This June I will be fifty years old. When I am fifty, I will have been knitting for forty-six years, and I have just done a classic dumb-knitter thing, and I want you to know that if you were hoping that sometime soon you would stop doing the same thing, you should probably give up.
I just finished the sweetest little sweater for Elliot. It’s the Elwood sweater – re-jigged colour-wise to match all the hats I knit this Christmas. Looks great, right?
Wrong. It does not fit him, it is too small. I have to pull the whole thing out. I think I can just go back as far as the divide for the sleeves, work some more increases and carry on, but I have to pull out the sleeves, the collar and button band, the body from the divide… and here is the worst part.
It is my fault. It is completely my fault. It is entirely, 100% totally my fault in about ten ways, which I have listed below, so that the record is complete.
1. I didn’t do a swatch. I can’t explain why not, I just let it go, like a passing and irrelevant thought. A bubble I let float away on a breeze.
2. Once I decided not to do a gauge swatch, I also decided that even though the gauge for this sweater is 18 stitches to 10cm, and even though I have never, ever gotten that gauge with this yarn and a size 4mm needle – that this was indeed the needle I should use.
3. I made that decision, knowing that it would result in a fabric that I liked, but not a gauge that would work, and started knitting anyway – believing that it might still work, even though I absolutely knew it would not. I did not suspect it wouldn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t, and yet I hoped that this was the time that everything would change, for no reason what so ever, even though the world never, ever works that way.
4. I began knitting, and knew the gauge was wrong, and the sweater would be too small, but thought I might just do a few extra increases to make it work.
5. Then I didn’t do them. I didn’t forget either. I just decided to skip it because #3.
6. I had a feeling again, once I divided for the sleeves and body, that it wasn’t working out. As a matter of fact, I applied forty-six years of experience and knew it wasn’t working out, but I decided to ignore that feeling in the hopes that magic dust would settle on the sweater and a unicorn would spit on it and a knitting miracle that has never before happened to me would finally occur.
7. It did not, and despite that, I decided to knit the button band and the collar before the sleeves, just to make it harder to rip it out if the unicorn thing didn’t happen.
8. As I was knitting the first sleeve I knew it was too skinny. I knew my gauge was wrong. I knew all of those things and I felt pretty bad about knitting the sleeve, but I told myself that all of these problems were probably going to block right out, so I knit the second tiny stupid too small sleeve.
9. Then I wove in all the ends.
10. Then I blocked it, and it didn’t block out.You know why? Because nothing ever blocks out. Nothing ever has. The first time you think “oh dear… well, that will probably block right out” you should immediately rip back, because that isn’t a thing. That’s not what blocking does, and I know that, and I teach that, and I have written that down and I literally have a tee-shirt emphasizing this and I honestly can’t tell you what the hell was wrong with me from the word go on this sweater because despite points 1-10 this morning I texted Megan and asked her to give me Elliot’s measurements because you know… BABIES SHRINK ALL THE TIME, and when he was as big or bigger than he was the last time I asked I actually got upset and shocked that this sweater is too small.
The only redeeming thing I can possibly say about this episode is that at least I didn’t sew the buttons on. I hate me.