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…


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.

637 thoughts on “Can you even do it

  1. been there. I sympathise. But, also I apologise…because I laughed my ass off πŸ™‚
    oh and there’s no way I’m first surely?

  2. Good thing you stubborn like leetle mule. Me, I’m grateful. Did class handouts at the last minute, hit Print — and the printer’s hopelessly jammed.
    The out loud laugh at the end of Wednesday morning was sorely needed.

  3. This is clearly payback for doing such a spectacular job on the sock summit. You’d probably better not cast on anything complicated until the class lists, costs, hotel lists and reservation date have all been posted. Maybe not until mid-August, probably.

  4. I would have switched to another project in fury and frustration after the first ripping out of 331 stitches. Where do you come up with all this perseverance?

  5. Refreshing to know that I’m not the only to screw up multiple times starting a shawl, but trudge on anyway in what becomes a quest for triumph over a usually simple, but astonishingly powerful pattern!

  6. OH MY GOD… funny, but how awful!!!! I don’t think I would have lasted as long as you did before harming some “unlucky” soul who just happens to sit in the chair next to me and then hear him hollering “I DIDN’T DO anything wrong” followed by “OUCH”, why did you do that????
    Just too funny!
    Joanie R. ps: sorry for your troubles!

  7. you are just too funny, thanks for the shot of real a real life knitter.
    If I was drinking something I would have had it all over the screen,

  8. The only worse thing would be to go through all that on one’s own pattern. Which I have done, but, fortunately, not with quite so many stitches.
    (Why would one cast on with the yarn doubled?)

  9. With every new rip, I found myself cringing for you. I love, love, love that book and have been thinking about casting on one of the shawls. Maybe I’ll do this one since I already know how it starts….

  10. Sometimes the yarn gods wish to ensure they have recovered all excess hubris … sometimes they are just plain evil. You have one ferociously evil yarn god sniggering just behind you …I suggest you take a stake to the yarn and photocopy. Then drink some more wine and do some more of your wonderful spinning. Sending a large hug.

  11. Your Mojo might suck (at the moment), but you deserve an A+ for Tenacity!
    Been there, done that. Only funny when it’s happening to someone else.

  12. Bless you. You have had a hard time. You deserve some cookies, really. Nice ones, too. The ones that come in little paper cups to keep them seperate and in one piece.

  13. I commend you for causing no grievous bodily harm to anyone (including yourself) because those lovely spiffy needles make a mean weapon. Not that I’ve used mine, or anything. . . I just kinda noticed that. You need a long bike ride!

  14. LOL – I’ve had similar experiences with lace knitting. It’s like the yarn and pattern want to show who’s boss before they let you take the helm and get some knitting done!

  15. Your Mojo might suck (at the moment), but you deserve an A+ for Tenacity!
    Been there, done that. It only seems funny when it’s happening to someone else instead!

  16. I can relate so much to this that nothing you have written strikes me as the least bit odd or unusual. Thanks you for giving words (and a timeline) to what so many of us have gone through!

  17. Ok, you’re making me a little worried… I have that book in my house. I’m planning to knit some of the projects.
    Do I knit Estonian Lace:
    1. While I am a hormonal, emotional pregnant woman?
    2. While I am on maternity leave, sleep deprived with a screaming infant and sore boobs?
    Decisions, decisions.

  18. I am having a similar style problem with Anne Hanson’s Hamsa Scarf pattern — a lovely pattern with no errors, except for the near constant human error on my part. The situation had left me feeling hopeless at lace, which is a problem considering a joined a year-long lace club, with shipments about to start arriving. But from your story I have the courage to believe that its not just me πŸ™‚ Perhaps lace knitting in February is just not meant to be…

  19. Stephanie, there is only one thing to say (but maybe two ways to take it): you are an inspiration to us all.
    When deciding which of the two ways to take it, please, however, note that a novice (and I wouldn’t know about this) would not have had the faith to rip back a bazillion times (and would probably have been blissfully unaware of even having a problem until at least row 123).

  20. Oh dear! I’m grinning guiltlessly because if you didn’t want that result, you wouldn’t have shared the story! Indeed, some sock and scarf knitting will tame your inner knitting idiot so you can start the shawl again in a few days, maybe with a coach and after coloring the charted decreases. Good luck, and do let us know how it goes.

  21. I highly recommend in these instances stowing the yarn away and knitting at the minimum two instant gratification projects. Then maybe the offending project will be allowed to see daylight, but only if it behaves.

  22. I remember something you said in one of your books…something about sometimes you and your project are not on the same “life path”? I have relied on this gem of wisdom MANY times…maybe your yarn just really wants to be a cowl?

  23. Maybe liberal applications of alcohol should have preceded the knitting. That way you would either have been more relaxed or not cared πŸ™‚

  24. My cube mates here at work are wondering what call I’m on that has me holding my mouth to stifle the giggles….
    Good luck with the scarf πŸ˜‰

  25. Yesterday was my birthday and I am sending you virtual cake and cookies and candy. I have all three.

  26. Hmmmm…I think the wine was a good idea. Sorry the yarn has been so difficult. perhaps this needs to marinate in stash for a while?
    Hoping beer-oclock comes early for you.

  27. I like to knit shetland lace stuff. The pattern usually starts with cast on 3 stitches….
    There is also the possibility that the yarn it telling you it wants to be something else. Settle down and let the yarn speak. Be prepared to listen.

  28. Oh you poor thing. I think I would have put it in time out after the 3rd rip back. Your fortitude in the face of adversity is admirable. Go have many beers.

  29. Big OUCH. Been there done something similiar and could not for the life of me find the humor in it.
    Like you, I have questioned WHY I knit at times when stuff like this happens. It’s supposed to be relaxing. Thank God most of the time it is.
    Don’t know if I would have the courage to start again no matter how bea-u-tiful the pattern.
    Hang in there!

  30. Oh you poor little thing! Have you considered burning it as a sacrifice to the Knitting Goddess, then perhaps she will let you knit smoothly once more!

  31. You’ve already made it through more steps than I would have! After the 4th rip-out I would have declared it “different project o’clock” and gone back to that one after letting it think about its crimes a little more.

  32. There is hope for me yet!!!!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Shame on you people for laughing. A little chuckle maybe, but laughing? The evil knitting gods are going to move to your house now!

  33. I think that yarn just needs to be something else. Go stash-diving, find something else that strikes your fancy and go for it.

  34. Oh my. Hopefully you’ve used up all your bad juju and the next start (if there IS a next start) will be perfect.
    Seriously, envisioning you calling Nancy Bush in the middle of the night really cracked me up!

  35. Thank you, thank you, thank you….I thought it was only me! I am having the same experience with the Lily of the Valley scarf from this lovely book. Simple mistakes and this pattern starts with the charts right way after knitting the cast on edge double. Mine was ripped out and re-casted( yes my made up word) on five times. I’m now working on a pair of socks. Until the weekend.:)We will win!

  36. How consoling (to me) that you wrote up my normal experience of starting a new lace project with your usual wit. I wish I knew why I can’t seem to read a pattern with care and attention when it comes to lace, and hence do this sort of battle. You’d think I’d learn, but apparently not. Your perseverance could become a legend with this post…

  37. I’m sorry to say, your blog made me laugh more than i’ve laughed in a long time!
    I hope you get the strength to start the project again soon, since its such a lovely shawl πŸ™‚ Thank goodness for wine!

  38. Thank you for letting the rest of us see that even verifiable knitting geniuses have these moments. (but most of the rest of us don’t have the stamina to re-start that many times.)
    By the way, my Never Not Knitting calendar says that when you’re casting on a lot of stitches you should use markers after every 20 or so to help you keep track. (Sorry to have brought this up, but you did write it.)

  39. Now this is why I read your blog… remind me that there are other people out there who do the same “stupid” things (repeatedly) that I do!!!!! Oh yeah and you make me laugh so hard I snort coffee out of my nose!!

  40. Oh my gosh. This post totally reminded me of why I love, love, love your blog. My co-workers think I have completely lost my mind. Thing is, this is totally something that I would have done. Much sympathy (even with the cathartic laughter).

  41. You need a vacation. A vacation is a time with no knitting – I know, I know, that was a punch to your soft spot, but you Need A Vacation from knitting. Maybe just a long weekend, but still, do it. Drink wine, listen to good music, get a massage, read 8 books in 4 days, go for a walk or a skate or a bike ride, do anything that has nothing to do with yarn or fiber or even writing.
    Just how long has it been since you spent two days in a row with no yarn or fiber or writing in your hands, hmm? Burn out, baby, you’re burnt out like stuck rye toast in the old toaster. Go take a break.

  42. Put the book and the yarn away and tell them you expect better behaviour than this and they can come out when they are ready to play nice.
    You ripped it a bazillion times?!? And I say this in The Nicest Possible Way – but that’s a little nutty, dude. I love you and everything, but DUDE!
    p.s. You should have swatched.

  43. My Triinu scarf has been about the same scenario, only not so many cast on stitches. Everything about the book and the instructions are beautiful and CLEAR, I would say practically idiot proof, so why or why do I keep screwing up? At least you can have beer and wine, I’m on diet right now because of an upcoming wedding (not mine) which is what the scarf is destined for…maybe…

  44. This is like shawl knitting meets “24”! Hopefully the collateral damage isn’t too high (perhaps it’s time to put down the pointy sticks before somebody gets hurt) πŸ™‚

  45. This is exactly how I knit the “wisp” from I counted, I started, I ripped- over and over and over again. Ultimately I did prevail, but it was painful, so I have sympathy for your struggle!

  46. Are you serious!?!? By the end of day two, I would have left it for a week and come back and fudged it til i got the right number of stitches… but that’s just what i’d do. You, miss, have a determination I could only dream of. You’re brilliant at this. I believe in you. You’ll figure it out. Maybe some quality time spent with the original pattern and a 40…

  47. Oh my! LMAO! That was hysterical and so familiar sounding. After years of knitting I still consider myself a novice so to hear someone at your level have these troubles is so reassuring to me.
    Your fortitude is to be commended!

  48. I just gave up on beginning a sleeve on dp needles (have never used these before) After ripping and starting 15 times, I have decided I am “counting” challenged. I think I’ll try again in summer. Thanks for owning up to your own challenges. You are perfect in my eyes.

  49. OH GOD STEPH I AM CRYING HERE. Seriously. Like Gwyneth, my birthday was yesterday and I offer you leftover cake and coffee. *sends*
    You show that garter stitch who’s boss!

  50. Wow. I would have given up long ago. But think of this…when you finish it, 331 will be your new lucky number.

  51. In my opinion (which, I know, is unsolicited), you should set the knitting down and back away slowly. If you knit bad vibes into the shawl, you’ll always feel them when you wear it. Better to return with positivity later – then, when you’re finished, it’ll be an accomplishment rather than the spoils of a war against the pattern.

  52. You poor thing! But you persevered. When stuff like that happens to me, I tend to burn the project in anger.
    … ok, not burn, because precious yarn! My precious, precious yarn. But I definitely hid it for awhile. I messed up about half of my Swallowtail Shawl last summer and haven’t touched it since.

  53. I wish I didn’t have a clue what you are talking about with all this ripping and restarting one project……. I do share your aggravation since I’ve been there so many times. For sure.

  54. OMG You do have a marvelous way with words even when knitting isn’t going too well for you . I felt like I was sitting next to you watching this happen and NO I wasn’t laughing–Well not in your precence anyway. You ceratinly have patience that’s for sure. Me–I wold have had that sucker in the UFO box right at the bottom of the pile. Good luck with the garter stitch scarf and if that goes flooy, for goodness sake just spin till your mind isn’t on a million other things that are on your burner right now Thanks for the good laugh today .

  55. Nice to know that the idiot light takes its turn shining on everyone, even capital K Knitters! Now, where shall I send the Screech?

  56. So, now you know how I feel ev-er-y blasted time I try to knit lace. Every. Time. And I end up going back to a sock do a bit of cable and rib, then turn a sweet heel just to make me feel better about my knitterly self. Personally I blame it on my hands. They are lace-less hands. Blame diversion works every time.

  57. Oh noes! Poor Steph. I’ve felt like this before. My first attempt at big lace was arse, but this takes the cake. It was the mojo from your FLS. It was too good, and the fates decided to have some fun with you.

  58. Wow!! Substitute “snowdrop shawl” for Estonian lace and you totally wrote about my experience. It was my first attempt at anything that even resembled lace. The last time I ripped it out, I had achieved the second row of 7 snowdrops. GRRRRR!!!! On the next attempt, things went really well(I had the pattern memorized), but I realized that it wasn’t going to be big enough for a shawl. I now own a lovely head scarf that I can wear a la Brigitte Bardot. I wear it when I’m shoveling snow so it’s getting a lot of use.

  59. The problem is your clock, Steph… the whole time you’re thinking “Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday night…” the yarn was thinking, “Screw this. It’s sock-o-clock–and she should know that!”
    But that being said, the yarn should really remember who is boss… it definitely deserves a time out. Put it by a UFO so it does see that if it continues with this behavior, it’s fate will be sealed in the back of the stash next to the acrylic toilet seat cover you started on a dare.

  60. This is way too funny….and I am at work wanting to laugh and can’t! Sorry for your dilemma, and can totally sympathize with you!

  61. Oh wow, I’m laughing like a crazy person here at my desk. I am so sorry you had to endure this but it makes a relative beginner like me feel better about my bad days. Why can’t the pretty things just knit themselves? Why do we have to WORK at them? *Sigh*

  62. Thank you for the laugh at your expense. How much past beer o’clock would it have to be for you to call Nancy Bush?

  63. I printed this out and will glue it to the first page of my exemplar of the book.
    Maybe your bad luck will prevent me from doing just the same….
    Oh, btw did you check your yarn supply after tossing away so many cast-on yarn??? Is there enough left?

  64. I think by Wednesday afternoon I would have said ‘Screw this’ and abandoned the entire project, because no matter lovely the pattern was there’d just be know way I could forge on without damaging my psyche.
    Hugs and permission to continue knitting the rest of the day in BST (beer standard time)…

  65. I had the same kinds of problems when I started my Lace Ribbon scarf seven times. Only I knew the pattern was dead easy since so many others had done the pattern. At least in your case you know Nancy’s patterns are very challenging. So far I have only looked at the Estonian Lace pattern book. I’m not even able to dream about it yet, let alone start a pattern. You are very perserverant (ie. stubborn). I am sure you will conquer this pattern.

  66. You have offended the knitting goddess. Take back the slander you wrote about swatching. The goddess doesn’t like that talk. She can kick your arse!

  67. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I laughed so stinkin’ hard while reading this delightful post! Now, I hate to even suggest this… but, as a woman of 44 it has happened to me. Could it be that you are a tad bit hormonal? Hormones are such powerful things that they can make the nerve synapses in your VERY POWERFUL brain skip a beat… or two… or thirty! OR–is your family driving you in any way, manner or form stark raving mad?! That also can mess with those synapses!

  68. Oh I feel your pain, I went trough something similar but not with a lace pattern. I would have just put the thing down for a day or two, reread the pattern and then try again. OK maybe throwing the yarn and needles into the corner and getting in a huff would be more accurate.

  69. Oh honey…I feel your pain (and laugh hysterically at the same time). My current shawl is the second incarnation of it because I got sick of ripping and finally threw the whole thing in the trash. (Don’t worry, it was cheap yarn to begin with.) Does this come under the heading of “Things that are really really funny when they happen to other knitters”?

  70. hmm, isn’t Nancy teaching at Sock Summit or whateveritscalled? Maybe you and she should talk about how she should use BOLD on some of her directions.

  71. I have projects like that, projects in which I just can’t get beyond cast-on or the first couple of rows. One is a fairly simple scarf…

  72. If this wasn’t so awful, it would make a great comedy skit, like Lucy advertising for Vegavita…whatever it was. By take bazillion, she was a little looped, too!
    Either you have seriously offended your knitting goddess, or you were just NOT meant to make this shawl. Maybe you should be doing something else (like writing up that lovely cowl pattern from a few weeks back? That might appease the goddess)

  73. OH! Thank goodness you stopped knitting that thing. I’m sticking with my original vote – PI shawl….. EZ’s calling…. you know it!

