is learning from them. Like when I started the sleeves (again)…about 16 rows in I realized all of my increases were on one side. Why? I misread the pattern. I had to frog all of that, too. But once I got on track I created a chart so I could keep the pattern on track and also wouldn’t forget any increases. So far, so good!

  2. learning from mistakes in life as well as knitting 😉

  3. Paula Hendrickson

    …and in writing, too! Like “ravel” and “unravel” – are they opposite sounding words that are actually interchangeable like “flammable” and “inflammable”? I hope other writers and knitters weigh in on this one. As a writer who knits, I need to know.

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