I’m okay now

No, Fox Paws isn’t done. It was supposed to be – or at least I thought it would be done today, and maybe it would have been, if things hadn’t gone a little pear shaped. (By a little pear shaped, understand that I mean that me and that piece of knitting have suffered an insult to our relationship that I’m still struggling to work through.)  I was knitting along, minding my own business, packing for Madrona in my head (which is not as effective as actually packing, but you know- it’s a start) and all of a sudden, it stopped working.  Now that I’m used to it, Fox Paws has a rhythm I can see.  There’s certain points where I can check in, and know if I’m spot on, or if something’s come off the rails. There’s spots where decreases line up, and increases go on top of other increases, and now that I’ve learned where those landmarks are, it helps a lot. If I get to one of those spots and things aren’t working, then I know I missed something, and back I go – just to the beginning of that repeat – or the last place it all made sense.  So, that’s what happened this morning. I got to a place where I check in, and it didn’t check out, and so I swore gracefully (I’m getting good at it) and tinked back, and had myself a little do over.  Still wrong. Back I went again, and still wrong. I tried a few more times, and then figured that I’d done something really stupid a few rows back – something like knitting four together instead of five, or missed a little yarn-over. A klutzy little manoeuvre that left me short a stitch.  I looked for it, didn’t find it, and in the grand tradition of knitters everywhere, I fudged. I did one less decrease so that it would start lining up again, and carried on. This – for the record, didn’t work. Things stayed screwy, likely because I’d compensated in the wrong spot, and a few rows later, when I was just about out of my mind trying to get back on the horse, I saw this.

foxpawsdropped 2015-02-09

Yup. A dropped stitch. See that little cream coloured one that’s in the wind? Rat bastage. At that point I did the only mature thing. I contemplated some sort of ninja fix, decided I’d come too far to have it be less than perfect, and I ripped out several heartbreaking rows.

foxpawsdroppedoff 2015-02-09

This, my friends, is the reason why some knitters drink in the afternoon, which I didn’t do, but I understood the urge completely. A considerable amount of time later (really, really considerable) I had it back on the needles, and it was working again.

foxpawsnotdone 2015-02-09

Still, that little episode cost me my only knitting time today, and so instead of being finished, Fox Paws is one small curled cat length short of a chesterfield, and I can’t spare any more time to wrestle with it. I’ve got workshops to prep for – and the Madrona Teacher Talent Show for Charity to finish pulling together (and I still have no talent – apparently not even for knitting) and well. The idea that I’d get on a plane on Wednesday wearing this bad boy is starting to be pretty freakin’ unlikely.   All because I dropped one stinking stitch.

Today, knitting and I have a pretty dysfunctional love-hate thing going.

140 thoughts on “I’m okay now

    • See my hand in the air? Me, three! I just wish I had a smaller cat. My monster is 15.5 lbs, and none of that is fat. Pure bone and muscle – he occupies, curled up, roughly a 17″ circle, and is almost 4 ft. long in full stretch.

  1. Last evening, while watching the Grammys, I knit – and tinked – the same two rows (approximately 300 stitches each) of a sweater I’m making – 3 times. Usually TV and knitting works well for me, but last night by 11pm I wanted to throw it across the room (I wasn’t as upset as Kanye, but close).

    • TV and knitting usually works for me, too. Until my sister gifted me a box set of “The Killing” – Nordic Noir TV. It took three beginnings of Irish Coffee before I realized that knitting and subtitles really don’t work together.

      • Don’t lose hope! Even with subtitles, they take several moments longer to say the words than it takes to read them. Just takes practice and some less-intrusive knitting at the start. Keep it up! 🙂

      • Wow! I never thought about sub- titles until reading this…. Guessing that is the advantage of being brought up in a small country so you have to learn other languages in order to manage while traveling

        Born in Denmark thus speaking Danish but very close to Sweden so understand that too – then adding the following languages learnt in school: English (happens to be my work language), German, French and a little Spanish

        • Thank you for mentioning this! It makes me crazy when some of my fellow North Americans think it’s putting on airs or something, to know more than one language. (Funny story, I visited my daughter in Seoul when she was living there teaching English, after university. She had to move apartment while I was there, and so I tagged along with her, the school director, and his realtor. We knew they both spoke English so when I wanted to make a private comment to my daughter, I did so in French – only to have the realtor join in, since she’d studied at the Sorbonne! That taught me yet another lesson about making assumptions!)