  74. I second the commenter who said “Sounds like it just isn’t meant to be.”
    You have my deepest sympathies and my hope that all of the above is slightly exaggerated for entertaining telling.
    If this had happened to me (and I had not given up by oh, say the 4th attempt), I would have been running around my front yard, knitting needles in my hand, drunk as a skunk, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow at 100 decibles, right eyebrow twitching, left eye permanently dilated, probably naked from the waist up.
    I will send you homemade chocolates if you send me an address. πŸ™‚

  75. You’re a champ. You’ll be fine.
    The real question is, what kind of needles are those? Stilleto points?

  76. There’s a reason why I start big shawls at centre back – my mistakes are only small ones. I’d have packed it in on Tuesday morning, my rule is three false starts and then back to yarn.
    I’ve had the miseries and you set me laughing so thanks for that, your suffering has not been in vain.

  77. I feel your pain. We’ve all been there to some degree, but in this case I would have been pouring gin and giving the yarn to the cat wayyyyy before you went to knit night.

  78. Thanks so much for sharing. This sounds like something you should keep to publish in your next book. I always appreciate all you write for us. Thanks for sharing your life.

  79. I think the beauty of your whole post is the realization, deep down inside, even while I am laughing hysterically, that someday I will be doing the same thing. And when (not if) that happens, I’m come back to my computer, to this post which I am bookmarking, and maybe I’ll be able to dredge up a laugh for me.
    Thanks, Pat
    PS I am doing my first lace knitting which is going very well. Clearly the designer is a wonder – it’s the Snowdrop.

  80. I am sooo sorry…but I laughed mercilessly (and my co-workers looked at me strangely). I’ll be sharing this with my stitching friends on Sunday.
    I think you, the wool and the pattern need a little time apart. Knit something else until your memory of this is slightly blurred…sort of like the memory of all that pain during childbirth.

  81. I’m just impressed that you kept trying after so many days. I usually give up on a failed pattern once I hit beer ‘o’ clock, make something that helps me feel competent again, THEN restart the offending pattern (most likely a week later). I hope it works out for you!

  82. My god, Steph, you are one persistent knitter! I would NEVER have made it through that many cast-ons.
    I fear this is some kind of universe-balancing payback for the superb success of the February Lady sweater. The only thing to do is to take a quiet break until the Keeper of the Universal Balance Sheet forgets about you, then start slowly with something simple before resuming full-bore knit mania. Good luck– Gretcheng

  83. I feel your pain. I really do. My wedding shawl (which I won’t be completing in time for my wedding) is made in cobweb-weight yarn I dyed myself, and I ripped and restarted each end of it so many times I too had to throw out some yarn.
    I am also suffering from viral startitis. I don’t want to knit what I have, can’t figure out what I want to knit instead, and when I finally DO find something it either goes wrong or I don’t have the yarn or I lose interest. *pout* I am now making Newfoundland Mittens. Hopefully they go better.

  84. I feel your pain. I just finished knitting up the front of a cardigan, only to realize that something is wrong and that I may need to rip it all out. Curses.
    On the other hand, I just checked on Ravelry, and it appears there are errata for your shawl pattern. If that makes you feel better. (There are no errata that I have found for my pattern, unfortunately — just my own stupidity.)

  85. I’m a beginner knitter and feel like that most projects . . . it’s nice to know experienced people feel like that too!!! πŸ™‚

  86. Holy Cow! That totally made me laugh out loud, though I do feel terrible for you. πŸ™ Maybe go make another Noro scarf. πŸ™‚ Easy and beautiful.

  87. Spring Fever! This too will pass. I have started six different sock patterns on several gorgeous yarns, and nothing is working. It’s not the patterns or the yarn… it’s the season.

  88. Thank you. I don’t feel nearly as bad now that I have to completely reknit a sleeve for a sweater, even though I knew it wasn’t going to be big enough, and that the pattern had a ton of errata in it, yet I kept going anyway, “just in case” it might turn out right.

  89. Oh, thank you! I don’t feel so stupid when I go through something like this after reading your blog today. It’s like you lose every piece of gray matter and you can’t believe it! Especially embarassing when you do it while teaching a knitting class, as I did last night!

  90. Oh my! Thanks for the laugh. You have far more perseverence than I. And for that I am grateful (because without it, we wouldn’t have your blog); however, my sister would like me to finish her bath mat. (Garter stitch log cabin. How hard can it be?)

  91. I am sorry thi shappened to you, but if it is any comfort you are not alone… I’ve done my share of knitting in the last 35 years or so,incuding lace and fair isle, still setting up rows are my demons. Just yesterday I was telling my friend that I can mess up anything more complicated than a 1×1 rib. Yes, I managed to pull out the 2×2 rib in the TYC about three times. Imagine what I did with the 9 stitch repeat of the lace on the yoga-wrap (which is about 250 stitch wide), even with carefully putting a marker after every 10th.Threw out almost half ball of yarn on that…
    Then I just lost counting on how many time I ripped back the first two lace rows on the FLS…
    Put it aside drink some tea (or wine) have a biscotti, and start some Alice Starmore fair isle…

  92. I feel bad that I just laughed at your pain. Because I have been there. And, if I would have known that someone was laughing at my pain I would give them a knitting needles to the spleen.

  93. You know, there are some patterns that just don’t want to be knit. Perhaps the yarn is wrong, or the moon is in the wrong phase; but sometimes it’s best to just walk away…
    (sorry about the frustration! I have totally been there, have the frogged yarn to prove it.)

  94. Oh, I hurt. I laughed so hard! I have so done that! This was so incredibly funny, I dragged my husband in here and read it to him. He was more amused than one might expect from someone who doesn’t knit. That is a great story, even if it represents several days you might not want to think about for a while… Thanks.

  95. While I sympathize with your pain I am also thankful for it. I am regularly there and have questioned my knitting ability. How gracious of you to document your lapses to encourage the rest of us that this is indeed part and parcel of the process and makes the reward of finishing so much sweeter. And the reminder that these things happen so it’s best to have a plan. I have a time out with dishcloth knitting until all is right with the world.
    thanks for the laugh. Maybe I will open the mystery bin tonight and see what is approachable.

  96. I say, these are all signs that you should knit that yarn into something else. The yarn is fighting you. It wants to be something else. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the laugh, though.

  97. First – major sympathy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cast on, knit to the turning row of a vest I’m knitting for my mom, and ripped back because I’ve lost my place/miscounted my cast on stitches/misread the pattern. The sad part? I’ve knit this pattern once before and ripped and reknit the same number of times. Totally frustrating!
    Second, as I was reading your account of your travails, I started hearing “This is the house that Jack built” running through my head.

  98. Beyond brilliant reporting from inside Knitting Crazy Town.
    (I suspect you need to catch up on some sleep?)

  99. I just laughed and laughed at this…as in bursts of laughter that made my dogs start out of their sleep. I know at the time you didn’t find the whole thing nearly so funny, but thanks for relaying it that way…you made my day (and I’m sure many others’ as well)!

  100. Hee Hee! This is why I have stuck to scarves, mittens, hats and socks for so long! If the ‘professionals’ have issues, what do you think MINE would look like? You made me laugh, and I feel your pain. Thank you for sharing though, as misery loves company, and I’m sure there are plenty of knitters who wouldn’t confess to having done the same thing!

  101. Oh I feel your pain. I have a sweater going for myself (for once). I knit the first two skeins before deciding that I don’t like the drape. Knit another gauge swatch, liked it better, then cast on the wrong number of stitches and knit the ribbing. Frogged it, cast on the SAME WRONG NUMBER OF STITCHES and knit the ribbing again.
    I have the right number of stitches now. But I’m kind of afraid to knit on it in case I screw something else up.

  102. This is when I succumb to the fact that the yarn doesn’t want to be what I want it to be, and do as you are doing–knit garter stitch or a plain vanilla sock or something. The yarn needs to stew in the stash a bit longer until you are able to discern what it is, exactly, that the yarn *does* want to be. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really swatches that lie, or if the actual deception is being masterminded by the yarn itself. hmmmm…..

  103. Just look at it this way–even though you have not managed to start this shawl correctly, you have demonstrated real perseverance and (mostly) patience! The knitting fates are sure to have pitty on you soon and allow you to start the shawl without mishap. You have my sympathy!

  104. Oh, wow. I am right there with you and the wine. This also makes me fear for my life as I have been coveting nearly every pattern in that same book and now am very nervous at even thinking about attmpting one of them.
    Best wishes and hugs.

  105. When I got to Wednesday morning, and read in all caps, “I FORGOT TO HOLD THE YARN DOUBLE” I laughed right out loud! Sorry, but sometimes you have to laugh or else you will cry. Good Luck, it will be beautiful once you complete it.

  106. OUCH. Seems like it is not meant to be, but I’ll bet you prove me wrong.
    BTW, I’m saving this one. Putting it in a special place to remember that I am not alone in my worst knitting moments. And maybe I’ll put the gauge post there too. Both are brilliant, lucid, with utterly maddening results.

  107. Oh dear God.
    There are times when lace is just not the way to go, it doesn’t like you, though it is all beautiful it’s beautiful in an evil way like Snow White’s stepmother, and it will put your heart in a box.
    Or it will feel like it.

  108. Oh, crap! I think those patterns must have been pixie-dusted so that non-Estonians can only admire from a distance. I made the Estonian Summer Shawl (reprinted from same book into a recent issue of Piecework). You can even see my shawl if you want to. It will be on page 3 of the upcoming issue of Piecework under “Patterns Mangled by Our Readers” or something to that effect.
    It’s beer o’clock somewhere, isn’t it?

  109. Ouch. I’m not sure I’ve ever had quite so much knitting trauma packed into one project. Usually it ends at a day, so you must have ticked off someone good and proper to get 3 days of agony. You are still an amazing knitter even if you managed to have a serial Monday of knitting.

  110. Oh dear. You are a better person than I am.
    I would have gotten to about Tuesday night and then had
    “trip to emergency room where I had to explain how I accidentally got a knitting needle impaled in my leg as I tried to kill a knitting project. Persuaded nice man that I would speak to my therapist in the morning.”

  111. Been there, done that, hated every minute of it….which is why I am apologizing for laughing out loud at my desk about the whole ordeal. And is beer o’clock the same time as wine o’clock (and maybe close to valium o’clock)?

  112. Stephanie, you have absolutely made my day. I am currently on at least the 4th rip-out and reknit of the yoke of a man’s pullover, knitted in the round out of semisolid yarn, so I have to change skeins every round at the same time I am decreasing–what was I thinking?! And I modified the pattern, setting up even more chances for error.
    I was mentally hitting myself over the head today, thinking that no other knitter on the planet would make that many mistakes on the same piece. The fact that you messed up on a similarly epic scale restores my faith in the human race, or at least that I am still part of it.
    Be of good cheer, and knit on! I lift my calming glass of wine to you.
    BTW, my son-in-law better wear this sweater when it’s finally finished!

  113. The reason I think this is laugh out loud funny is that I’ve been there, although I have not been as persistent as you have. I admire you for your persistence. And remember, it’s always beer o’clock somewhere!

  114. I am a new knitter. I was gifted with your Knitting Rules book.
    I laughed out loud sitting alone in a chinese restaurant where I took the book for soup before my knitting group.
    And then I found your blog. And feel so redeemed reading this post. As I said, “I am a new knitter”. I knit rip knit rip knit and rip and on and on.
    Now I just don’t feel so alone in my ripping. Thanks!!!!

  115. Hey Steph, I hadn’t imagined you could mimic my own knitting experiences so closely. That’s the way I knit most of the time! The Dragon Skin Baby Wrap was nearly my undoing, and I finally actually learned that I am instructions challenged BIG TIME. I need to do every single thing at least twice, usually three times over to get it even close to right. Dragon Skin was literally the whole sweater on average three times. Some parts of it more than others.
    Love your up-front-ness, helps us all follow that way.

  116. oh dear. you must stop this right now. Take out the wool and hold it gently in your hands. Dip your nose into its gentle softness and breath in its essence. listen to it. it is trying hard to tell you something. bend your ear close to it. it is whispering in wool-like murmers “I don’t want to be another stupid pointless freakin’shawl you delirious goofball! I want to be several pairs of cozy socks or a hat for a newborn or two or maybe a pillow topper but pleeeeeeeeease not another anachronistic shawl.” that’s what I hear anyhow.

  117. There is going to be a moment in this knitting project that will give you so much pleasure because it’s the right success at just the right time, or because you are still finishing this project at a time that is enjoyable. Somehow LATER there will be a pleasurable moment that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t needed to rip & prolong NOW. The knitting muses are looking out for you. But their ways are mysterious.

  118. Been there done that. I knit a beautiful sweater with a large shawl collar. After knitting the collar seperately five times to have it not fit tried picking up 100’s of stitches around the front edges and neck four times to have it still not work. I frogged the entire sweater back to balls and balls and balls of yarn. I reknit the entire sweater again and all went together as it was meant to be. The knitting gods just laughed and laughed. I still cringe when the sweater’s owner drops by wearing the evil thing. Good luck

  119. Yep. Been there – done that, but never would admit it publicly like you did. I think you should have extra beers and/or glasses of wine tonight.

  120. Sorry for your pain. Totally been there. I am sending this link to my Mom- who I’ve recently taught to knit (proving that the knitting gene does not skip a generation it just may be delayed). She is in a mistake loop right now- knowing that a seasoned knitter still has these problems will help her (because she’s already too addicted to yarn for it to scare her off)

  121. Hon, that is the story of my knitting life. And knitting is still my favorite thing to do. Not sure what that says about my sanity…

  122. I think the universe and the Knitting Gods are telling you that you were not meant to knit that particular shawl.

  123. Dude that stinks. At least this happened when you were knitting and the only person you could hurt was yourself. It could be worse–you could have been driving!

  124. So incredibly depressing. I’m sorry. You are much stronger than I. I would have dropped it after the first day. Maybe the yarn just really doesn’t want to be that pattern???

  125. You might not think the two things are related, but let me teach you something I learned as a CPA.
    Put it down. Walk away. Do not attempt for 24 hours. Then the second you pick it up again, you will wonder why it was a problem in the first place.

  126. Steph, I can’t decide whether the appropriate response is to laugh or to cry, so I’m doing both, just to make sure.
    These are not rookie mistakes! No rookie would start a pattern that called for casting on 313 stitches, or 331, or anything resembling it. Rookies start out on patterns that say, “Cast on 15. Knit every row until scarf is as long as you want. Weave in ends.”
    We all have moments. This week, I left town without my purse. I had to go back and get it, losing my whole first day of work. We’re talking about adding an extra 200 miles to an already-250 miles-each-way commute. Cheers.

  127. And I thought this type of crap only happened to me. Been there and it totally sucks. And your determination for proving that you can do it and do it well just grows, but yeah, you need a break from it. I think I go through this same experience for most of the knitting projects I start. Lace does it to me every time, I swear. Good Luck, Steph!

  128. Oh my…that totally sounds like something I would do. My last boneheaded knitting “mistake” was ripping a needle’s worth on a sock because I thought I started knitting the pattern row a second time. After I laboriously tinked crossed stitches, I realized that I had not completed the pattern row on all four needles and had just undone what it took me a very long time to do.

  129. I know how we all LOVE yarn here, so I am a little afraid to post my theory here but I will anyway. I think that there are rebellious yarns. Most yarn can’t wait to be knit up into something beautiful and useful. But on occasion, there is rebellious yarn that just wants to stay yarn forever. I had the same experience as you, Steph, but with a wrap. I never could get the gauge right, there were LOTS of stupid mistakes no matter how closely I followed the pattern. Finally I just ripped it all out and used that yarn for something else. Same thing happened. I tried a third project with the yarn and again, the same thing. I really think the yarn didn’t want to get knit. Recently, I tried the wrap again, with a different yarn and everything went perfectly. So Steph, you may have a rebel on your hands.

  130. Wow. And if you had double checked on Tuesday morning – when you knit a row, but THOUGHT you had to start the chart, and ripped back although you were actually right — you would have had the whole shawl done by now.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that….

  131. I have SO been there! This post made me laugh out loud because you could have been describing me on any number of occasions. Scary thought–I just got that very book. Should I be worried???

  132. Just once, you should use your phone numbers for just this sort of purpose. In an entirely polite and reasoned way, and only during reasonable working hours, but just once call up a designer and demand to know “WHAT WERE YOU SMOKING!?” on behalf of failed knits everywhere. Okay so maybe not, but it’s nice to dream…

  133. Stick a big pin or a nice sharp dpn (do you have a red one) right through that pattern and leave it for awhile. Make those evil knitting goddesses think you’ve given up knitting it, as they watch you make your garter stitch scarf. Even if you’re not enjoying the scarf that much, pretend you are. And stock up on some good chocolate and wine.

