What’s that dance with the jumping?

Allow me to introduce you to today’s knitting:

It’s another sock, and one that I was making pretty good progress on. It was born as my desk knitting this morning, and it also doesn’t exist anymore, because I ripped it out and just started again because it had gauge as nice as the general condition of my closets, which is to say it was a hot mess.

The significant thing is that we all note that I have been knitting for 41 years, and that I totally knew that sock was knit way too tight and had all the flexibility of a toddler, and I still kept knitting for a couple of hours while knowing that, thus wasting a chunk of knitting time, and reassuring me that the rule of experienced knitters still applies.  We don’t make fewer mistakes. We make bigger ones faster. 

Steph out.

132 thoughts on “What’s that dance with the jumping?

  1. I have plenty of sock-knitting experience, but I once spent a 15 hour plane trip knitting on a sock that I knew from the very beginning was too tight. What was I thinking?

  2. WOW, I really appreciate the fact that you keep reassuring me that we “old” knitters are all much the same! Is it Karma for thinking that your knitting speed for socks was improving so that you can get the Christmas ones done faster or what?
    And I can’t believe I get to make the first comment!

  3. Don’t worry Steph, we’ve all ripped back projects. At least you weren’t on sock 2 of the set when you decided to rip it back. And it’s going to look lovely when it’s finished at the right gauge! I love the colours 🙂

  4. Sounds a bit like the “old timey” coffee sign in the break room here at the office: “Drink Coffee, Do Stupid Things Faster with More Energy.” I have not done that with a sock yet, as I have yet to actually knit one, but I have done it with a shawl, that I knew was wrong, and kept going anyway. 🙂

  5. Thanks Stephanie. This encourages me after you knit things like those beautiful blankets Maybe I could knit like that someday…

  6. I love the colours on that one.
    I’m hoping the sweater I’m pushing to get done doesn’t have a similar “big” mistake. I’m not at all convinced about the armholes.

  7. I recently knit the first half of a sock with similar gauge issues, all the way to the heel before admitting guage issues. I then frogged and knit halfway down the foot before admitting to myself that there was no way I would ever have enough yarn to knit the second. After several recent sock successes, it was so disheartening.

  8. True. My years of knitting don’t mean that I make no mistakes, I just have made SO many that I’ve figured out a way to fix most of them.
    The mistaking…never stops.

  9. Wound now be an unkind moment to ask after the Rheinbeck sweater? I’ve been curious how that worked out. And if it makes you feel any better, I denied that my decreases were in the wrong color on a stranded colorwork sweater for 2.5 inches last week. Ugh.

  10. I’ve been knitting for fifty years and designing for three, and I make even bigger ones! A sock knitting mistake just isn’t on the same scale as a sweater mistake. However, I like to hear about any mistakes made by other knitters. It reminds us that we’re human And remember, it’s not about making mistakes, it’s about what you do about them (in life and in knitting).

  11. It’s nice to be reminded that the urge to continue to knit on a project that you know is doomed is a universal one.
    Yeah, I just ripped out half a hank’s worth of cowl b/c I didn’t like the fabric I was getting. Restarted it with a few more stitches on bigger needles & all’s well with the world again. Until my next foul-up.

  12. Just maybe , you needed to knit something for awhile , wether it worked out wasn’t the important part. Just so you held something in you hands.Tension reliever.

  13. I have knit hundreds of socks, and yet when I knit a pair for my sister, I didn’t realize till I was turning the heel that I had cast on 4 less stitches than needed. apparently I can’t count. lucky for me the needle with the 4 less stitches was the one for the heel (total luck), otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed till I got to the toe.

  14. I am knitting a sock right now that I keep feeling like it’s going to be too big, yet I still keep knitting, why am I doing that? Maybe I should take your lead and rip it out before it’s too annoying.

  15. I assume you refer to the flexibility of a toddler’s personality– some toddlers I know are pretty damned flexible and remind me how woefully out of shape I am. How easy would it be for me to chew on my foot? Not so easy, I tell you, not so easy.

  16. Only strong, willful people knit on in the face of clear information that there is a problem…. Well, ok, there are the “not so bright” ones too but that has no bearing here… I have come to the conclusion that those of us will strong personalities, knit on with the thought that we can “will” the gauge into submission. I’m always disappointed when my willfulness fails. lol

  17. Yes,; oh yes, I have done this. A pair of black dress socks for my husband who is a HUGE man with ENORMOUS feet. Rigid as pvc pipe, those damn socks were off my needles lickety-split the second I realized how impossible they would be if completed. That was right before I got to the heel flap. They now reside in the back of my sock yarn drawer, cleverly disguised as two balls of yarn that, if I have any say in the matter, will never again see the light of day.