          • About the American tendency to think it’s “putting on airs” to know another language; this IS ‘Murica, after all, land of the free, home of the gun-toters, who believe English is the First Language from which all others originated and that all other languages are made-up gibberish that shouldn’t be tolerated…


            Some days, I just want to expatriate.

          • I am an American who thinks it is appalling that we are so proud of only knowing one language (and sometimes don’t know that one as well as we think we do!). However, I do love how people slip into another language for “privacy”. My Spanish is pretty rusty these days…but I can do some eavesdropping in it…and I am not telling.

  2. Oh dear, so sorry to hear about your day. I would have thought that a pattern as complex as Fox Paws could not be easily taken off the needles, then put back on, but it appears that you can. In some unfair way (to you), it is somewhat reassuring that this happens to the best knitters, so we less skilled shouldn’t be too distressed when it happens to us. You will look fabulous when you wear this lovely scarf!

  3. I am doing garter stitch, single color squares; they will eventually be sewn together into a cozy blanket for the rec room.
    The amount of invisible knitting in this project is embarrassing.
    I dread to think what Fox Paws would be doing to me this week.

        • Indeed…we are in need of some of the white stuff on our mountains north of the border as well; and a note to Mother Nature, next time, could you send some white rum to go with all the pineapple you’re sending with those pineapple expresses? Maybe some ham, as well…

          • It’s all over the news here, (CNY) there is no where left to put the snow – especially in Boston and other hard-hit areas – too bad we can’t just truck it all west to you?!?

          • I would be so, so willing to share. I’m just north of Boston and we’ve had 75 inches (that’s 190 cm for the metric among us) in the last 3 weeks. Shoveling and extra long commutes have really cut into my knitting time.

  4. My Fox Paws has so many “fudges” it’s not funny. I’m an accomplished lace knitter, but this pattern is nuts. Good luck on finishing.
    Julie in San Diego

  5. I don’t feel so bad if Fox Paws can get to you. I’m trying to knit Xandy’s trial leaves to get the feeling of those crazy increases and decreases, then the scarf, followed by her Petal Cowl, and then Fox Paws. I am bound and determined. These may be the last things that I ever knit.

  6. You’re you! Its your talent. Besides you get to emcee this delightful bit of craziness. Herding all those cats is definitely a talent. I’m mentally sewing the swatches for my class with margaret radcliffe together. Somewhere between here and Thursday I’ll have to get a little more real about it. See you Thursday!

  7. You just gave me the courage to knit back (tink) to the the beginning of the heel of a sock that I managed to turn inside out and backwards while turning the heel.

  8. I remember when I was a relatively new knitting, and I was making an Icarus shawl, in black laceweight for my sister. And I realized that a few rows back on the lace edging I’d knit some rows instead of purling. I cried. Hard. Like, great big heartwrenching sobs. I eventually got it ripped back and then back onto the needles, but it was a while before I wanted to work on it again.

    Glad you’ve got Fox Paws sorted out.

  9. Nards! It’s so tempting to fudge it when you’re that close-one of my current projects has a glaring error in the first four rows that I’m trying to ignore, but odds are once it’s done I’ll rip out from the cast on and redo those four rows.

    • I have a simple project that has that same issue and I’ve been trying really, really hard to ignore it. But every time I pick it up I see it. 🙁 There is a message in that and I believe it is the same as the one you shared!

  10. Well, I have to admit to being a fudger (because I am so awful at tinking that I generally end up dropping even more stitches), so I was VERY glad to hear that someone of your stature fudges too. You may had had a dreadful day, but you made mine better, if that’s any comfort. I have just cast off a simple handwarmer, tried it on, and realized there is a hole in the middle of it — how the heck did that happen??? Some creative embroidery called for, I think …

  11. Fox Paws and I are in the middle of the same dance. Spent over an hour ripping back and getting the bloody stiches back on the needle, and the stitch count is still off. I heroically refrained from throwing the thing across the room and retired for the night. We’ll see what this evening brings.

