Monday, February 4, 2008

Round up the Usual Setbacks

Knit it, Sam. Knit it again.

The Pine Bark sweater is proceeding apace. But not without its share of reversals.

I got to spend a goodly amount of time on Pine Bark this weekend. Some of it going... backwards. I think I have yet to make a project where I knit straight through from beginning to end without ripping or picking back or otherwise re-doing some significant fraction of the work. This may be because, as far as I can remember, I never really went through much of a rectangle-knitting stage; scarves, washcloths, the kind of thing where you just knit along straightforwardly from start to end.

Instead, I jumped pretty quickly into hats and sweaters. Hence, messing up on the tricky parts, figuring out that I messed up and where, and ripping back to correct mistakes has been pretty much a way of life. For the most part, I take it philosophically. Oh, I might gnash my teeth and throw off sparks for a while, but I don't mean anything by it. I figure it's all part of the process that has to be gotten through to get to the eventual triumphant finish.

Adding a little extra spice to the kinds of mistakes I can make following somebody else's directions are the even more kinds that come from making up a pattern of my own. There has been a usual-sized helping of those in the Pine Bark sweater. Aside from row-or-two-at-a-time mess-ups on the stitch patterns at the edges, there have been bigger ones. I mentioned earlier that I found I had miscalculated the back neck width (not allowing for the width of the edging on both sides of the neck) causing one moderate bout of ripping and reknitting.

That dealt with, I got to work knitting my way up the front, and had quite a good time at it. I made it halfway up the placket for the notched neckline and then decided it was going to hang a little too low on the chest. So I had another cathartic session of ripping and reknitting to place it half an inch higher. All that work for a half-inch change? Yes; it will make a definite improvement. I'm certain of it. Pretty sure. Well, I hope, anyway.

Then I made it halfway up the decreases shaping the neckline and realized I didn't have enough stitches left on the needles for the shoulder line -- already -- and I wasn't done decreasing. Uh-oh. That couldn't be good. Hmmm. How could it have happened? I studied the knitting and my drawing, meticulously plotted out on graph paper, to figure out what went wrong. Oh yes, it was meticulous, a nice curved neck with little stepped decreases... stepping their way down from the wrong number of stitches! So back again I ripped, to the top of the placket where the curve begins. No matter. It's all part of the forward progress. Remain calm.

Finally, I got the front done. At least, I think it's done. At least, whatever mistakes are lurking there are undiscovered as yet. So I'm now barreling my way through the first sleeve. I did find mistakes in my increase calculations, but, cleverly, I managed to spot them before the actual knitting started. I knit a couple of rows after the cuff on the wrong needle size, but correcting that was kid stuff. Hardly took any forbearance at all.

Now all that remains of sleeve number one is a couple more acres of dun-colored stockinette. I really don't mind long patches of stockinette, though, since I can comfortably knit it without looking. That lets me knit along watching TV, or with a banjo on my knee, er, laptop on my lap.

But you can bet I'm counting my rows and increases with narrow-eyed suspicion. Otherwise, who knows what they could get up to?

1 comment:

Bess said...

Yes - acres of stockinette stitching - so soothing, unless the yearn is splitty. Then you have to watch it like a hawk.

I've never minded ripping, so long as I know how to do it right after I've ripped. And of course, you did write down the new fit calculation changes as you made them, right?