  134. Before you take the yarn & project back out of purgatory, perhaps you’d better check:
    are you sure you have enough yarn left to finish it, after the cutting and tossing bits of the misadventures?
    Just sayin’.
    If not, maybe the yarn really wants to be one of the other projects in the book.
    Lucia asked why one would cast on with the yarn held doubled. (raises hand) I know, I know, Nancy told us in class! Besides the answer “it’s just done that way”, that is, for Estonian lace. Helps prevent breakage when blocking and wearing out or catching of the edge of the shawl. We cast off our mini-shawls in class the same way. It does give a distinctive and rather nice look.

  135. Thank you for the belly laughs. Been there, done that.
    By the way, your FLS is gorgeous. I’m the one who said once you get started, they practically knit themselves, but after seeing the needles, yarn and sweater on the blog, realized I forgot to say you had to be holding the needles.

  136. You are a very patient person — that shawl would have been in the trash after the 3rd time I cast on hundreds of stitches. I was going to blame the yarn, and maybe Nancy Bush a little (331 St. cast on would make anyone lose it!) but then I checked Ravelry, and 56 peopel have either made it or are making it and none of them seem institutionalized from it and almost every one has a big smiley by the project. Maybe it is you? πŸ˜‰

  137. I am a realitively new knitter, knitting less than a year. I swear I have never laughed so hard at myself than when you describe your flaws and shortcoming with your knitting. Knowing that we are not alone in our frustrations is comforting and knowing that we can laugh at ourselves and not get too serious is a gem in the fabric of life. I learned very early on that I cannot knit and have a cocktail at the same time, lest I wake up in the morning and wonder where in heck is my knitting. If I look long enough, I will usually find in it the trash!

  138. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! ROFLAO! Tears streaming down face! In damger of pissing self! So sorry, lost control there for a minute. No for several minutes! I feel so bad for you, Steph! That scarf should help settle you down, add glass of wine, or beer, relax, then have at it again! Love Ya! Carol

  139. I think you deserve to earn a million points for the stubborn. Also chocolate, coffee, and beer. In large(er) quantities.
    I’ve found, when something fiddly is frustrating the heck out of me, that I need to do something with large motions for a while. Run, walk, shovel snow, chase after the child – anything that is not small and fiddly. Get that out of my system, then the fiddly is possible. Wine has much the same effect, but sometimes compromises accuracy.

  140. You are livign my life right now, I have started the same three rows of knitting on a scarf (With a pattern that I have written no less) 12 times and this is my OWN pattern. You would think that I could get it right!

  141. I hope you realize that your mistakes, especially spectacular ones like this, make the rest of us not feel quite so bad when we do similar things. We can say “even the Harlot goofs sometimes,” and feel a little better.

  142. Just want to thank you for this — i’ve been having that feeling for the last few days, not with knitting (this time) but with sewing…. so nice to know i’m not the only one that can be busy busy busy for hours and end up with nearly nothing to show for it!

  143. Oh dear, I just checked my copy of “Knitted Lace of Estonia” to see which shawl is giving you such a hard time, only to realize that it is the one I have earmarked to knit next – I have the yarn all ready to go. Do I dare tread where the Yarn Harlot is having difficulties????

  144. Oh, I’ve most certainly had days like that too. They make me question my sanity and love of knitting. Should a fun hobby REALLY be that hard?
    Funny enough, I haven’t stopped yet. :p
    Here’s hoping tomorrow goes a little bit more smoothly fot you.

  145. Yes. Wine, Law and Order, garter stitch. These things will make it better. That and maybe some chocolate and the knowledge that you are definitely not alone πŸ™‚

  146. obviously THAT yarn doesn’t want to be THAT shawl…at least not in this universe or this lifetime…time to re-purpose it. Good thing you hadn’t done any nupps! Can you imagine?????

  147. By the way – Lifeline?
    Maybe it IS Ms. Bush’s fault… I tried that Lily of the Valley Shawl, and it was a failure out of the gate. I said to heck with it, and yarn is sitting in a dark spot, waiting to something else some day.

  148. When this happens to me – and it does, because not only am I less experienced than you, it happens to all of us sometimes – I usually stop to consider that this particular yarn wants to be something else and it’s only way to tell me that is to make sure the knitting is bollixed up over and over and over until something penetrates my thick skull and I pay attention. So I find a different pattern that the yarn will be happier with, and that usually works. And I usually find a different yarn that’s happy with the first pattern. So it all works out in the end.
    Good luck!

  149. I started to think, until I got to the “beer o’clock” part that that was some amazing yarn that could hold up to that much ripping out.
    Then I was going to suggest that you just back off & knit on a sock, but then I saw that you’d been there, done that & still were in trouble.
    I have no words of advice other than to try some screech instead of the wine. It could only help.

  150. I am totally convinced that there are combinations of yarn & pattern that are like mixing matter and antimatter. No good can come of them. I had a similar fit with a shawl last year. When I get up my courage to pick up either the yarn or the pattern again, you can be certain that I won’t be using them together.

  151. Whew! I need a glass (or two) of wine just reading this! It’ll pass. Take a break and the next time you pick it up, it’ll work. And it’ll be worth it.

  152. Wow man you have patience that disappears off my scale. I’m afraid I would have perhaps only been able to rip out twice before giving up and knitting something that made me look clever even though it was easy. Cos after 3 I would have probably said words that would have taken some weeks of Christian repentance to rub out. After 4 times I’d have decided I was cursed and perhaps jumped of the Tyne bridge.
    You are the Queen of knitters cos you just don’t damn well stop!!!

  153. Thank God I’m not the only one this happens to. You make it worthwhile to keep trying no matter how frustrated. Thanks for talking about it.

  154. There is so much to be said for reading the pattern through a few times first. I’m so glad I’m not the only one.
    Do you use the standard curse words or do you put together new ones out of regular words that wouldn’t otherwise offend on their own? I personally find a great deal of satisfaction in making up my own.

  155. Thank you for this post. I’ve been “working” read that as casting on knitting for awhile, ripping out, casting on, knitting for awhile” repeat, a fingerless glove. Yarn is now in a bag and I’m going to cast on for a pair of ribbed socks. Oh God please let them work out ok.
    So nice to know even way more experienced knitters have this problem at times.

  156. I think you should call her! She deserves to know what havoc the patterns she sends out willy-nilly are causing. There should be warning labels!

  157. That beats even my default three-time do-over for every new thing I start.
    You do realize, of course, that either you have just spawned a whole whack of knitters who will never, ever, notifyoupaidthemamilliondollars try this pattern, or created a KAL for this shawl numbering in the thousands of people. Total toss-up, IMO, which way it will tilt.

  158. And I bet if you leave it for a bit, then one day you’ll come back to it and have no trouble at all. I hate going into projects like that. I was about to direct you to page 206 of your own book (Knitting Rules)but then I thought that given the state of mind that I know “I” would be in after and ordeal like that, I assumed that unless I wanted to keep my knitting arms for life, I should just keep my mouth (er…keyboard) quiet. Sorry you had to go through that…SO FRUSTRATING!! You’re hilarious, lady. πŸ˜€

  159. Wow! And I was only freaking over those pesky little nupps that I can’t imagine ever being able to knit SEVEN together. I will confess I can be as, well, let’s call it persistent, as you have been. Forge ahead, just never far from either caffeine or alcohol, whichever seems best in the moment.

  160. It is just so reassuring to know that even though she is a knitting goddess, the Yarn Harlot still makes rookie mistakes. Better luck next time!

  161. Yes I have done it. I am glad to know I am not alone, and you are still my knitting hero, possibly more so than ever before.

  162. The lace goddesses make us pay our dues. They like to pretend they are out of our league. (Just spent 5 hours tinking back 7 lace rows.) Grit your teeth and show who’s boss.

  163. I have been having an eerily similar experience with Anne Hanson’s Irtfa’a edging. Okay, in my case I was out of practice with lace, especially double-sided lace, and I’d never done a knitted-on edging, but even afterwards I had to keep on ripping back for dropped stitches. And then! Just the other day! Discovered YET ANOTHER dropped stitch! So I feel your pain. Since it is edging and felting up by now I am just kludging it and moving forward.
    Also, I find that my chance of error goes up significantly if I am feeling smug about how I’m doing with a pattern.

  164. and here is was thinking it was only me…I feel your pain. My 2×2 rib socks are coming along just fine while my lace knitting lurks in the corner glaring at me from it’s basket. I’m too scared to put my hand in there…it bites.

  165. You have WAY more patience than I do. I would have tossed the pattern after about three tries… alas, you’ll just be that much more proud when you finish!

  166. Oh goodness! I hope it helped to write about it. I was howling with laughter by about mid-post. I feel your pain, I do. I imagine most of us have been there, at least once, but the way you write about it…
    goodness gracious, thanks!

  167. I feel your pain, really I do…but at the same time I feel totally better about screwing up Hanami this morning, catching my mistakes 2 rows later, trying to fix said mistakes without ripping back, then realizing I could have ripped back and reknit those 2 rows (plus a couple more) in the length of time I’d been trying to fix it. I ripped back and picked up my sock also.

  168. I’m so, so sorry! If it’s any consolation, your tale makes me feel better about my own knitting idiocies, and you are very funny in the telling.

  169. Well, shit. If that were me I’d blame placenta brain. Maybe all those reno’s you two did/had to do are finally catching up with your brain functions and you can blame them for your mistakes.

  170. I’m laughing so hard now… my DH is asking what’s wrong!
    I just finished a baby sweater like this. And there weren’t even hundred of stitches. But darn it all if that baby sweater just didn’t want to be a baby sweater, regardless of 5 whole hearted attempts.
    It made a really nice hat.

  171. I’m glad you’ve got wine and garter stitch. Sometimes it’s best to walk away for little bit, till you’re ready for some more pain, anyway.

  172. This problem is totally not your fault. It is the result of knitting gremlins that lurk in that book. I am knitting the Lilac Leaf Shawl from that same book (probably the easiest pattern in there, and still so lovely) and cast on three times, threw yarn out and knit and ripped and began again so much that I lost count. I am now ready to begin chart two and realize that hmmm, I have only two rows with nupps. I am supposed to have three, and this was supposed to occur about ten rows ago. I have decided that this is clearly an error in the pattern and my damn shawl has two rows of nupps and that is plenty.
    I have to say I think the casting on with the yarn held double gives it a really nice look.

  173. I keep hearing people say something like “Oh, you just have to try lace once and you’ll love it!” And then I hear horror stories about wrong stitch count,not holding the yarn doubled,reading the directions wrong,etc.,etc.,etc.I think I’ll stick to my socks,thankyouverymuch…

  174. Oh. my. god. You have written many times about your tenacity, but to have it so specifically spelled out here is truly impressive. At some point, after the third or fourth cast-on probably, I would have begun screaming, broken all my needles, and attempted to strangle myself with a pair of circulars. That it only took some beers, wine and whine to get you through this is a testament to the reserves of patience that must live in you, the levels of which I will never know. God be with you.

  175. I have a shawl pattern that i have been wanting to start, but I have been a bit scared because it is really big, and seems more complicated than my typical projects. You have given me courage. I know I can mess up, and still be a good knitter, even a great knitter. And if I do mess up, I can come read this post again, and know that I am in good company.

  176. Part of me is thinking, “ahh shucks” for you and part of me is thinking, “thank god I’m not the only one.”

  177. I will admit that I chuckled in the beginning, because I could totally relate.
    But by the end my eyes were wide with horror.
    You poor woman. Your yarn should be ashamed of itself, abusing you like that.

  178. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for that wonderful story. I thought I was the only one in the world who had such trouble knitting (especially lace!). It is such a relief to know that a great knitter and published knitting author, such as yourself, has moments (days) like this. There’s nothing like a little Law & Order and wine to ease the pain, though. You’re a womand after my own heart.
    It’ll go better tomorrow.

  179. Stephanie–this is why we all love you. You give us hope. If someone of your accomplishments can still make mistakes, then there is hope for the rest of us mere mortals.
    Also? If you forget how much you like knitting, crochet a few granny squares.

  180. I think “stubborn” and “I can do this” must be engraved somewhere on your forehead. You have my admiration and sympathy πŸ™‚

  181. Sometimes you just have to walk away. Do you really like the shawl that much? Sometimes it’s not meant to be, we fight and fight and get nowhere. I felt for you as I read this. Been there done that trying to not do it again to myself.

  182. I’m so sorry to hear about your rookie-type difficulties. I, too, have had projects that have been ripped many times and others that have been banished to the UFO pile as punishment for their stubborn behavior.
    May I suggest (since you seem to be making an extreme number of mistakes with this project) that you check for errata in the pattern before you continue? Perhaps being off stitches at the end of the pattern is because there’s an error in the charts….
    Otherwise, I hope your mojo returns very soon!

  183. I’m with Anna at 4:39pm.
    I finished that shawl recently (see blog post). I figure that by the time I’d ripped and fiddled and tinked, I’d actually knitted it 3 times over–and, I ended up working parts of it with 2 circs in different sizes because the gauge was doing weird things.
    I think I only cast-on once, though.

  184. What a horrible experience – but somehow, it gives me hope that my constant mistakes are just part of a knitter’s life….

  185. that’s why *my* february lady isn’t done…at one point it was down clear of my bust. at the moment it is 10 rows about to go back into the frog pond.

  186. My favorite part? Where you knit some 2×2 rib just to prove “I really am good at this.” As someone who regularly bangs her head against problems until they submit, I so empathized with that moment.

  187. Your blog today is perfectly timed to make me feel better about the sock I’ve just frogged – after making the leg to small to fit over my own damn foot.
    Thank you!

  188. Delurking. I’m so sorry but I LAUGHED MY ASS OFF. My cat is currently plotting how quickly he can get me committed. My apartment is ringing with the residual sound. I love you blog. I’m a n00b so I’m glad I have a veteran for such a good model.

  189. I’M NOT ALONE. (i dont’t even knit. i crochet, but it’s still nice to know I’M NOT ALONE)and I don’t just mean the beer.

  190. Oh. My. Word. If it makes you feel any better 1) I was completely horrified BEFORE I started laughing hysterically, 2) I am a new knitter, and 3) I make those types of mistakes on the 2 x 2 rib scarves.
    And boy does it suck.
    These are the Knitting Gods playing with you. Wave a crochet hook around for a bit and send them running.

  191. Are you a knitter, or a masochist? Sounds more like the latter. But you also have perseverance in spades, because I would have sworn off all charted knitting LONG before the halfway point of your (hilarious) story. I am so glad friends and acquaintances urged me to read your blog!

  192. I love your willingness to lay out your knitting life – good and bad – for the rest of us. Is there a knitter who hasn’t been totally bummed by some project or another? Some things are just not meant to be. Said it before and I’ll say it again – you are one hell of a writer!

  193. Thanks – I needed that – after the stress of waiting while my brother underwent triple bypass surgery today, laughing was definitely the best medicine – sorry it had to be at your expense though.

  194. Reminds me of how I started with your snowdrop shawl. I’ve determined that I’m a morning lace person…but haven’t had very many mornings yet in which to continue it πŸ˜€

  195. Boy oh boy. Somehow you have managed to royally piss off the knitting gods who are now toying with you. I think you need to hold an exorcism for that project. There is no other possible explanation, since nobody with your experience and talent could possibly make that many mistakes unless they’d been cursed.

  196. Do you know how many times I have ripped “Undulating Waves”? The only thing that kept me going was the thought that I can not be the only person in the world who can not follow directions and master this pattern!!
    Thanks for being human!

  197. I actually had to stop reading at certain points because it was just too heart-breaking. I was in pain from it! I will try and send some knitting mojo your way but it may take awhile to get that far.

  198. This is what you get for writing a blog entry called “Very Clever Indeed.”
    There’s a fine line between acknowledging your brilliance (which you clearly have earned the right to do) and loudly celebrating it such that you bring the wrath of the Knitting Goddess onto your head. I believe you have tripped over that line. My condolences.

  199. I am not belittling your pain but it is sometimes nice to know that from time to time, even truly expert knitters like you, have the same kinds of issues as us lesser knitters.