  12. That’s a rather comfy looking cat. Perhaps a few rows of a nice, I can knit with my eyes closed ,sock or something to take the edge off the craziness before you climb back on fox paws

  13. I see you aren’t a safety line aficionado, but I sure am – & even with those I need more than one because I’m so likely to compound mistakes even while trying to FIX mistakes!
    Your Foxpaws? Lovely but would give me hives…

  14. K5tog!? Yikes!!! I’ve begun for the fifth time, a very simple lace edged shawl that a beginner knitter could make. I did make one a few weeks ago It was no trouble at all. It’s a sample for my lys. And this one is a gift and I can’t do it!!! I have no idea how I get off track, but things stop lining up. I will no longer consider this a car project nor one for knit group. Obriously it’s smarter than I am this round. LOL I’m stubborn and have begun again at the beginning. Did I mention it’s the fifth time? Argggh! But I will win!

  15. Funny, or not funny depending how you see it, I ran into a debacle too. I am making slippers and have big feet. Not a problem you think … unless some Tennessee Whiskey gets added into the mix of knitting along with a TV show and somewhere along the way all sorts of bad knitting things ensued. Too short and other wise perfectly matched feet, but need to be felted. Better to rip apart the offender and have a perfect fit than to be disappointed.

  16. I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with knitting lately. What I’m working on is either boring or gets messed up spectacularly (like by changing the gauge of a project and not swatching for it.,..oh yeah! 98 inch bust anyone?). Feeling your pain in NS.

    • I nearly sprayed Mountain Dew all over my monitor when I read “98 inch bust anyone?”. Thanks for brightening an otherwise disheartening day.

  17. I’m impressed that you got all this way on Fox Paws before having a dropped stitch. I think you should have the drink….just sayin’

  18. Hugs dear frustrated one.
    Perhaps you can finish this Chestfield length scarf on the plane and wear it arriving at Madrona?
    OR since you are height challenged maybe chesterfield length is too long and since it is quite thickit might need to wind around your neck too many times or trip you.
    On another hand you might wear a fox costume, wind it all around your body and do a Fox Paws strip tease for your talent. vbg

  19. I hereby declare that “one cat short of a chesterfield” is my new favorite phrase.

    It will be like a secret password — I’ll work the phrase into conversation, and while most people may look at me oddly, if anyone laughs and hugs me, I’ll know I found another Harlot-reader…

  20. I saw the pic of the dropped stitch, gasped, and said (out loud), “Oh, you little bast#rd! ” to which my husband replied, “what did your kids do now?”

    • I just completely lost it at the ‘what did your kids do now?’ part. At my work, it’d be more like ‘what did the students do
      now?’ Or teachers…

  21. It looks pretty long. When this gets blocked it will be perfect. I predict you will be wearing this beautiful scarf at Madrona. It is only Monday and you will feel so good when it is done. The bindoff will be awesome! Go for it chase that fox.

  22. It’s a great thing you ripped back though! What disaster the little bastard could have caused! You’ll get it done on time…you always do. 🙂

  23. Thank you!!! for sharing your own frustrations. Misery must love company coz I’m feeling much better about my own knitting mishaps as I read this. Let’s keep breathing and knit on. Have a great Madrona!!

  24. If you’re still searching for a talent, I strongly suggest teaching the audience how to swear gracefully. I would definitely be fascinated to learn! Good luck with the fox paws! If it is any consolation, even with your struggles, I’m still dying to make my own. It’s beautiful.

  25. For some reason in my mind I saw “some knitters drink in the afternoon” but I keep reading “some drinkers knit in the afternoon”. It took several times reading it before it came out right!!!! Yeah it’s been a rough day for me too!!

  26. Since the last amazing scarf became a victim of the great airport lost and never to be found zone, perhaps it is better that fox paws remains safely at home. The untimely loss of fox paws would be nothing short of nuclear meltdown.

