Sure, mid row.

So, I’m reading this book and knitting on this little pink baby bolero.
Yeah, that’s right, a bolero. You got a problem with that? Haven’t you ever just sat around looking at the little Aran you are knitting and thought, “Holy crap! I could be knitting a pink bolero with a cross over front! What am I doing with my life! It’s all wrong….I’ve got to get it together.” Then thrown down the Aran and seized a sweet pink wool with these little slubs in it and immediately cast on a damned Bolero? I thought so. These problems are far more common than most people would expect. It’s not just me.
A quick note about the Cherry Aran: Mary and Chelsea ask “What Aran?” and wonder if this is the handspun sweater for Joe, and Julia thinks maybe she recognises the “Must Have Cardi“. All wrong, rest assured that when I begin Joe’s sweater with the handspun, no one will miss it. There will be a parade and a party, and cats carrying little trays of watercress sandwiches, and a bevy of trumpets playing a joyous song while the sun shines down on the belly dancers and the release of a thousand white miniature sheep all wearing little gold necklaces, as I dance in the street because I have finally, finally finished the thousands and thousands of yards of freakin’ spinning for the sweater.
Don’t worry, you won’t miss it.
It’s not the Must have Cardi either, though I forgot how much I like that sweater….(focus…don’t lose your focus…) The Cherry Aran is just the wool re-incarnation of the bungled cotton baby sweater from last week. Nothing new, nothing fancy, It isn’t even my pattern since I found the perfect pattern in this book.
Back to my point. So I was reading the “Tips and Tricks” book, when I read this…
We have all been told never to stop in the middle of a row of knitting….”
It goes on to describe the various ways in which one may avoid doing this.
I’m a little freaked out here. “We have all been told“? “never“? Or what? What happens if somehow you get to be someone who has been knitting for 31 years and you have never, ever heard of this and to make things worse, much, much worse, you have in fact taught many, many people to knit, including innocent children for crying out loud…innocent children, and you never told them this at all. Why, in the name of all things wooly, why do you never stop in the middle of a row? Locusts? Bad Karma? Tornados? What about circular knitting, how do you avoid it, it’s all one long row isn’t it? What, once you start a circular sweater you have to finish? No eating, no sleeping, for the love of sheep….just. keep. knitting.
I’ve stopped in the middle of a row a thousand times. Sometimes, I even stop not in the middle, but towards one side – why, I’ve been completely random with it, never knowing that there was yet another knitting rule that I had smashed to smithereens. What will become of me? What have I been risking? It’s gotta be something bad or the book wouldn’t say that, but it can’t be anything to do with knitting or I would have noticed. Listen, I’m really just mentioning it here as a public service. I’m gonna stop. You better stop too.

38 thoughts on “Sure, mid row.

  1. That rule must be for drawing room knitters. Perhaps they knit in such bad light that they couldn’t see which way they were going if they had stopped in the middle of a row. Maybe they just liked having rules. After all, knowing the rules is one of the ways you could prove that you belonged to the right set. (Still is, just different rules.)
    I will continue to stop knitting wherever I am when interrupted, reserving the right to knit to the end of the pattern repeat if I feel like it, though. I have given up on proving I belong to the right set.

  2. I can understand an injunction against stopping in the middle of a row of lace or complicated cabling that you have just started to knit, but otherwise I think it does not matter in the slightest. In fact I sometimes DELIBERATELY stop in the middle of a row so that I know where I am in increases or decreases. I find it easier to recognize that I have knit two together at the beginning of the row and therefore must do so at the end than trying to count the number of rows between.
    Further, my guess is that any distorted stitches from stopping in the middle of a row would readily block out once you wash the piece. Cotton might, I suppose, be an exception. I get quite irritated with knitting books which tell you what you MUST do — or not do! Baa humbug!

  3. What you didn’t tell us was that the rest of the sentence reads “…but we all know that’s hogwash.” Clearly the “we” in that statement means “me and the two other people in the room with me right now have all been told…”
    The only way to not stop in the middle of the row is to refridgerate your husband and children.

  4. HOW can you stop in the middle of the row? That drives me crazy. Absolutely crazy. Twitching, almost foaming at the mouth. Goes against my very nature. I had to stop in the middle of a row once (because I ran out of yarn), and it nearly killed me.

  5. Well, I have been lurking on this blog for months and thoroughly enjoy reading it and the comments, but today’s post drew me out from the shadows. I have to relate that I am in fact one of those knitters that knows this rule, but it was taught to me as ” the only reason you can stop knitting in the middle of a row is if Cary Grant is at the front door.” Then it is allowable. You can put down your knitting mid-row for this and no other reason, to answer the door to Cary Grant. This bit of wisdom comes from the woman who taught my mother to knit and at the time Cary Grant was still alive. If he showed up at my door now I think I would run screaming, but hey, my other rule is supernatural manifestations of silver screen stars and knitting do not mix.
    And the rule has been modified in years since to allow for changing tastes. I have substituted Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Orlando Bloom, etc., – insert name of fave hottie here -. I hope this clarifies the rule for some. Thanks for the fun read!

