Can you even do it

Every once in a while I get into a thing with my knitting. I don’t know what happens, but it’s like I knit like an idiot and can’t pull my head out of my arse, and I either make mistake after mistake or generate problem after problem and I can’t seem to stop. I’ve started this pretty thing, which is Miralda’s triangular shawl from Nancy Bush’s new book, Knitted Lace of Estonia (which is very beautiful indeed) and after hours and hours and hours of knitting…

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I have FOUR ROWS. Four. (4) Now, this pattern isn’t hard. It isn’t even tricky. It’s not even rough to get started on, it’s just that it seems like any knitting mojo I might possess went straight out the window when I started it and dudes, I can’t get it back. At all. I am knitting like an idiot. Stupid, stupid rookie mistakes that I know how to prevent, and aren’t anyway. It’s the most frustrating thing ever to be screwed by your knitting and not even have anyone to blame but yourself. Here’s the timeline:

Monday: I cast on hundreds of stitches, then read the part where the pattern clearly states that the cast on should be accomplished with the yarn held double. I rip it out.

Monday night: I cast on hundreds of stitches, start the first chart, then realize that I should have stopped knitting with the doubled yarn, like the pattern clearly states. I rip it out.

Tuesday morning. I cast on hundreds of stitches with the yarn held double, drop the extra yarn and knit a row, and then realize I should have started the chart like the pattern clearly states. I rip it out.

Tuesday afternoon: I cast on hundreds of stitches with the yarn held double, drop the extra yarn and start the chart, then realize that I have not cast on the number of stitches clearly stated in the pattern, and have actually transposed the numbers. I have 313, not 331. I rip it out.

Tuesday night: I cast on hundreds of stitches with the yarn held double, drop the extra yarn and start the chart, then realize that although I have been aiming for 331 stitches, I have failed counting 101 and have a number that is not 331, or 313, or any number that makes sense at all. I rip it out.

Tuesday night still (after beer o’clock): I cast on hundreds of stitches with the yarn held double, drop the extra yarn and start the chart, then realize that I have ripped and reused this yarn so many times that it totally looks like the dogs breakfast and is crap. I rip it out and toss the mangled yarn.

Tuesday night still: I cast on hundreds of stitches, with the yarn held double, drop the extra yarn like I’m supposed to, smugly start the chart (which I have knit so many times now that it is likely burned into my memory for all time, likely replacing useful memory storage like where I put my keys) and knit several rows (also smugly – for I have finally got this thing licked) only to realize, when I have thousands of stitches knit that I am absolutely knitting on the wrong needles and have nothing even vaguely resembling gauge, which wouldn’t matter because damn it, how does a shawl not fit, but understand that knitting yarn loosely takes more yarn and I don’t have an unlimited amount of yarn and that’s another good reason to get gauge and damn it…. I rip it out and go to bed.

Wednesday morning: I fetch up smaller needles, I cast on hundreds of stitches. I recount many times and feel sure that I have 331. I place markers every 50 stitches to ensure that I have 331. I count to 50 six times and 31 once. I confirm with a calculator that this is actually 331. I recount to ensure that I have not made a mistake.

Then I rip it all out because I FORGOT TO HOLD THE YARN DOUBLE.

Wednesday afternoon: Using the smaller needles, I cast on 331 stitches with the yarn held double, placing markers every 50 stitches six times and use the calculator and check a whole bunch of times, drop the extra yarn and cut it so that I can’t forget that the next row is the yarn alone, and feel really, really good about the idea that I have actually managed not to knit like an idiot for maybe…. fifteen whole minutes in a row. I celebrate by declaring it beer o’clock, work for a while and then go to the corner store and photocopy the charts so that I can mark them up within an inch of their lives and maybe prevent further knit trauma, and leave for knit-night.

Wednesday evening: I knit the first row of the chart, and complain a little bit to the knit-night ladies that this row is really hard because the chart starts right away, right after the cast on and that makes double decreases sort of rough and is a little unusual. I persevere however, and do not complain (much) until I get to the end of the row and have the wrong number of stitches left over. I curse violently, and recount the stitches to make sure that I had the right number.

I do. That means I made a mistake with the chart, and I carefully scrutinize that chart, which is clearly marked “Right Side” for about 10 minutes before the sick realization comes over me that if there is a “right side” there is likely a “left side” and slowly, like in a horror movie, rifle my papers until I discover the thing. The world jiggles a little as I realize that I am going to have to rip it back out. The knit-night crowd asks me what’s wrong and I say I don’t want to talk about it… but then I do. At length.

I start trying to tink back the stitches to avoid another rip, which I fear might take the will to knit right with it. After dropping several stitches back into the cast on edge, generally screwing up and knitting like I am stunned as a bat, I cram the whole thing into my bag, fish out sock yarn and knit some nice quiet 2×2 rib, just to remember I’m okay at this.

Wednesday night (back at home). I rip the whole thing out, perhaps aggressively and with some language unbecoming to a knitter of my age and station. I toss the now mangled yarn and try again. I cast on 331 stitches (quadruple checking) with the yarn held double. I drop the extra yarn and start the “right side” of the chart. I curse and swear about having to start the chart right after the cast on without even a row of knit to make things nice and when I am halfway across, it occurs to me that this might be a good time to double check Nancy’s instructions, and that’s when I see it. “knit two rows” before you start the chart. Clear as day. Right there. Totally right there. Missed it because I was working from the photocopies and didn’t look at the book. Rookie mistake. Bonehead mistake. Totally lame mistake. I rip it out, maybe weep a few hot tears of fury, try really hard to remember if I even like knitting and start over.

This time, all goes well. I cast on 331, yarn double. I knit two rows, yarn single. I start the “right side” of the chart, mark the centre stitch and knit the “left side” of the chart. I even get the right side on the right and the left side on the left. All goes well until I get to the end of the row and have stitches left over, but do have 331 stitches, which would be grand except there is decreases and it should be less, but I have no idea where it went wrong and I don’t know if I even care and for a terrible moment there in the middle of the night I may have thought about the fact that I have Nancy Bush’s phone number and maybe I might just hold her personally accountable for my pain even though it isn’t her fault at all and that’s not why she gave me her number and that if I have to rip this out again, which I TOTALLY DO, because the four rows (4) that I have knit are arse, and now I am going to hurt someone, and seriously HOW HARD CAN IT BE.

Then I tossed it in a basket, watched a rerun of Law and Order drank two glasses of wine, thought about chewing the yarn into little bits…and went the hell to bed.

I am now knitting a garter stitch scarf in an attempt to protect my sanity and the lives of those around me.

Fear me.