September 2, 2011

Cat Days

This weekend marks the traditional end of summer in these parts - though if we're lucky we'll get a few more weeks before nature gets the memo.  Already it is certain that the dog days of summer are over.  The days are still hot, but the evenings and nights are cooling off, a sure sign that the real meat of summer is behind us. The Sock Summit so completely defined the first part of my summer this year, that I've tried hard to make August make up for it. I've still got a few boxes to tick off, and I shall apply myself desperately in the next few days to get there.  I'm yet to eat dinner on a patio, host a summer spin-in out in my back garden, swim in the pool in High Park, or find myself in a canoe, but I'm working on it. As much as I might have failed in the summer department, I feel like I'm going to nail autumn.  I'm making plans for sweaters and Rhinebeck and long walks in the leaves, during which I will have a shiny new scarf thing, because Catkin is almost finished.  It's still wet, and it has no buttons, but it's still a vision.

It took only 4 days of knitting, if you disallow most of the day before yesterday in which I discovered an absolutely critical error that resulted from nothing more that my own belief that I know what I'm doing, which clearly, I don't.  I had to rip back about five 500 stitch rounds, and I'm really rather proud of how I behaved during that time. 

I'd like to stress that the pattern isn't complicated or difficult.  At the outset of the chart for the  knit/purl chevron pattern I thought it was complicated for a second, but it's not.  Each row follows a totally predictable k2/p2 pattern that's a walk in the park once you realize that all you have to get right is the first few stitches of each row.  After that it's a simple matter of looking at the rows before, and keeping the 2X2 flowing in the right direction.  It's a pretty easy maneuver for the thinking knitter.

Perhaps that- the idea that this was all fine and made total sense and the comforting feeling that I totally understood the pattern was what led to my downfall, which was the inexplicable belief that if I understood the first chart I probably didn't need to really pay any meaningful attention to the second chart, which turned out to be a completely ludicrous example of knitterly idiocy - and I accept all the blame for it. The two charts have nothing to do with each other.  It was like thinking I wouldn't study for a Swahili exam because I did pretty well in grade 11 French.    

Whenever I have trouble with a pattern (and you may have noticed that it happens often enough for me to be able to sense themes about it) I always end up seeing some warnings about it on other blogs, or on Ravelry.  Knitters typing "Watch out!  Stephanie had a hard time with that pattern" or worse, some sort of subtle slag that implies that the pattern is as well written as a 14 year old girls diary.  (I shouldn't have said that since some 14 year old girls are fine writers.  It's mostly a problem with content.)  

I just want to point out that before anybody decides a pattern must be hard or tricky or whatever because I suffered briefly at its hands... keep this in mind.

It's really, really hard to knit a pattern well if you don't read it.

Posted by Stephanie at September 2, 2011 1:51 PM