  6. Thank you for making me laugh so many times. Your blog is my mid-morning read and I get antsy when you are not there to brighten the rest of my day.
    Middle of the row – why not? That’s your choice. I’m firm believer of “I’m in charge here”.

  7. It just occurred to me: maybe, just maybe, all those times you’ve incurred the wrath of the knitting goddesses, it was because you DID stop in the middle of a row while you were working away…. I guarantee that now that you’ve stopped that bad, bad habit, you’ll never, ever have anything go wrong with a project.

  8. “…cats carrying little trays of watercress sandwiches” You crack me up. I can just picture a very refined kitty with its nose tipped up in the air just so carrying a silver tray.

  9. “We have all been told never to stop in the middle of a row of knitting….”
    Steph, I just read this same idea a couple days ago and said “What the…?” to my husband. 25 years of knitting and I never got the memo. It’s fear, I tell you, it’s a conspiracy to keep us all living in fear… 😉

  10. Nothing to do with knitting happens? Why do you think the yarn caught on fire? Remember the Starmore Saga??
    Coincidence? I think not.

  11. Nothing to do with knitting happens? Why do you think the yarn caught on fire? Remember the Starmore Saga??
    Coincidence? I think not.

  12. Toya, I vote for Orlando Boom!
    Steph- your pink sweater is lovely. What in the world is a bolero? Also, I must apologize and admit my own stupidity here. I assumed the cherry aran was for Joe as well. I was thinking “Dang, she’s whipping through that one quick!”. Now I realize that DUH!, it’s the baby sweater!

  13. I have experienced stitch distortions from stopping in the middle of a row. But I knit with a LOT of cotton, and I agree that with any other fibre it would likely block out–but cotton stubbornly shows all knitting sins.
    Incidentally, you e-mailed a while ago to ask if I didn’t think my habit of knitting with used yarn wasn’t too colossal a pain, and I said I only bothered to wash out the kink from non-cotton yarns. Well, I wanted to let you know I’ve learned my lesson, having just frogged a pink cotton skirt that looked like lumpen hell. Yet another little laziness the cotton won’t let me hide. It kind of looked like I stopped knitting six times in each row. Only worse.

  14. You could do what I did once…stop in the middle of a row….REALLY the middle….pick it up….knit to the end of the row. Look at it. BIG hole in the middle. Must be a dropped stitch. Ripped back. That didn’t help. No ladder. Took it to three knitter friends. The third one (who now forever is the most intelligent knitter I know) fixed the fixes of the first two by identifying the problem. I had turned it around and continued knitting. You can stop in the middle of a row IF you have memory.

  15. Hi, this is my first post here, i just could not resist the trend about nonsensical knitting rules. when i re-learned knitting, i was told not only never to stop in the middle of the row, but also never to stop after a knit row, only after completing the following purl row. now, i can see some reason about the first rule, like distorted stitches with cotton yarn etc., but i have been puzzling over the second rule for about 23 years. i think about it nearly everytime i put down my project. can somebody please help me out of my misery?
    thank you!

  16. Your blog made me laugh aloud! Whomever wrote that must not have a husband that calls from the other room “Honey, come see this. . . ”

  17. Ok, I’m having one of those Twilight Zone (do-do-do-do) kind of moments. I read your blog this morning, trying not to snort chai out my nose when I laughed out loud and then pondered the “never stop in the middle of a row” rule. See, I had never heard this rule before either and though I rarely do stop in the middle of a row, there are occasions when it’s frankly necessary to. Let’s say the pot of pasta boils over, or you hear a blood-curdling scream from your daughter’s bedroom, or your adoring, amorous husband/significant other sneaks up behind you and starts kissing your neck. Life happens in the midst of knitting. And so long as I mind my tension and make sure that no stitches get dropped, I can’t see the harm in it.
    I took Kersti to lunch with me, knowing that I am always the first one to show up at the restaurant. I knit a few rows while waiting and then a few more while we waited for our food. When it came, I set my knitting down, mid-row. For shame! After lunch I carefully put Kersti in my purse (still mid-row) and headed for the quilting store. When I paid for my batiks, the lady at the counter noticed my knitting and asked to see it. I pulled it out and the other lady, an old-timer at the store and long-time knitter/instructor told me, “You should never stop in the middle of a row.” The Knitting Goddess must be conspiring against us, Stephanie. I swear.

  18. I’d stop mid-row for a hunk at the door, or the mailman bearing packages with my name on them. I also stop to answer the phone, the door, DH, a kid, a cat, the dog; eat ice cream, cookies, cake; watch something particularly interesting that catches my eye on TV… Etc.

  19. I generally try not to stop in the middle of the row when I’m knitting on single-points, but I also generally try not to knit on single-points. With circular needles, I don’t have to worry so much about the needle with fewer stitches falling out. Maybe that’s part of why the rule came about…

  20. I was taught to knit by my great-aunt Blanche and she did tell me it was best not to stop in the middle of a row so I wouldn’t lose my place. I do try to finish a row before putting the knitting down, but that’s because I’m a little anal about things like that, not because I think karma will get me 🙂

  21. I love to stop in the middle of a row. If I’m following a chart and have my row marked, it’s perfectly clear where to start once I’ve picked up again: This Row.
    If I finish the row and pick up again, (looking at the chart) “Did I finish this row? Is this the row I’m to start next?”
    Always stop in the middle of a row.