  200. I have made six or seven rather complicated Aran afghans for assorted friends and relatives. A couple I love are heading into their third marriages and I decided I needed to make another. After EIGHT starts, I finally shoved the whole thing.
    So I totally admire your stick-to-it-iveness!

  201. I am a beginning knitter, and your blog is an inspiration to me – beautiful things and excellent advice. It’s good to know that even the experts make mistakes!

  202. OMGss!!! Between this post, and the one awhile back about trying to get coffee at the airport, I almost split a kidney laughing! You know, it is really hard to laugh hysterically while chanting the mantra…”I have soooo been there” !!!

  203. It sounds like your week went a lot like mine, only my week didn’t involve knitting so much as herding small, unruly children. Most discouraging. πŸ™‚

  204. Your honest sharing of such a traumatic time is a great gift, especially to those of us new to lace. I restarted my first stole 6 times, decided I was a lace dunce, & packed it away. I’ve copied your today’s blog to tuck in, in case I get brave & try again!

  205. Oh, I DO KNOW this kind of misery! I DO! I’ve gone through it for no apparently good reason, more than once, and the only remedy was to stuff everything related to that project into a bag and put it out of sight. Some things I went back to and laughed about my silliness and some things still have me puzzled. I feel lots better, now though, just knowing you have similar experiences.
    You’re not a quitter and I’ll betcha this will be a stunning piece of lace work.
    Thanks for the laughs, which started about “Wednesday” in your description of your week of discontent.

  206. And I felt bad taking three attempts to start my Noro striped scarf. Reading your experiences gives me such hope that I’m willing to try knitting anything!

  207. I feel the same. I had that problem with a fair-isle hat I was making. And to add insult to injury, after wearing it for a week, I think that I have lost it. T_T

  208. Yep. This AM I finished the last row of incs and counted the correct number of stitches 231. Decided to put split markers in and counted off. How can I have 10 extra stitches before I get to the center? Count again, yep 231. Add up the the pattern, yep 231. Count stictches – 10 more! Over and over this went (20 mins or more) until I realized I needed 111 stitches between the markers not 100 as I had been counting over and over again. Right there in front of my eyes as I had been reading it all along (even out loud to the cat). I figured this out right around the time I finished my cup of coffee. It never pays to do anything uncaffeinated. Good to know that as a beginner I will continue to make the same as with experience.

  209. I’m so sorry to have to laugh (lots!) at your pain. It’s a wonder that the whole lot of yarn and Nancy’s book are not a huge pile of ashes. When your project is complete you’ll have to add the disclaimer that β€œNo Nancys have been harmed in any way during the making of this shawl.” Hope you have the courage to try again, this time with success.

  210. I am so relieved. The Unst Bridal shawl has been kicking my arse up and down the street for about a week and a half – after about 10 days of cast on, knit, rip, rinse + repeat, I have managed to stagger to the end of one pattern repetition. I would not wish this pain on anyone, especially you, but you have no idea what a relief it is to know that I am not suffering alone.

  211. I’ve had my laugh, thank you from the bottom of my heart and now I’ll just say Lene … you need Lene! Order out of chaos. The ideal organising goddess to up the ante on those knit witches out to get you. It’s a nemesis moment and Lene’s the one for you. Waste not your time on the solo struggle. Send for Lene and be done with it.

  212. LOL, sorry. Your willpower is stronger then mine. After one day, I would have thrown the whole thing in the closet and crumble up the pattern. But, of course, I’d smooth it out knowing that I’ll go back to it again… after I’ve forgotten about it putting me through hell the first time. You know, kind of like child birth. I mean, if we didn’t have the ability to forget things, then we sure as heck wouldn’t let our husbands come near us. …lol

  213. Twins separated at birth! At last I have found you sister! Been there, ripped that ( or actually something else, but just as many times for very similar reasons.) Going for a glass of wine in sympathy and to settle my nerves after reliving the trauma. {{{hugs}}}

  214. I feel your pain. I’ve had the same horrible roller coaster with a simple pair of socks. . . Leyburns, in fact. Mine has lasted for months. Thanks for your post because it reminds me that all knitters have these days. And it’s only knitting, right?

  215. I have to say I poured myself some wine in empathy with you after Weds morning when you forgot to double the yarn! That you continued to try and try again before hitting the sauce shows you are a calmer knitter than I.
    Have a beer and then whip that dang shawl! I know you won’t let some thread and sticks beat you.

  216. It is around attempt #4 or 5 that I would have concluded this yarn does not want to become this pattern and trying to shove them together would be a bit like making Dom Deluise into a ballerina. Awkward, at best, and painful for everyone involved.

  217. Thank the gods…I thought I was the only one…But, of course, for me, substitute plain old knit/purl for all of this aggravation…thank goodness for beer/wine o’clock…which it is…right…now… πŸ™‚

  218. So funny! I am sitting here with tears running down my face. my husband thinks I’m insane. I have to send this link to my friends who knit. Wow, I would have gone for a lot more alcohol. plus chocolate. Do they make chocolate alcohol? and a massage.

  219. I would get even by crocheting that effin yarn into a toilet paper box cover with a matching plastic doll face papertowel holder and a toilet seat cover!! Muwahhhaahaahaa!!!
    Otherwise, Thanks for the laugh and I have felt your pain before, and admiration for your determination! And, a good stiff Crown Royal and Ginger Ale will cure all!

  220. I love you! I have so been there! Right now it is seed stitch with DK weight yarn on size 2 & 3 needles. Did I mention that it is a dark grapey-red tweed and that my living room has inadequate lighting? Did I mention that “said designer” has you knit 10.25 inches of seed stitch on size tiny needles over 109 stitches making the bottom of the back 20 inches wide? Did I mention that this is sweater to a 12-18 months old baby? I have messed up that simple p1,k1,p1 so many times that I am only knitting the sweater during the daytime. Oh, anything for little Morgan!

  221. Oh, wow. You poor dear. Thanks for sharing your pain, though – it was hilarious. In that painful way, though, kinda like watching the Office, where I’m laughing my ass off even as I feel so bad for everyone involved.

  222. This.. THIS right here, is why I don’t do lace.
    I tried to knit a shawl some months ago on some pretty green laceweight and I could not for the life of me get past 2 rows without making a retarded mistake.
    I came to the conclusion I am not blessed by the Lace Fairy and went back to my socks.

  223. You are knitting lace the way I do! I’m on my second forest canopy (not the most difficult of lace patterns) and seems like it’s always knit 3 rows, tink 2 rows, repeat.

  224. So, I gave my husband, a non-knitter, the synopsis of this entry. He said,
    “It’s time to put it in a drawer and knit something else for a while.”
    I agree.

  225. It can be done! I’ve made it twice, but changed it to suit the yarn I selected: no doubled cast on; more stitches in the garter edge and sometimes fewer. Made several adjustments because it’s mine, not Nancy’s. Make it yours, Steph. Consider those stitches lost as a big, big swatch.

  226. Was it Ken who once said something to the effect that not only are you blessed with many wonderful gifts, including generosity on various levels, but that you have more of everything, including the energy for it, than most us mortals. So here you are, again.
    Bless you, and thank you for sharing this misery which the company loved having been shared.

  227. YAY I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!!!!!! though I am truly sorry because I know how much it sucks, though I agree with a few people, when you read it, it’s funnier than watching a drama queen throw her boyfriends clothes out the window, so I’m sure if you realize how funny it is you’ll try again. I wish you luck! and hope it goes way better!

  228. ps. I am definitely with Gretcheng about the universal balance/payback and so forth….. it really may be time to wait it out, as you finally figgered by responding to your socks.

  229. I think Mercury might be in retrograde again. This week I’ve acted like I’m 5 when I’m actually 20. I forgot how to make French Toast, I can’t crochet a circle to save my life, and to top it all out my wallet got stolen because I stupidly left my bag open while trying to crochet said circle on the bus.
    Hang in there, you can so it! πŸ˜€

  230. I am grateful that after all the hours of frustration, you are able to invest the time it took to share it with us, and be so brilliantly funny! I for one am adding “beer o’clock” (and “wine o’clock”, “margarita o’clock”, “chocolate o’clock…) to my vocabulary.

  231. OMG, Stephanie! I am in tears. Too funny. I have been there, done that too many times. Knitting has a way of just walking up to you and smacking you on the side of the head, doesn’t it? Even after a gazllion years of knitting experience. Thwack! Please try again. You’ll get it right the next time. This I guarantee.

  232. oh g*d i SO relate. i just went thru a similar thing with the Nantucket Jacket.
    and its all about lYING SWATCHES.
    enuf said.
    thanks for making me feel normal!

  233. Not to put fear into your heart, but….you do have enough yarn that throwing away two beginnings won’t cause you to run out at the end, right?

  234. I recently finished a lace scarf. For some reason, the simple pattern and my brain did not fit well and I had to rip out many rows many times. I eventually finished it and realized that it doesn’t actually go with anything I own. Oh, and the yarn was quite expensive. So as a follow up, I am now knitting a vest with cables for my daughter-in-law but I had to alter the pattern and I’ve never actually knitted cables before and I can’t understand why nothing is looking quite right… maybe a nice garter scarf WOULD be best.

  235. I find that this always happens to me when my yarn is (I’m just embarrassed to even say these words) trying to tell me that what I’m trying to make it be is not the thing it SHOULD be.
    I just ripped out a gorgeous scarf out of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend because, although I’ve knitted the same scarf out of the same yarn in a different colorway, this colorway had other ideas. After mistake number 780 on four rows? It was clear that yarn was trying to tell me something (besides the fact that I suck as a knitter and am coming down with a cold.) It wanted to be a double moss stitch. Finally, I listened.
    I cursed a lot but I listened.

  236. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! It’s been crazy around here and I needed the laugh. I wish I had never done that myself but perhaps that is what makes it so funny. I made my husband sit down and READ a pattern to me stitch by stitch until I had the foundation row right.

  237. It is so reassuring that this happens to others.
    This typically happens to me when I have mastered the pattern so well, that I get cocky and inevitably muck it up.

  238. This is probably a really good time to go back through your archives and look at those insane Tsock Tsarina socks you knit last year. Might pump you up a little.
    I can’t afford that book right now so I’m refusing to click the link (okay, so I clicked it, but now I’m going to close the page without looking at it…right) but I was wondering your opinion on Judith’s new book. Have you had a chance to look at it?

  239. Thanks for the laugh–I needed it–though I am afraid I really am laughing At you as I don’t imagine you’re laughing at this one just yet!

  240. I believe I will print this entry and laminate it. It will go in my knitting bag – because I know by the Knitting Gods of the Universe, that I too someday, shall face such tribulations, and, amen sister!, I will know your pain and be one with your pain.
    Thank heavens for garter stitch scarves.

  241. I am laughing my ass off, but only because it’s like looking in the mirror, and it’s hard to laugh when you’re the one doing the bonehead stuff. It will all work out in the end assuming you’re not in jail.

  242. Thanks for the laugh, now I would mail the blasted thing to Nancy and tell her to knit it! This is why the wedding shawl that I was working on is not done, The wedding was in November!

  243. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell you this is not the project to be making? Some Noro Striped Scarf therapy may be in order.

  244. Isn’t if funny how our minds just leave our body’s for awhile. I hate it when that happens. πŸ˜‰

  245. OK, I am about 37 levels below you in knitting skill, so I was having this same experience knitting a WASHCLOTH, but I finally had it, I really had it, and was about 7/8 through it, when I had to go to the kitchen and put it down for a moment, and when I came back from the kitchen, I noticed orange yarn trailing from the dog door. The nearly-completed washcloth was out on the back lawn being ripped to shreds by two naughty puppies.

  246. I laughed hysterically… Today I had the WORST DAY I HAVE EVER HAD at work. I got a speeding ticket and broke 4 very important expensive things in a row (mostly not my fault I swear). I wanted to come home and slit my wrists- especially since I have to go back and do it again tomorrow for 9 hours. Your blog was PERFECT!!! Thank you

  247. Okay, that explains why you ripped out all those stitches on a shawl (see 2/25 comments).
    But I agree with everyone else who said it; that yarn REALLY doesn’t want to be a shawl. Maybe it wants to be a hat. . . .

  248. Clearly this yarn does not want to be knit up right now. Put it in time out and c/o for a whole set of dishcloths and show that yarn who’s boss. That’s what I did after casting on and ripping out the same 108 stitches and 12 rows of a nothing little hat pattern that I’ve knit before.

  249. Omg.. hysterically funny description of something we have all done…
    errr.. sorry, ahem, not laughing. seriously I am soo not laughing…. (spews her coffee all over the monitor).. seriously.. choke, cough cough.

  250. whew, I’m absolutely worn out reading this tale of woe. Garter stitch scarves are so relaxing aren’t they. Good luck on your next attempt – if there is one.

  251. I spewed out my coffee by the time I started reading about Wednesday morning. Thank you for the laugh!

  252. Stop trying so hard, and it’ll come to you.
    I also wanted to say thank you so very much for your story about the old knitters in your last book, that was a very touching essay that made me cry. I will be sure to watch my great aunt Frohnie (who is 96 million years old) to see if her hands crochet when she’s not aware that she is. Beautiful story, thank you. I hope you read this comment and know how you touched my heart.

  253. bwa ha ha ha ha!!! ahhhh … welcome to my ‘Cardigan for Arwen’ which is now on its way to becoming a lovely shawl collar cardigan that my dog could knit. In his sleep. That’ll teach those reversible cables!

  254. How do you even have the patience to keep trying? I would have given up after the the third or fourth try and said, “I’ll knit a different shawl.”
    I commend you for your persistance….well…as long as it lasted.

  255. Thank you for sharing such painful frustrations with humor. I have received faith from this to just take a step back, re-re-re-re-re-re-read and keep giving it another go (if I am sure the pattern isn’t nuts). I hope your next attempt makes it out of harbour.

  256. I’d have been suicidal or homicidal after the second or third frogging. Thank you so much for being so honest and being so funny. You and your blog are a treasure.

  257. There are times when the best thing to do is fling needles and yarn across the room and pick up something else start to unwavering finish to make it jealous so it’ll behave itself.

  258. I love that pattern – it’s on my to-do list. However, I couldn’t find a description for the ‘3-st cross’ in the Left Center and Right Center charts. It says ‘see Stitch Guide’, but I didn’t find it there. That doesn’t mean it’s not there (sometimes I fail to see obvious things) – I’ll feel like an idiot if you tell me “It’s right there on page xxx”, but I’d still like to know.
    Now, I can figure out how to do something that will involve a cross and keep the stitch count right, but I’d be really interested to know what the Estonian stitch is. Does anyone know? Is it in the book somewhere that I just didn’t spot?

  259. Poor Stephanie Knitter. Yea! Stephanie Writer!
    Buck up. Did you offer the Knitting Goddesses their own bottle of wine? Maybe they have it in with Fortuna ( what goes up- handspun, handknit, FLS perfection- must go down-frogged Estonian shawls) Maybe they need eyeballs on simple mittens, for their stewpot. Maybe they need garter stitch scarves. Maybe their feet are cold.

  260. I understand totally how you feel! Recently I kept casting on hundreds of stitches and then having to rip out and recast on because I couldn’t keep the right number in my head. The wrong number of stitches kept sticking with me. I drove myself crazy. Usually I’ll then put the project away for a few days for a cooling off period!! Don’t give up πŸ™‚

  261. Thank you! I have only been knitting (both knits and purls) for about 2 months and with all my mess ups I am glad to hear that even the BEST have days that are “fun”.

  262. I totally understand. The same thing happened to me just last night. The only difference was I was working on torchen bobbin lace with thread that is hard to see at the best of times. I had to undo 30 rows and now have sore fingers from pulling pins, eyes from trying to see the thread and sore brain from praying I didn’t break said thread. Good luck you have my sympathy.

  263. I feel so validated. (sorry about that) As a beginner knitter, I feel so lame so often. But then I see that a pro (the one who is helping me build confidence) can truly go lame on occasion. It is oddly inspiring in a humanizing way. And I mean that in the kindest way possible!

  264. Oh! Poor you! Gosh. I am sending happy knitting vibes your way!
    I am going through a similar thing, only far more pathetic in its simplicity. I have cast on for the Fetching mittens 8…yes, 8 times. Gauge is way off, stitches fall off my dpns, I do the ribbing wrong. I don’t know what else I can mess up that I haven’t already messed up. It is feeling ridiculous.

