Some Small Surprises

Hello Poppets.  I know it’s Sunday, and I don’t usually post on the weekend, but book tours wipe away all the days of the week.  (Although I was trying really, really hard to keep track of Sunday on account the time change but then I realized I was flying to Arizona, and that means there’s no time change until I fly out of Arizona.)  I’m in Phoenix (Tempe, technically) and last night there was a really great event at Changing Hands that I’ll tell you about tomorrow, but for now, San Francisco?

A short list of Surprising Things that happened in San Francisco.

Surprise #1.  This book signing

sfcrowdwhole 2014-03-08

What a wickedly good time I had.  You can’t tell in that picture but some of the most fun people ever are in that crowd.  I loved them.  (It was at Books Inc., and I left behind some signed books, if you had your heart set on getting one, and I’m not coming near your home.) Hidden in there are some people who’ve been hanging with this blog (and their own) for a long time, like the lovely Alison H, and Carrie, of Irish Girlie Fame.)  Lingering around in the back though, is Julie, from Cocoknits.

When I was done talking and signing, she came up to me and gave me a little present.  She gave me a hard copy of one of her patterns that I’d bought online.  That “linen vest thing” that I’ve been going on about for the last few weeks, the one that I’d said I was going to finish on the tour?  It’s Adrian – one of Julie’s patterns.  Debbi and I both tried it on at the Habu booth at Madrona, and we both loved the shape, the flow, how it fit… Killer. So we each bought our three skeins of linen, and we’ve been cranking it out since.

It hasn’t been without incident, both Debbi and I thought something wasn’t right, something just wasn’t looking the way it should, and we checked and double checked the pattern, had conversations about how it really didn’t look right, but all the conversations ended with affirming that we had tried it on, we had loved it, we were getting gauge, and there was no errata.  It would come together, we said.  Come together it did – sort of.  I finished it on Thursday night, but I had lots of yarn left, and a niggling feeling that it wasn’t long enough, so that evening I ripped out the cast on,  picked up a million stitches around the bottom, and spent the flight to San Francisco adding a few inches to the bottom.

ontheplane 2014-03-08

When I got there, I gave it a wash in the sink…

inthebathlinene 2014-03-08

and blocked it, convinced that it would be fine after that.

adrianblock 2014-03-08

It didn’t look anything like I was hoping.  I was actually disappointed, but I tried to think it would look better dry – which wasn’t very logical.

Surprise #2 Off I went, with my sad little Adrian on the floor, and at the end of the night Julie comes up to me and says something vague like “Oh, you’re knitting this pattern, I thought you might like to have a hard copy” and she hands me this.

adriana 2014-03-08

Notice anything? I did. Straight away.  Then we had a conversation like this:

Me: Oh, no – that’s not the one I’m knitting.  I’m knitting Adrian. Wait, is that the name? Hold on…

Julie: No, you’re knitting the one from Habu, right? That’s ADRIANA. You’ve got the name wrong. The only one at Habu is Adriana. That’s what you’re making.

Me: (Heart starting to pound – world a little black at the edges) Oh. No.

I’ve not got the name wrong, I’ve knit the wrong one. Debbi’s knit the wrong one. It doesn’t look right because it’s not right, it’s not the vest thing we meant to knit at all. We have knit a different pattern.  I texted Debbi almost straight away.

debbitext 2014-03-09

We went on.

debbitext2 2014-03-09

I felt bad that Debbi was alone when this was going to come over her.

debbitext4 2014-03-09

What the f**k did we knit indeed. I can’t tell you what Debbi said after that, or what I said to her, because it was language unbecoming knitters, let me tell you. That thread represents the most civil part of the discourse that followed, and there’s no way I could make it public.  We have knit the wrong thing by accident and it was miles of stockinette, and… man.  The worst part is that it takes 3 skeins of linen to knit Adrian, and 4 to knit Adriana. I didn’t even have enough to knit the right one.  I did know that Verb carried Habu, so I took a wander over there the next day. I didn’t know if I was hoping they had it or not.

Surprise #3

morelinen 2014-03-08

Later today, when I think I can face it, I’m going to start over.