  22. heh, I’m with you renegades. I stop in the middle of rows all the time. Sure I may drop a stitch now and then, but really, I live in an area of tornados, flooding and termites. And that’s without knitting. Then again, there are those ex’s of mine…

  23. My theory is that when I complete full rows (or rounds) before putting down a project, I get more accomplished. Seems sensible that if I’m always knitting a full row when I touch it, it’ll grow faster than if I allow half rows.
    But I’m also weird and having a few stitches on one needle with the other almost full keeps me up at night.

  24. The scene: my chaise lounge
    The knitting: lacey cardi in black sport-weight cotton on size 3’s.
    The row: stopped in the sort-of middle.
    Pass the cherry bowl.

  25. The person who made up that rule about never stopping in the middle of a row certainly didn’t have kids. I try not to stop in the middle of a row but between the dog and the 3 teenagers, and the 2 younger kids, that is not always possible. I don’t do beaded knitting unless I can almost guarantee that I won’t be interrupted mid row and a row is only 10 stitches across. Another good thing about having knit the same pattern or item more than once is that you can actually stop in the middle of a row without having to come back and undo the row.
    susanna in halifax, NS

  26. I, too, was told never to stop in the middle of the row. The reason given was that way you wouldn’t pick up your knitting and knit back the other direction doing, in effect, a short row you never intended. I have passed this wisdom on to those I’ve taught as well. In my version of the rule, I also tell them to remember that the yarn always goes in their right hand (since I’m a thrower) and stays to the right of the stitch on the needle.

  27. A: What’s a bolero? The advantages of it? The whys, the whearfores, the PATTERN source, Missy?
    B: The cherries- put a sign on the tree that says free for the picking and you will not have to worry about it. At least, it works for my lemon tree. (See, in California, lemontrees are oh so common- but I had to plant one, because I come from a cold climate where lemon juice comes in green glass bottles- did I think about the fact that it puts out a bushel a month, all year round? I did not.)

  28. I’ve been known to stop mid-row on a simple knit, but don’t tell my husband. “Yes, honey, but please wait until I finish this row,” is my way of teaching him patience. 😉

  29. I swear I never taught them this ‘rule’ but when I’m knitting, if it is not a life threatening situation – my kids and dh will always prefice their request with “when you are done with that row…”. They seem to have been taught by someone that mom is not to stop in the middle of a row.

  30. I was told when I was just a wee child by someone or other, never to leave my knitting in the middle of a row. I asked my Mom about this rule, and she told me “She has servants. She doesn’t need to worry about it.” She also told me there were no knitting police, and if I broke the “rules” who cared? Being young, I loved the thought of breaking rules, and have done it ever since. I have also done my best to spread the news that the knitting police do not exist.
    Stopping to knit a crossover bolero makes perfect sense to me. I’ve actually done it, but it was white yarn with multi coloured flecks and I stopped knitting the famous Patons leaf yoked baby sweater in minty green to make the bolero. Looks like the same pattern though.
    Barb B.

  31. knit how you want when you want. If you need to frog or tink, just call it more knitting.
    And those cats with watercress sandwiches? loved them.. But you know why they are watercress, right?? If they were tuna the plate would be empty!
    going back to her knittin’

  32. And just _how_ are you going to get the cats to play waiter? I can picture chaos, as kitties with trays strapped on their backs run to and fro, tripping the guests.
    If I’m doing something complicated, I knit until I reach the end of the complicated part, or knit until I reach the start of the next complicated part. Otherwise, I stop where I stop.
    It should be noted that, when knitting socks or something portable, and you don’t want to risk dropping and thereby losing a needle, it is BEST to stop in the middle of the row. (In my oh so humble opinion.)
    Of course, I’m one of those nuts who never understood how one might mistakenly begin knitting unintended short rows — the yarn’s only on one side, correct? — or why purling is supposed to be hard. (There are a few things to be said for my weird pick-up-and-loop style!)
    Dang, but I missed reading your blog! (I’ve been on vacation.)

  33. Sounds like we need a new line item for the Bad-Ass Knitter’s Manifesto: Put down your knitting anytime you want, anywhere you want, whether you’re at the end of a row or not!

  34. for me it has been modified to try not to stop in the middle of a row when working back and forth. The number of times the needle has been pulled out of the stiches is too painful to count. Also my knitting travels & doesn’t always get picked up again for days so I would get big stretched out spots from being stuffed in a bag & ignored.
    But who said knitting has rules set in cement. I don’t think I would still be knitting if they were.

  35. I’m with Caren, and all the other “Bad-Ass Knitters” out there. Stop whenever and wherever you damn please, and pass the sandwiches.
    By the way, I love your blog and your writing…it’s always a pleasure to drop in and see what you have to say and show.

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