  27. Murphy’s Law strikes again! Still, I’m glad that dropped stitch didn’t unravel into a 2-foot run (or ladder, for your UK readers) in your Fox Paws.

    (The cat looks so cute when she’s sleeping. Hope she’s feeling better!)

  28. I’ve found the peace with my mistakes.I find it, I rip it off, I start again. My experience tells me that I will always regret not coming back to that missed decrease/increase.

  29. Is that how they spell maneuver in Canada? You learn something new everyday. Here I was, about to go to bed and hadn’t learned anything new today. Thanks for helping me out.

    And bummer about the scarf. It looks great. At least you found the dropped stitch before it worked its way down the scarf. It looks like it’d be a hard piece to fix a dropped stitch if it got more than a couple rows down.

  30. Keep Calm, and Knit On.
    Then Tink.
    Then Knit, knit, knit to the finish line!
    You’ll get there when it’s time, and not a moment sooner, although maybe a few grey hairs the wiser….
    PS- we’re still in a retrograde configuration with Mercury so hang tough, it’s all gonna pass 😉

  31. This is what I love about your blog. You are a Rock Star knitter, yet you freely share with us your less-than-perfect knitting adventures. It makes me feel like it is OK when my knitting fails to cooperate. Thanks.

  32. Now I feel better about giving up on knitting a chevron baby blanket when two tries weren’t successful! The baby blanket has been changed to a simple garter/stockinette/reverse stockinette pattern of my own devising. If our dear Harlot can be frustrated with her project, so can I. The difference is that she keeps on truckin’ and I chicken out. (The other difference is that she has an informal deadline — Madrona — but I have a strict one: the baby shower is on the 28th.)

  33. Would it work to take it with you to Madrona and have people contribute a couple stitches here and there? THe masses can help show Fox Paws who’s boss and by the end of the week you’ll have a scarf to wear home.

  34. But ButButBut…. Isn’t ” … dysfuncctional love-hate relationship …. ” what it’s all about? OK, maybe just in my knitting – yours? Will probably turn out just fine!!!

  35. Oh, I feel for you! Yesterday, I had to undo all four fingers of a glove for exactly the same reason. One. Dropped. Stitch. All of the day’s knitting time, gone in one poof. (I was unspeakably cranky.)

    There is hope though: I finished my glove today! Hooray for warm hands!

  36. I’m working on a cowl like that (the beautiful Downtown Cowl – NOT Downton, the other one), but it just isn’t all that complicated! AND it’s the second one I’ve made, with the first working just fine. I’ve made every mistake I’ve ever heard of and more than once, too. And almost every row is different, so dropping down to pick up a stitch that leaped off the needle didn’t work at all. (I did not drop them; they jumped! I swear!)
    Finally realized the merino/cashmere/nylon yarn and the Addi Lace circular just didn’t work well together – a switch to a nice grabby bamboo has it behaving as sweetly as anyone could wish. Never realized that could be a problem before this. Wish I’d figured it out before I ripped out and recast on for the 6th or 7th time – all 220 stitches.

  37. I quote you at myself in similar moments: when you said you’ve never regretted having simply frogged what (and I always add a “truly” in there) needed to be frogged. (This is always after trying and failing endlessly to fudge it and then reminding myself what you said, partly to remind myself to feel better after the frogging. You know how it is.)

    And it’s okay to feel like curling up like your cat in that photo for awhile afterwards.

    • OK, now there are two–no, three-new favorite vocab additions:

      “monkey trucker”
      “one cat short of a chesterfield”

      and the one I saw on Facebutt:
      “exhaustipated” (too tired to give a…)

  38. Sometimes knitting wins. Have just ripped out – twice – a plain stockingstitch sock (!) – I feel for you. I hope it works out for you – its a beautiful pattern – one I would enjoy making – if I ever get this ********* sock done. Good luck.