94 thoughts on “Some Small Surprises

  1. Put it in the Christmas box – I am sure you know someone in the family will love the one you did knit and you can have the one you will be knitting. Hope the Adriana is enjoyable and can be done during the rest of the book tour. Good luck!!

  2. Oh, bad. Maybe the linen will be nicer to knit with the second time around? And the finished drapey flowy thing is just what you want, right, so … just do it! and stifle that little sob…

  3. I’m sorry about the mix up, but thanks so much for a good laugh on a Sunday morning ( minus the hour I lost ! @&#!)

  4. Laughing out loud! That’s how I felt when I was making something with Noro Taiyo Yarn (WOW, this is huge) that was supposed to be made with Noro Taiyo SOCK yarn…glad you figured it out!!!

  5. Oh man. I want to make a joke, or laugh, or something… but I can’t. I’m just thinking about how I’d feel and… oh man. I’m so sorry Steph!!!

  6. It’s comforting to know that you make human mistakes, too, like the rest of us, even tho we all think you’re a goddess.

  7. Oh, dear. I think everyone should have a frog friend. Someone who will rip out your work for you, recake the yarn, and return it to you as if nothing ever happened.

  8. Ahk!! I think it is alright to scream… much better than holding it in. Doesn’t do much for the lost time or strange feeling from discovering this mix up. And even though it is no consolation to you,in a strange way it is reassuring that the Harlot is an ordinary human after wall. Thank goodness you were easily able to buy more yarn. And when the garment is made,I hope you love to wear it.

  9. Your new comment thing hates me. If I forget something and have to go back, it deletes everything I wrote. Stupid box.

    That unbecoming language of which you speak? Use it all the time while knitting…as do most of the other knitters I know. Also, yay for AVFKW having the correct yarn in stock 🙂 I should wander over there one of these days…

  10. at least you won’t be knitting the same thing again…

    (unlike me who’s now posting the same comment again as I failed the human verification test!!!!)

  11. I enjoyed seeing you in SF. That tall guy in the middle is my lovely husband who graciously drove me 3 hours to hang out with a bunch of knitters. That part is as much fun a hearing you speak.

  12. Oh Stephanie! Oh the horror!

    This is where selective memory comes in… Mail that thing home and tell someone to hide it — no, bury it. And then forget it ever happened until some day when you can laugh about it… Then dig it up and reclaim the yarn…

  13. Didn’t you say in one of your books that the risk of accidentally knitting something you didn’t want to knit was only present when knitting withOUT a pattern?

  14. Yowza! Well, the end result will be well worth the reknit I’m sure.
    I love cocoknits. I have a Liesl I made a few years ago and it’s great. My son used to think the pockets on the sides were cup holders though.

  15. OMG, that made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I really needed that today!!! It is something I would do. (I was laughing with you…)

  16. By the way, I realize that this is probably the wrong time to be asking this question, but how do you like knitting with linen? You’ve mentioned that cotton isn’t your favourite, but I don’t recall whether you’ve mentioned how you feel about linen.

  17. Thank you for a laugh out loud moment. Sorry for your troubles, but my oh my how you can write. Have already ordered your book and waiting anxiously for arrival.

  18. Dear Steph, things seem to happen in threes – I am hoping that your shawl will turn up somehow. It just has to! 🙁 The stats for Birch went through the roof on Ravelry – I hope that a Raveler found it and will help in find its way back to you. Safe travels.

  19. Are you the reason the ravelry page for Adriana says

    “She is the A-line, GIRL version of Adrian, so sorry for any confusion, she really is a completely different pattern than Adrian which is a shorter, boxier, unisex version.”


      • I knit a cardigan twice, out of yarn I spun on a drop spindle, I just kept losing weight (on purpose), by the end of the second time, I gave it to someone it did fit. I couldn’t face a third time, so here’s hoping it goes right, as I doubt you’ll be able to face doing it again.

  20. I was going to congratulate you on having some Christmas knitting finished for a man, but if you only bought one skein of yarn, you are starting over. Right? That is harsh.