  265. This so reminded me of the sweater from hell I am perservering with in knitting. Your rants in your first book directed at the wonderful designer echoes my thoughts on this one (a toddler sweater that the gauge hasn’t matched on, despite swatching, have dropped needle sizes 4 times, and have started and ripped EACH SECTION at least once, and the back 6 times… If it weren’t for the fact that I love the finished product’s look and my dear grandson is worth it, I would have quit long ago!
    Thanks for the laugh. You have my condolences!

  266. One of the reasons we love you so much is that you actually ADMIT to your screw-ups. We (and you) know that you knit beautifully and have turned out some amazingly beautiful work…and have also managed to make errors that that make you want to crawl under the bed and sob. SO DO WE! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being one of us!

  267. I just wanted to be comment #331.
    the new number of the devil.
    Alas, I just got back from work and had nothing to drink, so I’m not seeing double. πŸ˜‰
    Good luck, I hate projects like that. Hopefully it will even out.

  268. I so needed to read this. Thanks. Here’s cheers to how beautiful the damn thing will be when it’s done.

  269. Oh my goodness. I am sitting here shaking my head with an understanding smirk on my face. I have so been there that I could have written this. The good word is that I finished my lace shawl after after going through something like this and it is one of my most favorite pieces I have knit. I too believe taking a reprieve with socks does a lot to restore some sanity. I am sure you will cast on and now all the bad karma is gone and it will go much more easily. If not, take another beer break.

    (translation: it wasn’t me this time!)

  271. I’ve had it happen – & usually to really simple patterns. I think some projects are just jinxed. I’ve also had beautiful yarn that just looked like crap in every project I started with it. Maybe a little voodoo might help.

  272. Yes, you are doing the right thing. Actually, another noro stripe might be good too. Treat this like an injury. A sprain or strain. You must rest your knitting mojo and take a little physical therapy. All will be better in two or three days.
    Trust me…I know about this.

  273. Seriously though, you get points for fortitude. In my house, the shawl would have been in its baskets and I in my cups LONG before that!

  274. OMG I’ve been killing myself over a KAL mystery lace shawl thing that I cannot get right, and blaming myself up and down. I ended up putting it aside for a few months and I still am not daring to pick it up again.
    Thank you for your pain.

  275. You’re never going to read this but I had to ask, are those Signature needles in the picture??? And a gentle hug for all the problems!I keep ripping back a pair of mittens that I don’t like how they keep coming out.

  276. Well, at least it’s Toots LeBlanc yarn so you’re getting to enjoy it over and over again. Because it is wondrous yarn. And knitting it ONLY once would be a damn shame. A damned crying shame. Good luck.

  277. I’m sorry. I really am. I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help myself. It makes me feel infinitely better that you have projects like the rest of us. Even the mighty Harlot can have stupid moments or projects where things just don’t click. So, I’m really sorry the shawl is kicking your ass, but thanks for being human.

  278. you have alot of courage…I would have given up after the 3rd rip! your project is jinxed…either the wool or the pattern…never touch it again…it’s evil! LOL

  279. I believe it was Nicky Epstein who once suggested that – in the face of a particular troublesome spot with one’s knitting – one should take a break and consume a piece of chocolate before going back and trying again. And yes, I’d consider an entire pan of brownies to be one piece. Well, it was one singular piece before the necessary cutting…
    Hang in there!

  280. Perhaps this means I am now safe to begin knitting this shawl, as you seem to have worked through enough difficulties to make it an easy knit for all other knitters.

  281. Reminds me of my Shadow Knitting, Japanese Kimono. I started over 3 times (getting about 5″ done on the cuff-sleeve area): by the 3rd time, I had switched to size 2 needles, which the pattern had called for from the start, and informed my sister that the sweater might not fit her, but that I wasn’t starting over again. Fortunately, she is very patient and will wait for the Next Sweater.

  282. I hope you don’t mind me saying so..but you really made me laugh. I’m sorry…I have done that so many times. It’s just not that funny when it happens to you..I know. *huggs*

  283. I’ve definitely been there! Ah, what a not-so-lovely place to visit in Knittersville.
    I LOVE all your books, by the way! πŸ™‚

  284. I am stunned at your perseverance. After three castons in mohair lace for a shawl, all of which went wrong, I have thrown it away into the depths of the stash never to see daylight again.

  285. I was going to say rip it out and start a simple dishcloth but a garter stitch scarf will accomplish the same thing πŸ˜‰

  286. I cannot tell you how very glad I am I’m not the only knitter that does stuff like this. I sympathize entirely, hon.

  287. “Put down the needles, step away from the lace.” I think you did the right thing, returning to the 2×2 ribbing. Maybe the universe just doesn’t want you to knit lace right now? Or have you perhaps angered the lace gnomes?

  288. I think I will save this post for my bad days. I laughed out loud, and honestly I just feel better that the knitting elves aren’t particular who they mess with.
    Thank you.

  289. Oh man, I feel for you. But maybe….just maybe, the yarn is trying to tell you something? Like maybe it doesn’t want to be that particular shawl?

  290. Oh thank God it’s not just me. I seriously could not think about how one knits garter stitch in the round last night, in needing for the brim of a hat. I decided that the purl side of stockinette looks like garter stitch, so I did that then turned the knitting inside out… all the while conveniently forgetting what’s on the other side. STOCKINETTE STITCH. AS A BRIM. *facepalm*

  291. I just don’t think the universe wants you to knit another shawl, honestly. You make lovely shawls, but this sounds like a cosmic way of telling you to knit something else.

  292. i actually knit all the way through the first chart of that pattern then pulled it off of the needles becase 3 strands of jojoland harmony may be thick enough but the color blend looked like vomit, oh well, im going to try the knitpicks wool/silk sock yarn next

  293. OMG that’s so funny (and sad too!) I know it’s sad for you and I feel your pain and all, but in my knitting life that is way closer to my normal knitting than you might think! I took Nancy’s class at SOAR and I was really, really, happy that I finished 1/2 of my sampler. It’s not the knitting, it’s my brain. Knitters with brain injuries beware, lace knitting is definitely a determination tester. Since I’ve been known in my family as being more stubborn than rocks, I knit the occasional lace piece. I have to because it’s so darn beautiful and Nancy had all those amazingly beautiful shawls and I want one, so I knit. I also have a really hard time casting on that many stitches. Math and counting are really a pain in the butt for me. Maggie Righetti said in her book that almost everyone can reliably count to 20 and she’s right! Even I can most of the time. So I put a marker every 20 stitches and when I have what I think is the correct number of stitches I count it again. Then, if I come up with the same number again, I have my husband or son count it for me. Especially if it’s over 100 stitches because it seems my brain really fries itself after 100 LOL! I understand your pain and frustration, even though I think you just said all that to make knitters like me feel better. I think you deserve a wicked beer. May I suggest a Dixie Blackened Voodoo Beer. Not only will it make you feel better, but it might just lift the knitting hex. Good luck on your mission!

  294. Oh and ps, I’m now knitting a sock pattern (a *sock* pattern that is mostly stockinette at that!) that I have ripped and reknit 5 times (usually from somewhere near the gusset… but it is really a very strange gusset, I swear) and made me so crazy that I had to put it away for 4 months. I sooooo feel your pain.

  295. If laughing my arse of resulted in a smaller arse, I’d be a size 2 after that…but don’t feel bad…I’ve been knitting my whole life, have knit 2 Clapotis (a few years ago, but still) and somehow have lost the ability to count to three. Clapotis FAIL

  296. Did you just keep starting over so you would have the funniest blog post of the year? ’cause you do! Thanks for making my day. (Gee – you have a lot of blog friends!!

  297. That makes me feel a lot better: I started the Waves of Grain lacy scarf 18 times. I’m still only about two thirds of the way up the first chart as I’m afraid of making another mistake and completely losing my grip…

  298. Poor you. I sympathise. I had a similar experience with some sock yarn recently. I don’t know how many times I frogged and reknit it before I found the pattern that it liked. I think you will just have to come to terms with the fact that that yarn just does not want to be that shawl. Yarn has a mind of its own and this one is not happy with that particular pattern.
    Hope you have recovered from the trauma by now – have another beer/glass of wine :o)

  299. I feel so much better now. I’ve had a similar week except mine involved 2×2 ribbing and a sock. I really wondered if my IQ had suddenly dropped. I didn’t keep track but I counted wrong several times, twisted my join at least TWICE. A couple of times I got through the ribbing and then messed up the pattern after a few rows. I started again last night and carefully put it aside when things seemed to be going OK. I’m almost afraid to look at it this morning.

  300. Wow and I thought I had perseverance! I can totally understand thinking “Now this time I will get it right”. You have my sympathy and admiration!

  301. I recently started my first stranded knitting project after roughly 30 years of knitting (!). The first pattern repeat went great and I was feeling all proud of myself thinking that I might actually be able to knit like a grownup after all, and then yesterday it all went to hell. I could not manage my floats or my tension to save my life and by dinnertime I was about ready to poke my eyeballs out with a shrimp fork. But not before throwing all of my yarn and needles into the trash and setting it on fire.
    It helps a lot to know that even expert knitters have major issues sometimes. You may have just saved my knitting career. Thank you.

  302. Thanks Stephanie….for letting us all know we’re not alone. You get extra points for perserverence. And I know this beautiful yarn will grow up into an amazing shawl….with stories to tell. πŸ™‚

  303. Dear YarnHarlot,
    I regret to inform you that your needles are cursed. They confessed to me (via e-mail) that they are allergic to the type of yarn that you insist on knitting this lace shawl with. They really hoped that you would notice that they have been messing up in hopes that you would view this project in a different light.
    They can now see that their actions have made you more determined to see this project through. So, what they are proposing is that you dip them in a Margarita pre and post knitting. This will distract them from thier allergy and allow them to loosen up a bit.
    Good luck and may the knitting Gods be with you.

  304. My Fave in the book – plan to do this as my next project for my Mum.
    Steph please tell me the charts you photocopied were from Interweave Webpage as there are (please get a beer & sit down if this is new news to you) errors on the charts in the book.
    I know it will be beautiful once you complete it. At times like this Thank God for socks to knit!

  305. You have no idea how comforting this is — I thought I was the only knitter in the world who did this sort of thing!! Next time it happens I shall think of you and feel much better … plus, I hope, try to imitate your saintly patience (though I doubt it). You didn’t mention what you were actually SAYING during all this??
    Tell the shawl in no uncertain terms that you’ll curse it if it plays up again ….

  306. Thank you for becoming a human knitter!!! Even though I have been knitting longer than you, I still make really stupid mistakes and it makes me feel good to know I am in the company of greatness.

  307. > You know I love your blog. And it really does make me feel better that sometimes you makes some mistakes. Maybe that sounds bad but I screw up all the time. I knit slow.
    This might be as good as the Joe-truck-snow-stuck incident. I alway read that when I need a good chuckle. πŸ™‚
    I know you will persevere and the shawl will be lovely.

  308. BTW – I would have said f*** it by Monday night. I totally admire your stubborness in working on this project.

  309. Uh, Steph, before you rip again and restart that same shawl, check the amount of usable yardage you have left. If the knitting goddesses are being so ornery already, they may not be done with you. I live in Southern Indiana and I think I’d be able to hear your wail if you ran out of yarn before you finished the project.

  310. I think lace is of the devil….very pretty, enticing, “what could be hard about a few YO’s and K2tog”, then it gets you….just like other addictions. πŸ™‚

  311. Laughed till I cried…My co-workers think I am a crackpot and I now need to go repair my face:)
    My sympathies..cannot wait to see the cursed shawl:)

  312. I had a similar experience with the Tuscany Shawl. That yarn is still in time out. From two summers ago. It may be ready to come out and play nice now. Maybe.

  313. I have to be honest. I would never, ever knit that after all that happened. I did that so many times with a hat once. I even got someone else to start it for me after the bazillionth time. Then I made a mistake that involved ripping back to the CO row which made no sense so I ripped it out and started over and after a week of this, I gave up. The yarn’s in my drawer. I won’t even look at it. I adore that yarn, but the idea of knitting that hat just kills me!

  314. So sorry to hear about the trouble, but it’s reassuring to those of us that are rookie lace knitters that even the highly-experienced can have issues with lace.
    That said, have you considered maybe this is Joe’s gansey interfering and saying ‘finish me already?’

  315. oh dear.
    am i wrong, or do things with this project seem to go better after beer o’clock? just sayin’.

  316. Oh, wow. I am so sorry for you pain. I thought I was suffering when I had to start a little kid’s sock over five times. It only had 52 stitches. Put the project in the time-out closet. Wait until someone else on Ravelry has knitted it. Maybe there are mistakes in the chart. Not Nancy’s mistakes, of course. Evil publishing mistakes.

  317. And yet it’s very comforting to know that even a pro like you can become frustrated with this craft! It validates all my cursing!

  318. I love how you write, jut like your thinking, like it’s going on in my head. I’ve just been through a similar situation, but thankfully not with fine yarn, mine was with worsted weight..thank was so bad that I stayed up until 2AM..when I got up the next day I didn’t even get dressed..I was at it again…I wasn’t going to be cleaning, no food shopping…no combing of the brushing of the teeth..all day I worked at it until…..YES, I figured it out…I’m not going to embarress my self by telling you what pattern stumped me..all that matters is that I beat reading this today after the day I had yesterday was particularly funny…I kept chanting yes, yes, I know..inbetween laughing of course.

  319. The good news is that once you and the mojo reunite you will LOVE knitting Miralda. I know I did!!
    I’ve done 3 of the shawls already (Madli, Crown Prince and Miralda) and the nupps are calling me back……
    (There are a couple of errata in the charts so do check them out if you haven’t already.)

  320. That kind of experience would make me fall entirely out of love with the project. And for me, starting something new is like having a good crush. But add in too much frustration from whatever source and my fickle self will find something else to light my fire.

  321. Oh no, no! You should have tossed it in the basket much earlier! I have a “third time’s a charm” rule. If a project’s not working by the third try, it’s going in Time Out, at least overnight.

  322. That yarn does not want to be made into that shawl. No way, no how. I know its a great yarn and all but…maybe it just isnt meant to be.

  323. After the third time the rule is: Have Joe read the instructions to me one-line-at-a-time.
    This is why I have laceaphobia. I couldn’t get simple ‘crest o wave’ right to save myself.

  324. I completely sympathize. You know, sometimes it’s nice to hear that a knitter as epic as you makes the same dummy mistakes that I do… some projects are cursed, it seems. πŸ™‚

  325. I feel your pain – – I’ve made dumb mistakes too. Deep breaths girl, deep breaths — don’t pick it up and try again for at least a few days. Give yourself a major break. You are brilliant and a brilliant knitter – – you will be fine.

  326. Frack frackety frackin’ frack FRACK! I’m so there. Always good to have some tv knitting lying around to put it all behind you.

  327. This is pretty much how knitting my wedding stole is going…I have had this problem before and I am determined to beat her into submission…even if I lose my mind

  328. Okay, so the first time I tried lace knitting I went through many of the same trials that you have described.
    Copied the pattern, read it through, thought “How hard can this lace thing be, really…”
    I began the project when my boyfriend and I were on a weekend vacation with knitters and non-knitters. My frustration level finally got so high that my boyfriend decided to read the knitting pattern aloud to me so I could follow along and hopefully get the hand of it. He is not a knitter and had never read a chart before…picture a bunch of holiday-makers sitting on a deck with drinks and one patient boyfriend reading “empty square, empty square, left slash, open circle, right slash, empty square”.
    Picture me…knitting with yarn that might as well be invisible it’s so thin, and then picture my friends who (knitters and non knitters) can now recite the pattern from memory, and do…lace is looking like, well, nothing like it should.
    I threw the whole thing into the sea and had a Bloody Mary.
    The only good thing that came out of that experience is that all of our friends think that my boyfriend has a shining future in reading knitting patterns to groups of frustrated knitters. Or maybe it’s a new NPR show…’Knitting on the Radio”
    I feel your pain.

  329. I laughed almost as hard as when I read the “Joe stuck in the truck” post! I agree with Lori above, I think the yarn just doesn’t want to be a shawl.

