Actually, in Reverse

For something that started so quickly, that cowl is totally going the other way now. The spinning and plying flew by and now…  The problem is me, like it always is.  I started knitting the cowl, charging along – following the pattern and when I had about 8cm, I realized that the gauge wasn’t working out, and that it was coming out too small, and… I ripped it back added another repeat, and kept going.

Now the astute among you will notice that I have here violated knitting rule #1, which is that I didn’t do a swatch, if I’d have done a swatch, I would have known my gauge was off, and that it would be too small, and I could have prevented the wasted knitting time. It’s a cowl though, and so I broke the rule, and when I had to rip back there was nobody but me to blame, and it wasn’t that much time wasted. The cowl is small, it’s fast knitting.  That first rip didn’t even bother me. It took two minutes, I pulled it all out, I added another repeat to the stitch count, and I started knitting again.  Now, is there anything you think I missed there? Any step that I should have taken, any technique I could have used at that moment to make it more likely that things would go better for me in the future? Yes, yes there was, my little poppets. I have here executed classic knitting mistake #2, which is that if you make a mistake, then it is likely best not to repeat the mistake and then expect the result to be different. I was in trouble because I didn’t measure, and I could have gotten out the measuring tape, and I could have seen how much it was too small by, and then I could have added an appropriate number of stitches based on that, rather than just adding “some” and feeling better about the whole thing.

That wasn’t the choice I made though, after executing mistakes #1 and 2, and so when I realized that I hadn’t added enough stitches (for the second time) and it was still going to be too small, there was nothing to do but blame myself again.  I pulled the work back, and added two more repeats, and started again.  Returning to the astute among you, we see that I have still not made any mention of a measuring tape or simple maths, even though I have now been twice punished with wasted knitting.  Inexplicable choice, that. Inexplicable. Still, I am who I am, so I added more stitches, started again, and knit until it was more than clear to me that I still had a problem. Then I knit for a while longer.

That’s right. Classic knitting error #3. I knew it was wrong, and I kept right on going while I thought about that.  I kept knitting and knitting, and the more I knit, the clearer it became that I now had not one, but two problems. First – the cowl was not going to be big enough, and second, it wasn’t going to use up as much of my handspun as I wanted. There’s nothing quite as sad as wasted handspun, so… I knit for a while longer and thought about how sad it was that I was making this mistake. I kept knitting, and knitting, and every so often i would spread it out on my leg and sigh, and think about the mistake I was making, and then do another few rounds. It was late into the evening before I decided that I couldn’t ignore it any more – so I knit another few rounds while I thought about how to solve it. This, of course, is knitting madness, brought about by brought about by an unwillingness to live in reality, and I kept knitting like knitting would solve my knitting problem. The more I knit, the bigger the problem got, and the more I knit the less I wanted to pull the work out and start again.  I thought about alternate ways to solve it while I knit. I thought about living with it (obviously, I was leaning that way), I thought about doing some increases and making a weird shaped thing. I thought about knitting socks instead.

rippingmeasuiring 2015-08-27

Once I’d sighed several times, and spread it out again, and the problem was still there (despite all the times I’d tried fixing it by doing nothing) I finally took the needle out of it, and got a tape measure, and went to the scale, and faced a few facts.  First, yes. It was too small.  I wasn’t getting gauge, and it wasn’t going to be big enough. Not quite. Second, after weighing the thing, it was plain that I wasn’t going to use up the handspun. I was more than halfway through it, and there was way more than half the yarn left.  I think that was when I poured myself a decent size glass of wine, reminded myself that I had nobody to blame but me, wondered absently how it is that I never learn my lesson, and ripped the thing all the way back.

Now I’ve started again. I’ve done the math, I’ve used a measuring tape, and I’ve (once more) sworn that I this is the last time that I’ll ever screw up in this particular way.

redocowl 2015-08-27

I’m 12 rounds in, and I vow, this will be a cowl. There’s no other mistakes left for me to make.