  39. Yowza! It’s like that little rat bastage stitch was waving at you. I’m with the others who are convinced that you will have it done in style by Wednesday. It’s Tuesday, you say? Pah!
    I’m knitting a very beginner sort of lace shawl and I am counting every stitch because I’m still such a newbie that I can’t read the darned thing. Again, like the others, I am inspired by your willingness and courage to let it all hang out and let us see the dark side when there is one. Soldier on!

  40. I am thinking it must be possible to have a bunch of circular needles in the same size and you just run one of them through a row occasionally and leave it there. Then you can go back if you need to and the shit is already on the needles and it won’t hit the fan!

  41. That rotten little dropped stitch….just sitting there. Looks like it’s giving you the bird. Glad you showed it who was boss!

    I have faith you’ll have it done in time for Madrona. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rat bastard. 😉

  42. Stephanie, one of the reasons I love reading your blog is to find that you are like the rest of us.. even experts drop a stitch now and again.. burn the garment while baking it, pop the tight bind on/off.. and get back and do it again… Last night my adored dog Stanley found my beaded ZuZU petals and tore off all the beads and shredded it back almost to the first lace row… I will put it back on and fix it.. Have no clue how he got it.. and my stomach clenched…

  43. I HATE when there is a dropped stitch. Even more so when the stitch pattern is a tricky one.
    I know you have packing and planning still to do, but keep it up you will get to the end soon.

  44. Well, I’m in the midst of a crocheting binge, and the one thing I hate hate hate about the medium is the inability to ladder down and fix just the problem at hand, like I can in (most) knitted projects. So there is a lot of fudging. SO much fudging.

    But crocheting, for the most part, is forgiving that way, and allows an extra stitch to be tucked away or crocheted over.

    So much fudge, my afghan will be edible by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  45. I have to say that patterns like that that double back on themselves, turn in every conceivable direction, and have crazy decreases placed in illegal locations are why crochet was invented. IMO, of course — but I’ve been mulling a version of that in crochet that, if I’m any guess, will involve far less xanax.

  46. My husband points out, as I rip something out once again, that I must get a lot of pleasure out of some yarn, since I knit it two or more times!

  47. I have a growing collection of little two row balls of yarn that have been unraveled during my Fox Paws journey. Since I began the thing to use up ends and pieces, I am not any closer to accomplishing the stash down than when I began it.
    I keep telling myself it will get done. By next winter.

  48. If it makes you feel any better, the knitting touch went out the window with me yesterday too.

    I have no idea why on earth my brain couldnt comprehend how to pick up 1 stitch from the next pickup in line (I was working on a cap sleeve) but three tries later and I was still picking up from the SAME stitch instead of the NEXT stitch. Cost me the entire night of knitting and a whole heap of swearing..

    Must have been a full moon or something.

  49. “This, my friends, is the reason why some knitters drink in the afternoon … ”

    Upon reflection, this seems to me to be a potential reversal of cause and effect … 🙂

    (Touch THE WORLD!!!! MWA HA HA!!! If you felt that bump, it was me. Sorry.)

  50. The only problem with knitters drinking in the afternoon is that once the concoction is drunk, it gives one a false sense of security. Pick up Fox Paws after that, and it is an incredible feat to repair the damage. (Ask me how I know.)

  51. All things considered, this piece was much more “matter of fact” than I think you felt when you found that little dropped stitch.

  52. A question about ripping back….actually, you could probably do a whole post on this. Do you un-knit every stitch, or do you just slide the whole thing off and unravel? The latter seems faster, but how can you be sure you pick all the stitches up again? I’ve painstakingly un-knitted rows before, and I wonder if there’s a better way!

  53. Last night I ripped back over 1000 stitches from my Downton Abbey Mystery KAL because I was one stitch off.
    Thought about fudging it, but worried about that whole “not really doing the trick and will still be wonky” thing.
    I don’t know what I did wrong; I only know that after I ripped back and put them back on the needle…I had the right number of stitches!
    You are among friends. We feel your pain and totally understand the frustration of negative knitting time!
    (Thanks for the forum for me to post about my 1000 for ONE story. ❤️ It’s nice to know I’m not alone too.

