Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Pasta of Chagrin

Hold the sauce, please.

I think I've mentioned how much the Colinette Wigwam yarn, in its unknit state, looks like linguine to me. See what I mean? It looks ready to go into a big pot of boiling salted water, there to soften and, in minutes, be ready to eat. Rather appetizing, really.

Yes, it does look like pasta. And I've now acquired the knowledge, I'm sorry to say, that it looks never more so than when a whole pile of it has been knit and ripped out.

In fact, it strongly resembles what, in the 1980s, at the height of the nouvelle cuisine affectation, might have been called a tangled nest of pasta. Here, let me see how well I can speak that dialect:
Perched atop a tangled nest of pasta, tinted with essence of pomegranate and squid ink, is a single perfectly poached succulent morsel of lobster. A luscious truffle reduction films the toothsome strands, and the whole exquisite composition is lapped in a beurre blanc flavored with tarragon flowers picked at their dewy peak just before dawn.
Bon appetit!

But let's get back to the knitting. I was flying along, happily knitting my second Crossed Laces tank, this time in Toscana, the colorway of my dreams. I had most of the back done, up to the armpits, and was ready to begin the armhole shaping. I cast off the specified number of stitches, and then counted the stitches remaining on the needles, for I have learned to be careful about these things. I glanced down at the instructions to see how many there should be. That's funny, thought I, I seem to have more stitches left than I cast on in the first place. That can't be right. I'd better count again. So I did. Again and again. I think I must have counted eight times in all.

It always came out the same. Something really must be wrong. I must have made a mistake and not cast on the right number of stitches in the first place. Oh, no! A mistake all the way back at the beginning. I could just live with it, but I didn't want to. Since I'd already made this tank once before, I knew just how I wanted it to fit. There was no help for it. I was going to have to rip the whole thing out and start over.

OK. Well, I wasn't happy about it, but this sort of thing happens once in a while. I would just have to bear up resolutely and get on with it. I needed to rip it out right down to the first cast-on stitch, and that's what I did. I'm a grown-up. I can take my medicine. If it has to be redone, that's all there is to it. But is there any feeling worse than sitting there among the wreckage, with the prospect of having to redo all that work, because of a mistake made at the very beginning?

Why, yes there is. There's the feeling you get -- seconds later -- when you go back to the instructions, disconsolate but resigned, to cast on all over again, and you notice... that you'd forgotten about the increase row that comes right after the edging. That you were supposed to have more stitches left after beginning the armhole shaping than you originally cast on. That there was nothing wrong with all that work you just ripped out. That you now have to redo it all for no reason whatsoever.

I really have to credit myself with exemplary self-control, at that point, for not having sent up an Arrrggh! that would have rent the heavens and registered on the Richter scale. I did, however, heave quite a few pained sighs in the direction of world's-most-patient-husband, looking for sympathy and recognition of my forbearance. He, however, remained unimpressed. "You know you love it," he said. Well, for a moment there, I wasn't so sure, myself.

Of course I got right back to work on it, grumbling under my breath. When I have to rip back because of a mistake, I can't stand to let it lie. I have to knit single-mindedly and implacably, maybe even a little grimly, until I've caught back up to where I was before. Stubborn, I admit. And this time, it was several days' work I'd lost.

So it's taken an exceptionally implacable weekend, but I've caught back up and then some. I've finished the back and started the front.

Happy days are here again.


Bess said...

Oh you know I've been there. I feel your pain.

But what was the mistake and where was it?

cathy said...


That's the worst part! There was no mistake anywhere, from beginning to end. I just looked at the wrong number in the instructions and *thought* I'd made a mistake. So I unraveled the whole thing for nothing! But live and learn. :)

Robin said...

Toscana is my favorite!! I have eight skeins of that colorway in another type of ribbon. Really like the stitch pattern. Know what you mean about wanting it JUST right!