  330. Oh man. I totally feel your pain. I have ripped out the ‘Hudson Hat’ 3 flippin’ times now. It’s a HAT. Not even a fancy hat (extremely cute but not tech. difficult). I blame it on the fact that it is 90 DEGREES here in Austin and it isn’t even MARCH yet.
    I wish you the best of luck in finishing your project!!!
    (love reading your blog btw)

  331. I am in awe for at least two reasons: 1) How do you make something so repetitive so absolutely hilarious and gripping? I couldn’t stop reading! 2) You didn’t stop trying over and over again. I have set aside a project for months over much less. Carry on.

  332. So often I read your words and think I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing your pain. It’s comforting to hear that it can happen to the best of us.
    My husband thinks I’m mad whenever he sees me frogging. I often hear the words, “You are such a perfectionist” (I’m not) and “No one will even notice!”(I will.)

  333. hi! I think you have reached the point where you invite some talented knitter friend over for beer o’clock and convince said talented friend to cast on and knit the first few rows. Or at least get said friend to work the shawl in tandem with you so you are both doing the same steps at pretty much the same time – then you will likely notice if one of you is doing something differently.
    What happened to you and your knitting is not really funny, but your writing about it is hysterical.

  334. Now, where I think you’re brave is taking it to knitting night…. I find that sort of thing I have to do when I’m totally alone, no television, no radio, no ‘puter no nothing. Once it gets settled of course, it’s fine – and you’ll get it right in the end, of course. But maybe another project first?
    (I had to restart my current project – a baby sweater – five or six times as I didn’t like the pattern as it was and was adapting and then decided I didn’t want an invisible cast-on, which was a Big Mistake…. and so on. But that was only 69 stitches, except I think I’ve knitted the back as 68 stitches, BUT TOUGH.).

  335. I was about to start a project from this book. Since I’m pregnant and beer o’clock won’t come around here until October, maybe I will wait until then.

  336. You realize, though, that your ability to turn a truly traumatic, horrible yarn event into prose that makes us giggle like maniacs is why we love you. I’m truly sorry that this happened to you… but I’m so happy you were able to write about it!

  337. OK, now I don’t feel nearly so stupid and pissed about having to rip out 2 sleeves because the handspun yarns aren’t anywhere near enough a close match. And that I kept knitting even though this little voice whispered “maybe you should check to see if they match” and I didn’t pay attention when that little voice said “you KNOW you should be knitting both sleeves simultaniously to even out the inconsistencies in the 2 balls of yarn” but I didn’t want to stop and go buy a matching circ needle so I could do this very thing.
    I feel your pain, you have my sympathy and empathy–blame it on the alignment of the planets!

  338. I am so, so sorry for your trauma. I get that this is knitting and not brain surgery (no one dies if I have to rip or tink) but still, ouf. This post proves to me that I am a process knitter, though. I would definitely have tried the pattern without doubled yarn Monday, added or subtracted until I got the number of stitches I needed, etc. Yes, this meant my first scarf was sort of a zig-zaggy thing, but it was for my two-year-old nephew, and he loved it. My second project was a hat. It came out large enough to fit a large Halloween jack-o-lantern on steroids, but my nephew loved it too. I don’t think he wore it much, but it apparently was a very serviceable security blanket. He shared it with his rocking horse and nobody else. Ever. I wonder how much of the process/product thing has to do with what else we do in our lives. I’m a professional pianist, and I am totally a product pianist. I think this is why I’m a process knitter. Who may never ever get involved with something as big as a lace shawl. Too scary. πŸ™‚

  339. We’re laughing with you… not at you. We’re laughing because we’ve been there. Oh, we HAVE been there.
    Also wanted to say thanks for the nifty ssk cast off you mentioned in the Gansey class at Madrona. I have used it many times since.

  340. Stephanie, I so commiserate with you. I have not knit as long as you, nor knit as prolifically as you do, so it does my heart good to know that even you have these knitting snafu’s. I was trying to knit two baby blankets for some twins that were recently born. Well, 900 tries later, I have decided that it is not meant to be and have not knit anything, as it would seem that I have gone into the incompetent zone for a while. It galls my ego that I cannot seem to master two sinple lacy blankets, but so be it. My knitting zen went somewhere else, and I just need to do something else til it comes back. Thank you for a terrific blog and inspiration!!

  341. I totally feel your pain, and you’ve done the right thing. Put down the yarn, and walk away. A few hours/days in timeout will teach the shawl who’s boss.

  342. This is the funniest thing I’ve read in about, well, ever. I have SOOOO done the same, at least similar, thing. Actually, I am in awe of your perseverence…..I have a Birch shawl started in KSH….it has been sitting in my knitting basket for two years. It has one row on the needles….I simply could not move forward or back.

  343. My sympathies! Sometimes it just doesn’t want to be. Another reason to knit from the top – no massive number of stitches to cast on so if you goof up you have only a few to rip.
    Have a beer on me and go find another pattern!

  344. This reminds me of myself. lol
    I am totally impressed by your determination. I would probably have gone so far as to make someone from my knitting group count the cast on for me as well, just to be on the safe side.
    I refuse to let a little thing like casting on 10,000 times in a row for a knitted item defeat me. Perhaps this is why I have very few finished projects. lol
    So what color is Miralda going to be in?

  345. Oh Stephanie, I am knitting the exact same shawl, just started it on Wednesday and have made several rookie mistakes myself, I even went to my local yarn shop for help becasue I couldn’t figure out how it was all going so wrong. After reading your story of woe, I don’t think it’s us, I think the pattern may be cursed. I am still knitting my shawl and for the moment things seem to be going well, but I am knitting a little more slowly and stopping to check and recheck. I think I’m only on row 6 or 7. And your right, the pattern isn’t particularly hard. I hope you will try knitting your shawl again, I can’t wait to see how yours turns out. But for now, enjoy your Garter stitch therapy :o)

  346. Gremlins! I blame it on Gremlins, or the Moon and her wily ways. Having felt your pain on the project currently on the needles –rippit, knitit, tink, tink– I resorted to talking to the Gremlins. Apologizing for having ignored this project for over a year, owning up to the fact that it was my comeuppance for the neglect. A week of penance and they have moved on …maybe to your place, and I’m knitting along on my first semi-lace Faroese shawl.
    To kate r., 27Feb 10:25am: I laughed almost as hard at your tale as our beloved YarnHarlot’s report. The words from each of you paint pictures that I can see, I can feel the air and hear the sounds. Thank you all, Stephanie, Kate R. and The Blog. I am not alone

  347. I admire your perseverence and determination, but this yarn and pattern are just BAD NEWS. They do not want to be knit. Give the yarn away (yes, that is drastic and painful); tell yourself you have enough shawls (probably true), and immerse yourself in a yarn delicious in both colour and texture, as a comfort food. After all you’ve only just come out of knitting with that spectacularly beautiful brick and amethyst home-spun, which must have been a constant feast for the soul! Return to yummy colours and you’ll soon feel better. Oh yes, and have some more wine.

  348. You are a better knitter than I am! I never would have lasted that long. After at most the second rip-out, I would have gone back to the sock on needles, wound the ripped yarn and put it back where it came from (in stash) to be dealt with sometime in the future when the memory of this debacle has blurred beyond recalling. I feel your pain……….

  349. I’m a firm believer that every cloud has a silver lining, the glass is half full, look on the bright side, etc. However, the only bright side I see in your situation, isn’t for you. It’s for all of us in blogland who are reacting by re-reading our patterns, re-counting our stitches, and telling ourselves “Well, at least I only had to rip it out twice!” You have my utmost sympathy and my hopes that when the shawl is ready to be knit, everything will proceed smoothly.

  350. Clearly this pattern does not love you. Chuck it in the trash and forget you ever saw its handsome face beckoning to you from behind a veil of deception. It does not have your best interests in mind. Kick it to the curb.

  351. I work at a yarn store in San Diego, CA. I help people with problems like this ALL THE TIME. I frequently will take over for someone on the brink and Cast-on the stitches and work past the part that has slowly eaten away at their soul. If you like, I would gladly do the same for you. πŸ™‚
    Of course, you might run the risk of “loosing the yarn in the mail” depending on how nice this angora yarn is. πŸ˜€

  352. Dare I say it out loud. I have had similar “experiences” with a Nancy Bush pattern. I have not picked the book up in 2 years. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the pattern – well not completely, I did finally find a correction…. My husband knows when to leave the room – when he hear’s the first – VERY LOUD – “this couldn’t possibly right!”. He’s a goner til I either figure it out or move on to something else. But thanks for the enjoyable morning laugh. So sorry it was at your expense.

  353. As Charles Darwin’s birthday has just passed… I am thinking that evolution must have proceeded something like this. That silly fish pulling itself up out of the water a thousand times, no, a million, before it finally became a tadpole or whatever. … After two dozen tries your cast-ons might just evolve into a beautiful shawl… I can only marvel at your persistence. Cheers!

  354. Oh you poor dear! Someday you will laugh about this–because I know most of us did. πŸ™‚ Have you considered that perhaps the yarn wants to be something else, and it’s not really you? Perhaps that yarn has a powerful sense of itself and will do everything to thwart you until you succumb to its wishes. I applaud your efforts and your wisdom in picking up a simple project to cool off and remind yourself that you do indeed like knitting.

  355. I’m convinced…there are just some things that aren’t meant to be knit.
    Think of how many socks you could have knitted with this sort of determination?! πŸ˜‰

  356. Thank you. Both for the laugh – which I desperately needed – and for reminding me that I’m not the only one who does stuff like this.
    Garter stitch sounds like a perfect cure. I’m doing a baby surprise jacket (a little too complicated, but there’s a kid on the way among my friends) in between lunatic lace projects that sound much like the one you’re trying to knit.
    Uh. Good luck. Excellent wine application, keep up with that, it’ll help. Maybe some chocolate in times of great angst, too.

  357. Thank you.
    After spending 4 hours last night watching the flood waters approach my house (we’ve flooded twice in 13 months), check and recheck the flood valve eleventythousand times, do the same thing to both sump pumps, lose my boot to the mud, and step in same mud with a BARE foot….then go out and help the neighborhood men clear the debris from the sewer grates for an hour…to then see the flood receed with no flooded basement.
    Thank you, I needed that laugh.

  358. OMG I laffed till I cried! There must be a technical term for this kind of, well, it’s certainly MORE than a mental hiccup!
    I will now share this with my knitting students to give them strength.

  359. Wow. You are perserverence personified. Yes, knitting has taught me much patience, but I would have broken long ago.

  360. Thank you for sharing your humanness!! The only thing missing is your husband asking you why you like to knit in the first place.

  361. And I thought I was the only one this happened to.
    Just let it marinate in the back of your brain
    and the next time will be better. The neural network needs a rest.

  362. Oh, I howled. That is so me…I can’t read directions for the life of me…but in the end I’m in awe of your perseverence. I guess you’ve given me something to aspire to.

  363. I’ve had projects begin like this. Days when I wonder how I’m still walking around as I’m so damned stupid.
    As others have suggested, let the yarn and pattern sit in a corner for a while, then go back to it. Suddenly it will all be easy.

  364. Oh, I so admire your perseverance. I would probably have taken scissors to it after the fourth or fifth try. In fact, that might have happened once. Well, okay — twice — in the past.

  365. I am having a similar experience with a sweather involving slip stitch cables. It’s been two weeks and I’m on row three of the back. But I will persevere, thanks to you.

  366. It’s probably no consolation to know this happens to crocheters, too, except that it’s easier to rip back crochet–no tinking necessary. But I’m making a 33-round doily, and so far I’ve crocheted about 40 rounds, having redone half of 28 and 29 three times before I got them right, and experiencing similar issues on the 520-stitch round 32. I’m afraid to keep working on round 33, for fear I’ll find another round 32 glitch.
    Good luck. You’ll beat it into submission.

  367. Oh Stephanie, how awful. It gives me hope, though, that someone as accomplished a knitter as you can once in a while have a weird day (or two). I do hope today (Friday) and tomorrow find you back to your knitterly self. πŸ™‚ Sending a hug in sympathy,

  368. Oy vey! What a nightmare. I am totally there with you. I am a new-ish knitter and the first time I tried lace was with a mohair blend of lovely Rowan yarn and that’s when I learned that I couldn’t count. I let it sleep on the needles for months I was so mad. Then I finally ripped it out and tried something else. Sometimes I think there’s a weird karma thing and THAT yarn and THAT pattern just aren’t going to work for a particular person. Not that you should give up. . .I’m just sayin’

  369. Thank you! Thank you! First for the smile, second for letting us know that even the world’s best knitters can sometimes encounter a pattern/yarn/project that get the better of them! You’ve made all of us feel better even though you probably feel like another beer. Here’s to a happy garter stitch scarf!!!

  370. L M B O !!!! I’m so sorry LOL but gee, you must have been watching me cast on the afghan I’m currently on LOL!!! Excuse me, I have to go wipe the tears from my eyes LOL it will get better, promise.

  371. This is SO me! I’m sorry for your pain, but I LMAO! Too funny. And isn’t it amazing how flexible beer o’clock actually is?

  372. Dude. That shawl would NOT be knit, by me at least!!! I would knit 10 things in place of it, to make myself feel better, but I WOULD NOT knit that shawl. Stinkin’ shawl.

  373. Wow. Thank you first for giving in to The Blog. We asked for details and you gave them. In heart-breaking detail. Never let it be said that you do not have our best intentions in mind.
    Thank you second for the (gorily and dramatically illustrated) warning about the patterns in that book. I tend to stalk my projects (because if I approach them head-on they might get frightened and scamper off, leaving with with empty needles and a broken heart) or we have a veeery long courtship period (because my knitting is finiky. I’ve learned this. We cope.) so one would hope that those things coupled with the warnings of you and others here in the comments will give me a healthy dose of reality. Because I love that book and can’t wait to cast something on.
    You must keep us informed, and let us know if it does indeed get easier.
    Also bear in mind: the sun is setting over the yardarm somewhere. And if it’s not beer’o’clock where you are, that probably means it’s wiskey-thirty.

  374. OMG, I thought I was the only one! I am taking Estonian Lace knitting lessons from a real live Estonian woman who knits, without using a chart or anything, the most exquisite lace shawls. I am doing a teensy little scarf (cast on 53) and have ripped it out 5 times already and will be ripping back to my lifeline when I can stand to look at it again. I feel your pain!

  375. I have a term for what you’re going through and I know it well: Knitter’s Impotence. For me, it comes when I need a new project to inspire and I can’t come UP with anything.

  376. My deepest sympathies, really . . . I ache from your trauma. Bad, bad, bad. Maybe Nancy could start it for you. Just the first couple of rows. Call her and ask.

  377. Sounds like you’ve been living Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, only for knitters. Honest, there will be a happy ending when you get it right:-)

  378. Oh, thank you for this post! I have a hat that I’m trying to make (with sock yarn) that needs to be ripped back for the 7th or 8th time. It is staring at me now..quite smugly.

  379. It is times like this that “time-outs” were invented for…would this yarn and the book like to join the men working sweater in my closet for a little wee while????
    Thanks for sharing your human-ness with us!

  380. Poor Harlot…..welcome to my world. I have cast on and ripped out Rowans “Birch” so many times that I can’t bear to look at it again!
    Maybe you should try another cowl…or FLS

  381. At least you keep us in “stitches”. P.S. Looking forward to the Sock Summit. I already have it on my vacation calendar at work!

  382. We like knitting. We like knitting. Just try to keep telling yourself that.
    On a related note…any idea how many stitches you’ve cast on in the last few days? I think you’re getting dangerously close to a bajillion. You might disrupt the time space continuum with all that rippage…how funny, maybe your 13th time will be the charm!

  383. I’ve been there, others have been there. What got me through it was remembering … The only difference between a new knitter and an experienced knitter is the experienced knitter has made more mistakes. My question is: When do I qualify as an experienced knitter? Because challenges such as these do take their toll. You can do this, give a rest and tackle it in the future. You are not alone.

  384. You are far more of a perfectionist than I. I would have lived with the Tuesday morning mistake and just kept calm and carried on from there … to new mistakes. Otherwise, I totally get it. I think being an experienced knitter can make one sloppy. Oh for the no-mind of the beginner!

  385. Bless you bless you bless you. Been there been there been there. Just never articulated it “out loud”. Enjoy the garter stitch. The mojo will return.