  18. Yup! Are you likely to have been drinking too much coffee? I quote “Drink Coffee – Do stupid things faster with more energy”. It’s a lovely old ad you can google.

  19. Thank you so much for making mistakes (design elements; extended gauge swatches; life examples…) and sharing them with us!
    Beautiful (potential) sock, plus fiber humor to roll around in – the bright point in an otherwise rather annoying day.

  20. Yep, that sounds familiar! I was almost to the yoke of the Owls sweater by Kate Davies when I realized that it was too big for me by 6″ at least…And the girl I’m giving it to would have been swimming in about 10″ of excess (and it’s already 4″ too big, so technically 14″). It was a disaster. I ripped back out to the beginning.
    Good thing it’s my only deadline Christmas knitting this year…!
    Katie =^..^=

  21. Laughing in utter recognition. Yes! And the flexible like a toddler line? I am so going to quote that to myself to put me back in my place when I’m being too full of myself, thank you!

  22. I think I was six or seven when I first learned to knit. Then, again when I was in Scouting and High School and college. I make such STUPID mistakes. I’ll be seventy next summer and still working at it all! I am still waiting for that one piece without a mistake. Ho hum…

  23. Yes, we do. I think it is denial: “This mistake cannot be happening, I have been knitting for more years than I can count. This is not happening. This will right itself. I am not a rookie.” And then the truth hits us, wham!

  24. I came here for the knitting originally and I keep coming back for all that and the writing. I second rams’ comment. Love your metaphors . . . although if rams hadn’t said it I wouldn’t know what they were called. MMMMmmm, my niece is the English teacher in the family. I, of course, have other talents …..no one else knits!

  25. You DO have a way with the English language. The knitting brought us here, but your writing keeps us here. Love the colourway.

  26. Truer words were never spoken! But experienced knitters do get the occasional reward of beautiful lace and scrumptious cables, and when they actually accomplish what they set out to do, they are as GODS.

  27. Ah the joys of creating something from nothing, over and over again. I wish that I understood the dance reference since I’m something of a dance lover. But I’m new around here, so I’m often trying to keep up. By the way, once you shared the blanket photos, I totally understood why nothing else would do, it was a spectacular work. Keep dancing, it’s good for the body!

  28. ONE jumping dance popular in 16th and 17th c. England is called a Galliard. Often paired with a Pavan, a walking dance. The Pavan always comes first. At least in musical sources. Not sure that’s what you’re thinking, but it’s probably the only opportunity in my life to unite two of my favorite things – knitting and 17th c. English instrumental music!

  29. I’ve had that happen! Only in my case, I knit all of one sock, AND grafted the toe, before I realized that I couldn’t get it on. And, since I had the smallest feet in the family, no one else could either. I’ll try again, when I’m desperate for anything spring 🙂 Good luck with yours!

  30. Hmmm…have definitely done that. And said, “it will block out.” It never does. Also, when do we get to see you in Afterlight?

  31. Sadly my fair isle vest, knit almost to the armholes, is about 6 inches too big, even though the swatch was “close” to gauge. I sympathize. Maybe I will go back and knit on that sock that I started in your Knit City class, much less painful if I have to rip it out! Its all part of knitting, sigh.

  32. S hit happens!, even to experienced knitters. Sometimes my casting on is too tight, even on needles two sizes up. Do I rip? no, I wrangle my foot in. I thought you were referring to what seems abvious, it looks like you knit the two knit two pearl part two sizes needles bigger than the true tricot part! Sometimes it is just like starting school at six years old, you suddenly realise bigger does not always mean older, or in this case sizing up the needles can end up in sizing down. If your closets look like that we could be twins, mine do! (And I am shorter then 1.60 m. too).

  33. Oh dear! Been there, done that – but in my case it was a gansey – traditional, fine yarn, 2.25 needles, etcetera – got to finely patterned yoke – checked measurements – and whoops, it would have fitted a gorilla with a 60 inch chest!! Rippit rippit!! The yarn is still somewhere in the stash.

  34. Oh yes oh yes oh yes …. I spindle spun some BEAUTIFUL raspberry yarn … started to knit a pair of fingerless gloves and realized there would not be enough. Pause. Frog (had got to fingers before I admitted the problem to myself). So I spindle spun some LOVELY white alpaca and decided on stripes …. once again I completed the first glove before finally admitting that for some weird reason the alpaca stripes looked HORRIBLE and this was never going to work. I am still waiting for the strength to frog it …. in the meantime I have completely a perfectly decent pr of fingerless gloves from another handspun yarn. But my heart bleeds for that raspberry-and-white pair that will never exist…

  35. Wrong! All wrong! The real problem is, as Yarn Harlot likes to remind us, knitting is a kind of magic and like good magicians we keep knitting because deep in our souls we know that if we keep waving our two magic wands the situation will automatically correct itself. Then, as in all good fairy tales, we will live happily ever after. (I live in the wrong universe. I also believe that broken mechanical things, from clocks, to sewing machines to cars will “get well” if given enough time to rest. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this has happened enough times that I will never be able to disabuse myself of the notion!)

