Thursday, December 6, 2007

Scarf's Bane

Oh, crochet cast-on, bane of my knitting existence! What torment is hidden in these few words: "cast off at the same tension you cast on."

When last we met, I was resolutely re-knitting the first border of the striped border scarf from Victorian Lace Today, after making the painful but necessary (I felt) decision to rip out every last stitch. Why? Because once I cast off neatly on the far side of the border, the two sides didn't match. The cast-off was perhaps a bit too tight, which could be rectified, but the cast-on edge, done using a technique I hadn't tried before, looked sloppy by comparison.

It wasn't easy, but I felt I had to tear out all that work rather than let it rest that way. I muttered a few imprecations and ripped. Casting on again with a smaller crochet hook, I attempted to pull each stitch over the knitting needle and through the last loop a little more tightly than before. It was awkward work, as the two tools bumped against each other, but I thought I'd done better. I buckled down and made up the lost ground, finally casting off loosely with a larger needle and -- arrgh! -- it doesn't look so different from before.

Now, mind you, I am not a quitter. I can grit my teeth and start over yet again if I must. But to do all that and still wind up with hardly any discernible difference? I just don't know. And how much more re-knitting can this yarn take before it starts to look tired?

So which is more important? Striving again for neater workmanship, against doubtful odds, or avoiding further wear and tear on the silk? Maybe before deciding, I'll try practicing that cast-on a few times on another section of the yarn to see if I can do any better. Gee, maybe I could have thought of that last time!

On the bright side, I went ahead and tried a few rows of the simple pattern for the main body. It's easy and nice-looking, so at least that part shouldn't give me any headaches.

And let's keep things in perspective. This morning I called 911 for the first time. Driving on the highway, I saw a car swerve violently to avoid some debris. The driver lost control and the car spun around in the road. Thank goodness, traffic was light, and the car didn't hit anything, but it came to rest facing backwards in the middle lane. The woman sat there with her head pressed back against the seat, all right, I think, but shaken, drained, terrified.

I can deal with a little knitting crisis.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I'm glad that woman wasn't hurt. Glad you were there to call 911 for her.

Here's a dumb question -- please forgive me if I insult your intelligence or knitting skills, but, have you tried the long tail cast-on for the scarf? I've found it makes a fairly even edge, although you have to remember that your next row after the cast-on is a wrong-side (purl side) row.

When I first learned to knit, I only knew the beginner's over-the-thumb cast-on, and when I tried to knit a 2x2 ribbed scarf, the bottom edge was just too loose and horrible, even with a forgiving springy merino. That's when I taught myself the long-tail cast-on (thank you,

Maybe that, coupled with a looser cast-off (that's still a challenge for me, but I think WendyKnits has a good one she uses for her toe-up socks), the two sides would then look more even to your eye....

My unsolicited $0.02.