  386. Wow. I had a similar experience when trying to knit my brother a sweater from handspun… I knit like three full sized swatches (and I mean full) by the time I figured out that I have not been spinning long enough to succeed – moved on to store bought yarn and a pattern. I felt like a dumbass, and then reminded myself that the reason the Yarn Harlots stuff is so pretty is because she has been knitting for longer than I have been alive and that I should go easy on myself (feel yourself on a little pedestal? Its okay, its just an infatuation and I’m not moving to ontario to stock you. I’m moving there to keep bees. Bees I tell you.)
    This confirms it – it is okay to make mistakes. Even lots of dumb ones, because if we were perfect, there is no way we would feel like being humble.
    Thank you for being a knitter.

  387. Smart move to start knitting something else. This just isn’t the right time for that project!
    Thanks for sharing, I feel better about my numerous mistakes.

  388. Oh, my. I’m so sorry for your loss (of knitting mojo).
    If it helps any, most of us do something like this. Please don’t ask me how many times I’ve started my Ravelympics sweater. Especially because I finished it, ripped it out, and then restarted it several *more* times. My goal is to have it finished by the time the Winter Olympics start.

  389. I absolutely cannot tell you how much better your ‘shawl’ story makes me feel! I assume you now have not enough yarn for the shawl? Probably a good thing.

  390. Thank God its not just me. I thought it was just me, I really did. I thought I was the only one to do that with a pattern. At this point though, I would have declared it liquor o’clock. Beer is just not strong enough sometimes. :0)

  391. You are a better woman than I am for sure, but I always knew that. I would have tossed that project in the corner on Monday night.
    Like I always said to my knitting students: read the pattern through before beginning. Like a recipe that states “let rise for 2 hours” or “let marinate for 24 hours”, you need to know ahead of time what’s coming…if you want to eat in 30 minutes, try a different recipe!
    Hope you have a great weekend. Garter stitch to the rescue!

  392. Am in awe at your sticktoitivness. But slightly worried by your obsessivivity. (That is too a word, to coin a phrase.)
    Um. Scarf sounds nice!

  393. My dear Stephanie, I have been knitting longer than you are old (okay I started when I was in first grade, but still..). I teach other people how to knit. I have been knitting lace and cables since I was a teenager. I make up most of my own designs from complete scratch. People sometimes look at my original sweaters and shawls and say “ooh,” and “aah.”
    And? I just finished ripping out and re-knitting six inches of the “Fleur de Lis” beaded lace sweater (312 stitches around, with beads) in the Summer 2006 Knitter’s Magazine because, even though the bead motifs were receding to the back side of the design, due to an error on the chart (the printed directions were just fine) where the bead stitches should have been a knit instead of a purl …. and even though I actually realized it was a chart error after awhile? I kept thinking it would somehow just “heal.”
    It did not.
    This is the thanks I get for following someone else’s pattern!

  394. I feel your pain!
    Remember last fall when I asked you how to knit lace, and that somehow I always manage to screw it up? You told me to do all those things that you did with this shawl. Sometimes the lace knitting gods are just pissed and nothing works.
    Hang in there, let us know when you get this thing licked.

  395. Oh no! But it is nice to know it happens to people other than me. I’m not nearly as persistent (stubborn?) though – so I have a lot of ripped back yarn shoved into the bottom of my work-in-progress boxes that I’m steadfastly ignoring.

  396. everyone’s probably said this but i”m so glad that EVEN YOU have episodes like this. Love you, love the blog.

  397. This was so delicous and fun. I am a fearful ninny about knitting and an amazon of courage in every other area. You are a goddess not because you knit such gorgeous things but because you keep on going over and over again. However – that yarn is seriously cursed and you should toss it and have the house blessed by some kind of shawoman. Just in case.

  398. I’m knitting a dishcloth. Sure we need another and I left the WIP I currently love in the car, which my husband has at work. BUT I had to start the thing about 5 times because of course I don’t need a pattern, I remember how. I measured on the gram scale to half the amount (slightly less) so I could finish then blithely forgot to decrease properly and had to rip back to halfway. Don’t even let me NEAR an Estonian knitting pattern right now.

  399. Thank you for so graciously sharing this with us – I often feel like a dolt for not reading patterns correctly/knitting it up wrong and while I have sympathy for you, its nice to know we are not alone! You have taught me so much from so far away through your blog! Thanks for being a mentor even without knowing it! I am sure so many others feel like this too!

  400. If it’s any help here’s what I do when I have complicated pattern instructions or a case of the dumbs coming on. I make a cheat sheet by writing down what I need to do in the order that I need to do it. In detail. That way I don’t have to think but do have to read all instructions ahead. You are much more persistant than I. I would have fed it to squirrels after the third rip.

  401. I have had to rip or tink the stupid Armagh sweater four (4) times in the last two days.
    Cast on 240 stitches in A: FAIL (on both counts)
    Join, being careful not to twist: FAIL.
    Change to larger size needles and…: FAIL.
    Read from a chart from right to left: FAIL.
    Honestly. I’m about to join you in the scarf, for the good of mankind…
    (Also just realized I goofed up the transition between the rib and the stockinette. It both does, and does not, show. IOW, *I* see it, quite plainly…not sure anyone else would…must start drinking now, before nervous tic becomes painful…)

  402. ohai! I couldn’t read all 510 comments but I bet quite a few have mentioned that you’d have ~half an easy sweater done..or several pair of socks by now. I totally know how it feels tho and glad my latest issue only amounts to knitting 3 sock rounds before spotting the fact that I had been knitting 3 needles in pattern and one of the opposite row each round. Want to discuss lanolin or something harmless??

  403. I think the universe it trying to tell you to put down the pattern and try some free-form knitting. Maybe you just need to get that out of your system and you can return to your pattern. ??

  404. Dude, sounds to me like the Knitting Goddess has spoken. Please allow me to interpret for you what she is saying: Not this project, not right now. Make something else gorgeous and come back to this later. Like, in your next knitting lifetime….

  405. ….thank you harlot! thank you!!! you can’t imagine how nice it is to know that knitter’s of your caliber make the same dumb arse mistakes that I make… a big hug and maaaawaaah! to you!

  406. Oh how I feel for you as I have been there! I must admit though, I laughed out loud a few times and shook my head because you are a much better woman than I am as I would have set yarn on fire in effigy.

  407. I am so very sorry for your pain, but very glad that you and I are not close because I don’t think I could withstand the wrath of a knitter in your delicate condition. However, it is comforting to know that we all make similar mistakes. I cast on for a sweater 4 times (not to guage, wrong size needles (twice!?!), forgot to switch needles after ribbing). In the process of adding a new skein of yarn, to the wrong side, I knitted instead of purling, or the other way around … I really don’t know anymore, but now I have a sort of stripe which I didn’t notice until a few inches of garter stitch had passed it by. Well, now I am just going to have to duplicate that mistake when I get to the other side because a symmetrical mistake = a pattern, and then it’s okay. And, in the end, it all does work itself out, doesn’t it? Just keep knitting!

  408. Steph, are you sure you’re not being the lovely, polite Canadian fibber I bet you’ve learned to be, raising three daughters, and you’re just telling us that shawl fiasco, so we’ll believe you’re actually a mere mortal like the rest of us, who are much slower and less adept?

  409. Some projects just aren’t meant to be. Buy yourself some nice yarn as a reward for not burning it!

  410. OMG – that is me in a nut shell. And it happened when I started something from that VERY SAME BOOK! Except my tragedy was my annoying, I mean, very dear husband who continued to talk to me EVEN THOUGH I glared at him, growled, barked and finally threw it all on the floor, jumped up and down on it (scaring my dog so badly that he peed…yes, I scared the pee out of my dog) and flounced off in a huff. My mother, who was visiting at the time was quite amused by the whole thing. So I of course growled at her too. Good thing my Dad is deaf as a doorpost or he would have received a rude comment just to keep it even! I am sitting here thinking about casting on again but I’m afraid it will go badly even though I will be in a room with the door closed all by myself and my husband is well and truly occupied for awhile. I just know, deep inside, he will know that I’m counting and come up two flights of stairs to find me and tell me something I don’t want to know ever! Sigh….

  411. Oh. My. Lord.
    I hope the garter stitch project is a Doctor Who Scarf, so you can wrap yourself up in geek-girl comfort after a few nights. It’s totally in your 70s colorway.
    That shawl yarn is lucky you haven’t set fire to it (yet).

  412. oh i’ve had many many many many many projects go that way…good for you for just tossing in it in the basket instead of tossing it across the room! by the way, what does “hold the yarn” mean?

  413. Ok, been were you are. Take the needles out of the yarn and use the yarn for another project. If you are to attempt this pattern again I suggest you buy new yarn and new needles and a copy of this blog entry so that when you try again all will be right with the universe. I have discovered that sometimes a project is just not ment to be.

  414. You are totally not alone. Week before last at our knit night it seemed we all had horror stories about how much we had frogged the previous week. It seemed almost as if we’d all frogged far more than we’d successfully knit. And while I’m sitting there working on a fairly easy sock… just guess what I do. I pull on the wrong needle. Twenty two stitches instantly have fallen off my needle. My mouth flew open and I think it stayed there until someone calmly told me “Oh it’s okay. Just get as many of them back on as you can”. I feel as if these socks are cursed and even though they’re now finished, my cat won’t stop attacking them – while they’re on my feet!
    Ciao fellow knitters. It’s all good. It’s all good. It’s all good……….

  415. As they have all said….been there, done it!So condolences to you.
    IF you still have enough yarn left for a shawl, why not find a pattern that starts with one or two stitches and widens out rather than the other way round…..?!!!!

  416. First time poster: so I’m not the only knitter who has to put markers in her casting-on so she can count the stitches? That’s a relief to know.

  417. Stephanie, I love you!
    I am sure 35 years of knitting experience (and beer!) will help you make it through this.
    How does the yarn stand all that knitting and ripping?

  418. In times of knitting crisis, I re-read your old blog entries about the identical mitten fiasco. I think this might top that. You are a genius.

  419. Oh dear Stephanie,I have been there so I know how frustrating this is,At the same time it is so hilarious reading your blog.I have just started reading your books & love them,keeps knitting fun like it should be (a good read for problems like this one)

  420. I am down with the flu for the first time in five years. Down BAD. Still need to [try to] keep knitting. Still need to [try to] read Harlot. Delerium notwithstanding. Yes, this reminded me of the beloved Coffee at the Airport saga that nearly put me in the hospital from laughing so helplessly so hard. I was bound and determined NOT to laugh today because with this flu I could die from laughing… Stephanie, your storytelling is such a gift to us out here, but your COMMENTERS were the ones today that put me over the top – “No Nancys have been harmed…” got me. Helplessly I am reduced to tears again… and feel miraculously better… hmm… I think I shall go find the Coffee post and the Kinnearing posts… and throw the Stuck Truck one in for good measure – thanks for all you share and how you share it.

  421. Ja, well…looks like I’m in good company. I almost tossed all my mangled cashmerino in the fireplace last night. I have Kate Gilbert to thank for that. That’ll teach her to write another sweater pattern!

  422. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
    Stephanie……I laughed my ass off…after a while I had a hard time reading through tears of laughter. I’m sorry, I know I should know better but I can’t help myself.
    I’m sure you’ll eventually find it’s all worth it.

  423. OMG. I laughed so loud my DH was staring at me from the other desk. I can really relate. Those are the times he says things like “knitting is relaxing?” or “enjoying your hobby?” Which of course REALLY helps…

  424. thank you stephanie. i so could have written this post just a few days ago. and in my case it was just a hat with 96 stitches and no charts, but no amount of counting and reading of the instructions would make it come out right. i guess it’s true that misery loves company. garter ridge sounds lovely right now–thanks for the idea.

  425. Would you have ever imagined that Kara Thrace was the #7 model????? We thought she might have been the discontinued model last week. Boomer…….. what can we say?

  426. I think that’s a fine illustration of why I don’t do lace knitting. I screw up even the simplest of patterns. I had to rip out and restart clapotis many times before it was right. You are a riot.

    I am totally amazed at your perseverance. I would have had the Tuesday morning realization, paused for a minute and then thought “Meh, well, so I’ll have an extra row of knit stitches” and moved on. Of course, then I would have had this little nagging feeling that I had done it wrong, but sooner or later (read: an hour into Beer O’Clock – which we have at my house too!) I would have lost that feeling.
    Seriously, this post almost made me cry and I feel a little nauseous, but I mean that in the best possible way. πŸ™‚
    I BELIEVE IN YOU! If Nancy Bush can do it, you can do it.

  428. Well, it is nice to know that even the professions can have a bad day, not that I would wish that on anyone.
    Perhaps the knitting gods are telling you that you should not be doing this project right now and knit something else and then come back to this.
    Sounds like some bad juju with that yarn or pattern right now.

  429. Several years ago after an incredibly stressful 3 weeks during which my husband nearly died twice (he’s been fine now for 10 years and going strong), I was working on the shoulder seams of the sweater I knit in the hospital while keeping watch. It was the first weekend after his illness which we felt OK about going out of town for a while.
    I proudly showed him the completed seam, and he said – where does the head go? I had carefully (and with great care and skill) seamed the right front to the left back! I picked it out, planning to do it again on the weekend. I took the sweater, but not the yarn……my mind and body were telling me to take some time off and pay attention to me; to let myself recover from the emotional stress I had been through.
    I finished the sweater a month later, and it is one of the best things I have ever done.
    You will make this shawl, and love it; give yourself a break. You need some recovery time and a vacation.
    Someday we will both overcome our shyness and meet and laugh together. I love your willingness to share your humanity and our common ability to screw up.

  430. You know– I just went through somehting similar with a Shedir… I was starting to wonder if I had lost my mind….but I finally got it… and only ALMOST killed people.. not actual deaths.
    Good luck. SOmetimes a little break is all it takes:

  431. On a much smaller scale (my mere 64 stitches to your 331), I just had to “unknit” most of my attempt at Interweave’s Bacchus sock because of a truly silly error (following the chart for the left sock even though I’d set up for the right) and was telling myself what a fool I am, when I read this. There’s always something reassuring to see even the pro’s can make mistakes!
    You do such a wonderful job of describing how you must have felt. and you still manage to make us all laugh at the situation and at ourselves (who among us has not had some taste of what it’s like when nothing will go right?!). I love all the shawls you’ve knit. Looking forward to seeing the next, whatever pattern you end up using.

  432. Yeah . . . I hate shawls because of that. It sounds like the bloody (pardon my french) pattern in Vogue for the sweater i just finished. yuck! I deeply sympathise with you, and I wonder if maybe this is a good time to shove that shawl in the back of your stash, until the pain is bearable. hang in there.

  433. Wow. As much as I am so sorry you have gone through this it makes me feel so much better about myself. I can sleep the sleep of the knitting just knowing that “it’s not just me”.
    Thank you.

  434. This is a sign from the knitting gods that it is time for pattern writing – not for knitting.
    And speaking of patterns to be written … there is a certain cowl pattern which is waiting for disclosure to all the knitters out here in blogland who have been waiting anxiously, with poised needles.
    BTW, I usually do not make the knitting gods work all that hard – I usually give up after three times of frogging.

  435. Holy square needles. This scared the beeshit out of me. I’m considering selling all of my lace yarn.

  436. Re the car buying. Joe might be right, he has more experience of you than that foolish car dealer. Keep your guard.
    What would the car dealer know about a New York Times Best Selling Author anyway.

  437. OMG, you are so funny. I admire your persistance! Now I know I am not alone when I’ve ripped the same thing out a (seemingly) million times and wonder if my obsession with knitting is relaxation, catharsis, or a curse!

  438. Haven’t we all been there but you express it for us so well. Thanks. Now I remember why I like to knit triangle shawls that start with a few stitches and get bigger. I’m going to print out your blog and put it in my Estonia Knits book so I will have the courage to keep on knitting. Thanks.

  439. Oh, been there done that — but reading about someone else going through it just makes me feel better.
    ::kicks project I’ve been trying to cast on under the couch and grabs Doctor Who scarf project::

  440. Oh, my. I couldn’t even read all the comments. I have one lacy baby sweater that I have tried to make like 30 times or something. That pattern hates me. I don’t mean it’s difficult. It just warps my knitting brain every time. I could so empathize with you! I think I would have been tempted to take the totally scrapped yarn and burn it as a sacrifice to the knitting goddess with many prayers for patience… πŸ™‚

  441. Oh, girlfriend, I seriously wish I could tell you that such has never happened to me, but alas, I cannot, I feel your pain. I appreciate however your willingness to share with us, I feel so less alone.

  442. Wow…you are really someone who perseveres…or is it OCD? I had a similar problem with Debbie Bliss’ alphabet blanket..did get through it and my grandson has put it to good use.