    By the way, I follow you on Instagram and my name there is Mrs. Swag Diggity. I don’t know why. I am a substitute teacher and one of the kids made it up. My Instagram is kid friendly (I teach at a middle school) and the kids like following me, so I just went with it.

    • So it is. And “Adriana” is an entirely different garment – a pullover sweater.

      Steph, you said when knitters rule the world there will be one universal system of needle sizes. Looks like we need the same thing for pattern names.

  21. Dangitall…meant to tell you that the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) was in Phoenix at the same time you were. You would have LOVED the event. I bring my knitting to bull riding events all the time so I’ve paved the way for you.

  22. And I thought you found Birch! Dang, so sorry for your loss! You must admit this whole thing is pretty funny, really… some day you will laugh.

  23. You know, I like a nice surprise, but I think this particular post would have been better called “some small shocks”, or maybe even, a very big shock! Still, it’s made me laugh in that glad-it’s-somebody-else-for-a-change way! I’m so ashamed…HAhahahahah, not really!

  24. in a “sad and sorry for you”way, this makes me feel better. If an experienced and gifted knitter like you can make a mistake like that, then I don’t feel so alone.

  25. Oh boy. Well, no one can say you don’t have tenacity. A lesser person might just forget the whole thing ever happened and call it book tour madness induced memory loss. In the future, I hope your surprises are more of the uplifting kind and not so much of the crazy-making kind.

  26. I commiserate with you. I knit socks for my husband this Christmas – with a greek key design near the cuff. Except he couldn’t get it on over the instep. I thought it was the two colors that made it too tight, so I reknit the socks without the greek key. Only to find out they still didn’t fit over his foot.!! It was then I realized that I had made the socks out of a different brand of yarn than the ones I had made the year before. I had used this brand for yarn for socks for me, and I didn’t bother with a gauge swatch. So i shortened the foot, and I have a nice pair of knee socks–but I owe my husband a pair of
    christmas socks. Except I’m a little over making socks for now and each time I see the socks I feel a little guilty.

  27. What a bummer! Naming similar patterns with a similar name is bound to cause confusion. Loved seeing you in SF. I’ve missed you at least three previous times. Glad I caught wind of this tour in time and did not have other plans. You were wonderfully funny (as if you would have been anything less). 🙂

  28. One of your quotes comes to mind. From memory, so forgive an inaccuracies but “experienced knitters don’t make smaller mistakes, we make bigger mistakes faster.” I hope the frogging and the second chance are nicer.

  29. Gosh, when I saw you were knitting Adrian, I went to the Cocoknits page in Ravelry ,and saw the two patterns. And I was wondering about you knitting Adrian because it is boxy, and I’m short like you are, and thinking “hmmm, really, it looked that good on you.? Because I would knit Adriana over that one.”
    At least Verb had the yarn, and now I know that if I knit one, it’ll definitely be Adriana

  30. I actually just finished re-knitting my dad’s birthday sweater in a smaller size ( it was too large, really, so when I discovered it was too big for him to wear, I just unraveled it and knit it over again in the next size down) — while it was still mostly balls of wavy yarn, I was calling it “The Once and Future Sweater”. I’ve found that a nifty name for something can be a great comfort to me while I’m working on it. (Though now I’m just calling it the “twice-knit sweater”, since it’s all done.)

    Good luck with your “Once and Future Vests”! 🙂

  31. Snort. I just finished writing a brief post on how much fun I think the “human verification” test is. (Specially when Steph drops in a Reply to a poster, which just tickles me for some reason.)
    And you all know what happened, right?
    It bounced me…twice. Well, three times, now. :o(

  32. Omg my posts are finally going thru! I feel almost human again!

    Loved seeing you in SF. Sorry about birch and Adrian. It took me 13 mos to knit my first (very simple) scarf. I am confident your recovery knitting will be faster.

    Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

  33. Well, as my friend E. said years ago while helping me rip back a very large sweater for my very tall husband, “It’s all yarn over the needle”!

  34. What you and Debbie knit was a large swatch. Swatch knitting is important to do so you know you’ve got gauge. You’ve got gauge!