  36. But that’s okay; it’s material for the next book. Which encourages us average knitters that even the Big Kahuna can make mistakes.

  37. And in this, as in so much else, I’m reminded of Bonne Marie Burns — “If it seems hinky, it is hinky.” (Works, alas, for writing, too.)

  38. Thank you Stephanie for helping me to be more gracious when I make knitting mistakes by reminding me that none of us (even the Yarn Harlot) are infallible. : )

  39. I, too, love making socks of self striping yarn, but what fascinated me the most was the comment of being as “flexible as a toddler”. I told new knitters yesterday that they did not have a lock on making mistakes. Even God allows for “do overs”.

  40. It’s really rather lowering to reflect that the lesson of experienced knitters is ‘frog early, frog often’. But so true- I’ve knit most of a sweater 3 times now, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be happy with it once I’m done, so that makes it all worth it.
    And lovely colors- it’s going to be autumnal!

  41. Ah yes. I spent an entire afternoon knitting a sock for my son that I knew was way too big. I had him try it on (had started turning the heel) and he was so nice — “Well, it’s a little big,but okay.” I told him to speak now or live with a pair of too big socks!! So he said, yes, a bit smaller would be nice. So now, instead of a whole foot, it’s a toe!!

  42. Yup (he says nodding and drinking coffee).
    I’ve got a beanie I started this summer. Spent and evening knitting about a 3rd of it and kept saying it was to tight. I was using handspun, so I told myself ‘Maybe it’s just this section of the yarn’. Yeah – right.
    So it’s been on a time out since September till I feel like working on it again. May get it down for the holidays as the yarns are pretty.

  43. That’s the same mindset that makes me knit entire sweaters that are several sizes too large, or that are about as flattering on me as a canvas sack with a hole cut in it. I know it while I’m doing it, but I don’t stop… at least until recently. Thank goodness for Ravelry users’pictures!!
    Desk knitting… brilliant concept.

  44. I love that you share your mistakes with us, as well as your successes. I have learned so much about knitting just by reading your blog.
    I have actually finished, and will wear, a pair of socks that are probably this much too tight on gauge. As a result, my feet can confirm that these really are wool socks, and they really are warm socks. I like them, but in light of your post and my curiosity, I think I will try the next ball of yarn on larger needles. 🙂

  45. It makes me feel better that experienced knitters make mistakes. Now, I wonder if I can grow that stop-now-you’re-making-it-worse strength along with my ability to read charts…

  46. I always keep knitting when I know it’s going bad, perseverating about how bad is it really, and can I live with it. I am getting better at just ripping it out and reknitting with a quiet mind. I’m going to knit it again anyway, I should just stop agonizing over it before I tear it out!

  47. This is so reassuring! Thanks Stephanie. I make weird avoidable knitting mistakes sometimes and wonder why when I know better. Oh well. Even the YH does it!!! I’m in good company.

  48. …last night at just about 9:30 pm, I frogged a lace scarf for the same reason. It’s a sickness that we knitter and crocheter have. We just cannot stop a project gone wrong. Why do we continue? We know what pain is in store..what frustration and headache. But we just……keeeeeep going!!!
    bjr

  49. Thank you. I’ve only been a knitter for a few years and the mistakes I make are so frustrating. In a way, it’s nice to know it still happens to you –

  50. This makes me feel better that I discovered that my Monkey sock (pattern by Cookie A) was too small after the 1st sock was done, including woven in ends. None of us is perfect!!!

  51. You have a ton of sayings I love, but that one is my all time favorite (in fact, I just made a little knit journal, and it adorns the outside of it!)…..
    now, wouldn’t you think I would take it to heart? (and I’ve been knitting even longer than you have!!!)

  52. I thought about you all evening. I was doing a stranded mitten. The beginning of the stranded portion was ok, I thought. After a few more rows, I wasn’t sure it was going to unpucker. I doubted. Then a few more rows I was sure it wouldnt unpucker and kept going. Then, I KNEW I had to frog, but still had to keep gong, becAuse my fingers had almost, but not quite, picked up the “good stranded work rhythm” to not pucker, but I needed to perfect it some more, or I’d just be frogging agin, should I start oer. So I had to work 7 more rows I, as nicely as I could, watchingnthat mitten grow, knowing I’d frog. Hate that.
    Have finally passed the frogging point, and it looks way better.

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