Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Cowardly Knitter

Maybe it was writing it down, seeing the words "I can't do it" glaring out at me from the screen. Whatever it was, something came over me around two o'clock this afternoon and I gathered up the Fixation sock, a crochet hook, some tiny #1 Crystal Palace dpns, and sat down on the sofa in the living room, in the bright natural light, and set about dismantling The Sock.

Have you ever tried unraveling Kitchenered stitches? It's a trip and a half. Dark stitches are a major pain to begin with but dark grafted stitches will have you pulling out your hair in short order. But I stuck with it and then began ripping back to just before I started the toe decreases.

And that's when the fun started. Stitches from #2 needles are tiny. Very tiny. And disobedient. They shifted, turned, practically somersaulted under the rows beneath them in order to escape me. I didn't worry about stitch orientation. That's easy enough to correct when you're knitting. (Bless Annie Modesitt for giving a name--Combination Knitting--to what I do.) The idea was to get the damned things on the needles and worry about the niceties later.

So first I gathered them up haphazardly on the dpns then whipped out the camera to capture this glorious moment in my knitting history.

Then it was time to get serious. I pulled out my Addi Turbo #2/40" and started slipping the stitches purlwise onto the needle. That, to my relief, was problem-free.

One hour and ten minutes after I began picking apart my lovingly grafted toe, I was back in business. I knitted a round, readjusting stitch orientation as I went, picking up the two dropped stitches I discovered along the way, and found myself back miraculously where I had left off last night when I began decreasing for the toe two inches sooner than I should have!

The photo on the right is after that first re-establishing row:

I think I'm now at the point where I should begin decreasing for the toe but I'm not going to do one single SSK or K2Tog until R tries The Sock on again.

So today I made my knitterly bones. I did something I believed was far beyond my capabilities and it actually worked. (Did I mention that in my past life as a knitter ripping back was against my religion?) Looking back I think I was your basic Knitting Coward. I lived in fear of dropped stitches or counting errors because either could mean the waste of weeks of hard work and effort. One dropped stitch and an entire sweater was ruined forever because I didn't have either the guts or the skills to step back, re-evaluate, and repair.

Yarn is forgiving. Knitting is forgiving. (Okay, maybe lace knitting isn't forgiving but that's something else again.) Why shouldn't the knitter be forgiving too? To paraphrase The Beatles, "There's nothing you can do that can't be undone." And redone better.

Now onto the toe decreases, Part Deux.


--originally posted to Wicked Splitty at 7/25/2005 10:33:00 PM


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Yay, Barbara! I'm impressed with your tenacity and refusal to accept defeat (de-feet?). I used to be a knitting coward too but I'm learning to love ripping out.

The one thing I've learned is not to rip out the moment I find the mistake; I'm too frustrated and irritated with myself and I don't have the patience to do it right. I put the knitting down for a few hours or even overnight and come to it fresh and without my knickers in a twist. That seems to help.

11:21 PM  

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