  54. Oh I feel your pain! Having to give over limited knitting time to ‘repairs’ is the worst. I love how you describe your shortage though: one small curled cat length short of a chesterfield. Love it! In the future I’ll have to use that saying rather than ‘the lights are on but no one’s home’ or ‘close but no cigar’, lol.

  55. Don’t worry. It’s the journey, not the destination, that’s important. Sometimes life throws roadblocks in your way — don’t take it personally. It’s just another lesson. Keep on going!

  56. Ummm, talents?. Writing? Helping others see the joy/frustration/universality in knitting. Just sayin’.

    Love the ‘cat’ unit of measurement. Purrfect.

  57. Yup, yup and yup. Me too! I have this black sweater coat that got ripped out on Sunday and I have yet to return to it. The missing 6 inches was too much of a shock to the system for me. I tried to recover with a beer but that did not work. Was offered scotch by DH but that was not suitable. I was looking for…wine with a whiskey chaser and then some honey mead….

  58. I’m packing for my first Madrona tonight, and I’m wildly excited for the talent show! When I tried to explain the concept to a friend, she simply didn’t believe it could be real. Thank you for being the creator of that.

  59. BWAHAHHAAAAAAaaaaa!!! Who knew knitting could be so funny? But it is…and as I try my first lace project, I am often tinking back, swearing under my breath at the one stitch I did wrong. My husband always asks me to explain what I did wrong…as if he could understand if I WERE able to explain it. I never can explain it…

  60. I’ve had that happen. On a scarf, in fact, but not nearly that complex a pattern. Tink, recount, come up wrong, frog the last repeat, reknit, come up wrong – damned if I know what happened.

  61. All hail the power of wool and the ability to pull out needles and have the stitches stay in place. I wouldn’t try that with cotton or silk!

  62. Oh, I’m so glad you wrote about your struggles (though I’m sorry you’re having them). I’ve been having a heck of a time with a pair of socks I’ve been making. I keep messing up simple things and have to rip back. I’ve never ripped back a project so many times. I’m normally quite proficient at socks but this simple little pattern has been kicking my butt! I was beginning to doubt my previous confidence in knitting and wonder if I’ll ever have these socks on my feet… never mind the pair I planned to make for my husband. It’s nice to know that though I’m only a knitter of four years, these things happen to even the most proficient, talented yarnies out there. Thanks for letting me know I’m not an oddball.

  63. I’m not sure if this will work to comment on your post from Feb. 9th, but here goes: I read your post on my break at work and felt so connected! I thought I was just a little crazy over my knitting challenges. What a relief to realize that there is a kindred soul in Canada :)). I *love* your sense of humor and want to let you know that you have a fan in Brentwood, California (east of San Francisco).

  64. I kind of gasped when I saw the little stitch dangling there…but just think if you hadn’t found it.

    For the talent show? Just stand there and knit garter stitch. The way your needles move is plenty for people to be astounded over.

  65. Your brain is astounding, and this will reveal my most un-astounding brain, I don’t see any stitch markers in your Fox Paws. I have read about and looked carefully at historic photos of knitters…no markers there either – even in the most intricate of lace pieces. My hat is off to all of you non-stitch-marker knitters. I may just take up Fox Paws for a 5-year piece – sort of like Soduko or Chess or Bridge…good for the brain, left/right hand coordination staving off dementia and of course, the gorgeousness of watching the colors reveal. Can’t wait to see if after the bath and patting out.

  66. I have a dear friend– she’s always very honest… and if it comes into her head, it comes out her mouth… but she’s not in any way mean about it so it’s ok.

    i was working on a cable sweater for my youngest and with injury and drugs was not doing so well… She came up to visit and i showed her the sweater… she’s a whiz at cables… she looked at it for a minute and said “Do you want me to reknit this for you?”

    No, I said. I’m pulling it back. And did… pulled out and rewound 4 skeins of yarn and started over. Yes, it was that bad.

    So a dropped stitch and a few rows frogged. I get that.

    At this stage with the back done and the front 1/2 done, I have 1 miscrossed cable. Knitting and pain meds don’t mix.

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