  443. I just want to thank you for sharing this because (a) it’s nice, when you’re a knitter of less than 3 years, to know that even amazing people like Stephanie Pearl McPhee can do such things, and;
    (b) It’s really inspiring to see your tenacity! I’d have started the garter stitch scarf on Monday! πŸ™‚

  444. Oh my … I am howling as I read this, with tears streaming down my face. This was exactly my experience when I tried to make the Juno scarf. Not a rookie to lace, I thought it would be easy, peasy — perhaps the wine would have helped me! The whole works is still in a bag somewhere, lumped together with the pattern.

  445. I’ve been through this before. Plainly the knitting gods (goddesses?)decided they needed a laugh. I suggest the garter stitch scarf for a few days until they get tired of harassing you and move on.

  446. Thank you, I had a rough week trying to re-learn how to crochet a granny square of all things. I made every wacky mistake you can think of ;-)Sorry to get so much enjoyment out of your misery.
    but, thank you!

  447. First, sorry I laughd out loud like mad all through reading your blog today. Secondly, thank you for letting us know this could happen with such an expert knitter (you make my life much more beautiful). Thirdly, I think you need a break. I know the lace weight yarn is such a temptation and the book is wonderful, but not after all that work on the summit. Finally, it’s this kind of drama that let us enjoy the awesome writer that you are. Thank you.

  448. I am sitting here nursing my little girl and trying to laugh silently because I already made her jump once. This is seriously too funny and mostly because it sounds like we’ve all done something similar. I mean how many baby surprise jackets do I have to knit before I remember to increase for fullness over the cuff? More than six apparently.

  449. Lord have mercy! You are the funniest obsessive compulsive I have ever encountered and I love it! Can’t wait to see the shawl, if you have enough yarn left to make it!

  450. Ooh! The saddest part is that on Tuesday morning you were RIGHT, but didn’t realize it-and ripped it out! I drank a bottle of red wine last night in your honour.

  451. Oh thank you thank you thank you! It is such a huge relief to know that even the best knitters do that!
    I don’t feel quite so stupid anymore…

  452. Let me add my “thank you” to all the others. I, too, am relieved to know I’m not alone in doing stuff like that. Not only am I not alone, it’s apparent that anyone and everyone can have off-days when knitting. I just usually drink more wine!

  453. GAH!!!!!!!!!! WTF is it? A full moon? You have got way more patience than I do. I would’ve thrown the bloody thing out about the second try. At least we all out here have gotten some really funny entertainment out of the whole mess.

  454. You’re patient. I would have tossed the yarn in a corner on day two and picked up some “stupid knitting” instead. I know because I just did — after 3 failed attempts at toe-up lace socks in 2 days (I really, really, really don’t want to talk about the details), I’m knitting stockinette stitch. In-the-round, self-striping stockinette socks. Heaven.

  455. I’m not sure you want to know this, BUT last night I read (in a certain author’s guide to the “land of knitting”) something about knitting sports. There was an entry titled “The Marathon” which stressed the endurance aspect of knitting. You might want to peruse the two descriptions of “High Point” vs. “Flame Out.” Perhaps a study of this important guidebook will give you the will to go on – remember we’re all cheering you on –

  456. I hate it when that happens! You have more stick to it than I do I would have gone for the wine and given up much sooner. It looks like lovely yarn!

  457. I had a scarf like that once, except I forgot about it and finally finished it about three years later.
    Don’t worry! You’ll pick it up again sometime in the near future and it’ll just fly off your needles πŸ™‚

  458. Have a nice bottle of wine, wind up all that lovely yarn and donate it somewhere (anywhere) — that’s what I do with an unruly project. Its always the yarn’s fault.

  459. Must have been something in the ether last week. I was working on a simple silk lace cowl & just could not get it to go right. It is now on hiatus – perhaps ’til NEXT winter – & I too am knitting a simple seed stitch scarf – in the bulkiest wool I could find in my stash.

  460. Totally been there. Still laughing. Fell off the chair laughing. It hurts when I laugh this much.

  461. laughing out loud and enjoying that you have shared this with the rest of us knitters. glad I am not alone in this adventure…

  462. Ahhh, the dark side of knitting, aka a psychotic-knitasode. Been there, done that.
    Anyway can’t we spin some sense into these deviant fibers? Don’t think I’m going to blame the knitter, do you?

  463. I can’t tell you how good you have made me feel. EVERYTIME I DO LACE KNITTING, and I mean EVERYTIME…… the same thing happens to me. In a lace knitting class once, I was the only one who couldn’t do this pattern. I totally bombed the class. Now when I lace knit (be dambed if it is going to get the best of me!!) I have to do it first thing in the morning, no one can talk, the radio has to be shut off, and no wine or beer or anything but a cup of coffee while I’m knitting. HA!! (not that I would drink wine first thing in the morning, but I have tried a glass of wine while I was knitting in the evening.)

  464. I did that just a couple of days age with a sock. Now I am starting the heal. I also have a sweater that I put away for awhile because of a mistake, I have less stitches now then when I started and I am suposed to have more because of the increases. Haven’t figured out the mistake yet, so I put it away and started a sock.

  465. Wonder what Greg Kinnear would think?
    No, really. It’s comforting to know that Goddesses of Knitting have reassuringly human lace moments. How I plagued poor Meghan and Denny from New York calling for lifelines long distance because of a lace shawl… like they could sort out my woes by visualizing through the phone lines. (Such faith!)
    You have such a gift – great knitting and Leacock-humour combined. When I got to the part I FORGOT TO HOLD THE YARN DOUBLE… Priceless. Blessings Dearest Harlot! Like the Le Petit Prince’s Rose, you are “unique in all the world”. (And possessor of world-class tenacity and determination.)

  466. Having just finished a project (from Hell, I might add) that was five months in the works and that involved innumerable rip outs, tink backs, curse words, tears, and pure angst, I saw your blog and laughed hysterically. It happens to us all, but you’ve managed to recap the equivalent of our experiences in a way that can only make us smile. Thanks!

  467. The getting started is always the toughest part of wide lace projects. It will be perfect next time.
    Think first, though: Do you still have enough yarn left to complete the project? I’d hate for you to get to the end and have to put the project in a corner to think about what it’s done…

  468. ROFL! This is the point where I start stabbing the ball of yarn with the pointy sticks, break the pointy sticks, throw them across the room, and then stomp on the ball of yarn until it is smashed into submission.

  469. This does NOT bode well for my planned Estonian shawl…but then I’m still fighting the directions for a baby blanket marked clearly “Intermediate” (I was the first of my gang to complete the Mystery Shawl…I know I can knit) over which I’ve recreated several of my favorite phrases and consumed a couple bottles of very nice cooperative wine. This entire activity is a continuous lesson in humility followed by the sudden wonderful glow of victorious satisfaction….or we’re all crazy.

  470. Yes, I blogged about the wonderful soothing properties of a garter stitch blanket this week, and in Malabrigo no less.
    It’s built in pieces then sewn together. But I may have to start over because I realized I knit the wrong pieces first, and should have constructed it more like the Baby Moderne Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. However, it is Malabrigo so I’m not complaining that I have to work with it longer πŸ™‚

  471. Thank you for being so (brutally) honest — it makes the novices amongst us take heart and realize that we are not total simpletons. This particular posting was so wonderful (i know you probably don’t feel the same way about it) that I sent it to all of my non-knitterly friends so they could enjoy/commiserate as well.

  472. Ahhhhh, this is me at the moment with my cowl. Thanks for making me realise I’m not the only one; and for making me see the funny side πŸ™‚

  473. OMG. You poor thing but thank you sooooo much for sharing that. I want to know if you EVER pick that one up again.

  474. These things just make me feel so much better. I know that’s at your expense, but … I do feel so much better to know that these things happen to others. Sigh.

  475. Dear Mrs. Yarn Harlot,
    I fear that this is a horrible conspiracy brought on by other projects hiding. Did you walk past them when with your lace project in your hands? I am thinking that these projects might be jealous that you had project in mind for this lace yarn and are working very hard to make you lose your mind.
    I have prepared a small list for you to consult should the need arise.
    1. Touch sock yarn. Smell it and rub it across your face. Sock yarn is not evil and can and will be whipped into whatever your heart desires.
    2. Eat chocolate
    3. Allowing yourself to curse at said evil project despite your age and experience is entirely acceptable and preferable.
    4. Start another home improvement project to avoid working on lace.
    And 5
    Remember that you can conquer anything. We are all behind you 110%.
    Love and hugs,

  476. Who said, it is just more knitting and you like to knit? This story is why I don’t knit lace shawls although I did harbor a hope that eventually things like this did not happen to people. I just ripped the last square of my mitered afghan out because I attached it in the wrong place. No where near as many stitches though

  477. I really needed a belly laugh and this was the perfect one. I have knit all my life and still have these days. Keeps me humble.

  478. After a similar experience, I was pretty sure it was time to change crafts. Now I have hope!

  479. Oh my God, I cannot stop laughing and also feeling some sort of wicked relief that even you Stephanie, who frequently blow me away by how fast you knit even on complicated projects like the Kauni sweater can also be kicked on your arse by a knitting project. Yes, there is a God!
    I tried knitting a lace sweater,once and after casting on and off at least eight times stuck it quietly in a bag in the dark recesses of a shelf and have left it there for about a year.
    In some wierd way I am taking great comfort from this post…maybe I will at least go and look at the inch of sweater I did do and see if it calls to me.
    Thank you Stephanie for being, as always, a real human being.

  480. I have reached said level of frustration and usually chuck the whole project…forever…due to frustration. Actually, I would have chucked the whole project after the 4th frog…but I give up way easier than you do. I hope that you get your mojo back…a world without Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Mojo is a bad thing…totally.

  481. I loved your blog. Hilarious. I have started a shawl and I’m pretty sure I’ve screwed it up but I just left it in my pile of maybe I’ll try again someday pile.

  482. This story made me cringe! I feel your pain too – I did basically the same exact thing (with a Nancy Bush pattern as a matter of fact – Ene’s Scarf from Scarf Style). Unlike you I finally gave up on it. Maybe someday I’ll pick it back up again, but I think maybe that pattern and I just weren’t meant to be.

  483. I am so glad you have the same problems I do. I was thinking that all people that write kniiting books never have problem s.
    Love your blog.

  484. I am so glad you have the same problems I do. I was thinking that all people that write kniiting books never have problem s.
    Love your blog.

  485. I love it. So funny, although I do sympathize. I feel so much better about my own knitting now!

  486. Thank you for making me laugh so much! Just stuff it all in a plastic bag and hide it in the depths of a cupboard! Maybe one day you’ll be able to face it again. Sincere sympathy goes out to you from a fellow “loss of knitting mojo” sufferer.

  487. I thought it was only me who had this problem. Now I don’t feel so bad when I have to start a lace pattern 25 times before I have one thate takes.

  488. You make me giggle. This sort of knitting stuff happens to me too. Just remember, its beer-o’clock somewhere regardless of where you are. I do this. Regularly.

  489. If it makes you feel any better I laughed so hard I hurt myself. Glad to see you perservered!

  490. I have much sympathy for this kind of suffering. I really do. BUT…. you made me laugh so hard I cried.

  491. I laughed so hard! I don’t knit, but I do lots of other kinds of things that require reading of instructions and doing things in the right order. So many memories. Thanks for the laughs!

  492. I really must say that I’m happy even experienced and accomplished knitters go through this.

  493. I just finished reading your post about starting the Estonian shawl . . . several times. I was laughing out loud, so I read it to my husband, who’s a lovely fellow (British) but who hasn’t known me long enough to have any idea what insanity the lace knitting fairy godmother can wish on a body. When I finished it, he commented, “Why is she so stupid?” Oh, silly man. It is he who is stupid. I should teach him to knit, so he’ll understand, but really, I know the day will come when he will see for himself. Because – – I ordered Nancy’s book! (You can tell her it was because of your blog.)

  494. It sounds like you need the love of another one of Jared’s scarves. You liked knitting them and can now do them in your sleep.
    Just an idea….

  495. I can understand persevering through all obstacles. But sometimes the universe is trying to tell you to give up before the (lovely, graceful, impossible) piece of knitting breaks your heart and spirit.
    I’m at that point myself; the Rattlesnake Creek sock I’ve been trying to knit for four months officially went into indefinite time-out yesterday. Right now I’m so mad at the pattern that I’m starting to hate the yarn, which is blameless in all this. A plain sock in handpainted yarn is sounding good right now.

  496. I know I am late coming to this, Stephanie, but I have to tell you: this both comforts and terrifies me. I am currently making Anne Hanson’s Twinings Shawl and will sometimes get into a huge Mistake Snit β€” one mistake after another after another for rows. I did not think I would EVER finish the first repeat of the pattern. Although I am now working repeat #7 I wonder when the M.S. will strike again. Sadly, I do this with everything I knit. And with my crochet. And sometimes with my sewing. But you sit there and tell me now that it is not my relative newbieness, but I can see my future as one with Mistake Snititis no matter how experienced I become. Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!
    P.S. That exact shawl by Nancy B. is one I have had my eye on. Gulp.

  497. I’m currently knitting a lace scarf, and I thought the 5 false starts and tinks before I finally got going was bad. But I perserved, and the scarf is now 3 feet long and going.

  498. Crap, crap, crap and holy crap. Oh my goodness! I was crying for you. I say this because I was looking on ravelry to see others who made this shawl – I have this in my want to do list and like now – just don’t have the yarn I want right now. Then I was reading your blog yesterday. Was interuppted and now am back! I know how you love the word Crap – “Knitting Rules” – you see – you are a girl after my own heart. Crap is my favorite word. I am glad after so many attempts you are back on track. Knitting Rules girlfriend!

  499. Ah, yes, been there. I did that dance on Branching Out, and am still doing it on Birch. Yes, Sharon Miller’s pattern, the one everyone did a million years ago. I cast on easily 5 times, and ripping KSH is nearly impossible–threw away several cast-ons, thank God I bought extra yarn–and the latest incarnation is waiting for me to take it up again.
    The worst (best?) realization was in Swallowtail, where I finally figured out that I had to move my every-pattern-repeat stitch markers one stitch left after every chart repeat. I thought I was going INSANE until I figured that out. (Not that I’m not there anyway.)
    Sorry. It is a gorgeous pattern… but clearly very humbling. (Seriously, do we need THAT much humbling?!?)

  500. Oh my word…….I am still laughing and crying at the same time! I have been knitting for 45 years and I can’t tell you how many times this has happened!(at least once a year or so!)It’s theraputic to hide the yarn (and pattern) in a place that is not within reach for at least a few months (like in a box of sweaters in the attic). When you find it again it will be like childbirth – “I can do this! The pain wasn’t THAT bad!I really want another……..shawl!” LOL – go get ’em Stephanie!

  501. Oh man! That was the BEST!! If I ever feel frustrated with my knitting, I will read this over again and…”go the hell to bed!”
    Love it.

  502. All of that was just God’s way of saying “Try something else first”. I have a lace pattern that I LOVE and have used many, many times BUT …….
    every now and then when I’m knitting further with it, a scarf, or a cuff, or a cowl, or just some sort of trim, it’s as if my brain has departed entirely from my body – not even a wireless connection!!! I give up for a week and do something else and then go back to it. It does make the time frame hard to handle especially when it’s something that has about 50 rows and you’re done πŸ™‚ !
    You have my thanks! I laugh at myself more than ever now; then I keep right on going when I SCREW UP!

  503. Thank you for making all those mistakes now I don’t feel so bad. I am attempting to do Nancy’s Lilac Leaf Shawl… I never read charts and never do lace. So doing both on one project…insanity. BF knows now that when I pick up this project to stay far away and as quiet as possible. I ripped out about 5 times (once 50 rows into the project)…for gauge for stitch count and for being a complete numbskull (Need to read the complete legend for what a symbol means) There is a reason for RS and WS instructions.
    But if the harlot makes similar mistakes I know that the universe isn’t out to get me

  504. Oy vey. My mother used to tell me to just walk away and do something else for a while. Of course, I didn’t listen, and persisted with the spinning wheel I had borrowed whose flyer insisted on falling off whenever I tried to spin. To the point that it required massive self-control to not launch the thing through my plate-glass window.
    So I walked away. That was 18 years ago. Now I spin with spindles. And I’m perfectly happy.

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