  35. For a designer to have two (very similar) vest designs and call one “Adrian” and one “Adraina” is nuts. I’ll wager you and Debbie weren’t the only ones to get them confused. (Although most likely you are the only ones to knit the entire “other” garment before you realized the mistake…)

    This designer needs to get a little more creative in naming her patterns!!!!!! What was she thinking??????

  36. Well, you got the pattern free and kept so many of us from making the same mistake. Also, it makes such a good story. I love this post!!

  37. I am so sorry about the vest and reknitting… I don’t know if I would have had the stomach to do it.

    Curiosity question: what kind of straight needles are those? I have never seen any like them in the states and I like knitting on long straights. Thanks.

  38. Well, gosh, that just makes me feel better. Last night I ripped back an entire hat (for the third time), the previous had had to be ripped back twice and the project before that, should have been ripped back! 🙂

  39. Thank you for making me feel normal in my goofs. I won’t mention the horribly short socks that had awkward proportions and a wiggly gusset line. And I was sober while knitting them.

    Onwards, brave Knitter!

  40. So much for the old adage “Two heads are better than one.” It does make for a great story, and one day, you too will be able to laugh.

    I vote for dropping your finished article into the Christmas box. Somewhere in your extended family, there will be a happy recipient.

    Julie is not only a great pattern writer/designer, but also a wonderful teacher!

  41. I started laughing and then I just wanted to give you a big hug. I hope Adriana is REALLY nice because if there is anything wrong with it, all you will be able to think about is that you knit it TWICE! Perserverance is the way of the knitter!

  42. They’re so similar in style! Who knew the letter “a” could be such a troublemaker.
    I was not able to make it to San Francisco afterall. I was going to leave work early, but then two other staff had to leave so there went my personal plans, and then my daughter ended up being sick too, so it became a bummer I couldn’t get home to her earlier.
    That was so thoughtful of you to leave signed books! I’m sure they’re all gone now though.
    So, instead of reading your book this weekend (now I gotta wait for the Amazon order) I ended up finding a Janet Evanovich 1st Edition “Wicked Appetite” at the $1 store. It was a good read, but it wasn’t a Stephanieee.
    Happy travels! 🙂
    So many knitters to laugh with.

  43. You’ll be in Denver tonight and I’m not getting to Denver until tomorrow night (insert sad face) but….I have a very sweet friend who’ll be in Denver at your signing and she’s going to pick up a book and have it signed for me. Her name is Jen Stegmann and she’s a peach. Wish I could have met you myself ’cause I really need to blame you in person for the obsession I have with knitting socks and the stockpiling of sock yarn. Have a great time in Denver.

  44. You were at one of my LYS’s!!!! And I was thinking of popping over there too :'( . just finished your book, it was super fun 😀 .

  45. OMG, that is terrible. I’m sorry, though, I laughed at the text exchange — I swear in sympathy. That really super sucks. At least you have company in Debbi.

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  47. To think I almost missed this by not checking on Sunday.

    And with all due respect to Paula F. @ 2:39?

    Oh, it is funny.
    So, so funny.
    Affectionate derision among peers — finest kind.

  48. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Today’s really had me laughing out loud. I’ve only been knitting about 4 yrs, but to know that you pros can mess up too made my day. Keeps me optimistic. Keep up the good work.

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  51. See, this is why I like reading your blog – because you totally crack me up. And because, even though you are a fabulous knitter, and a talented writer, you still stuff up big time 🙂 It makes me feel a whole lot better about myself – thanks! (I really am sorry about the pattern mix up though – bummer).

  52. Oh man, I am so so sorry, but that is the funniest thing I’ve read in so long… Actually I had to do two things right after I read it: send it to my crafty friends and buy your book. I can’t wait to read more stories… I think if you wrote stories about flossing I’d read them. You are just so so good.

  53. Also wow! Your new comment system is so fancy! It took me a while to pass the human/non human test (not sure why?) and then when I do my picture magically appeared! How? Where did it come from? It’s my old avatar so maybe some database I don’t know about? I totally don’t mind, I’m just curious.

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