That would be a negative

I’m at the airport, getting ready to head to Madrona, and because the universe is out to get me of a problem with my flight, I’m going Toronto to LA, then LA to Seattle. It means that from the time that I leave my house until the moment I fall helplessly into a hotel bed will be about 13 hours of travel. I’m trying to see the upside of that, which is a pretty awesome chunk of knitting time, which is great, because you wouldn’t believe the crappy knitting I did I had a few knitting problems over the last few days.  I knit the daylights out of a cowl that I’m making (no pattern yet, stand by) and was feeling pretty good about how things were going. A nice big cowl, and I had about 5cm of the ribbing done, when I was forced to admit that my gauge was complete bollocks a little off, and had to rip the whole thing out and start over.

I’m not so sure that would have completely broken my spirit bothered me, except that at the same time I discovered a nupp that was disintegrating completely and threatening to destroy the integrity of the entire blanket not quite right, and had to rip back several rows of that work too.

knitting bag1 2017-02-15

(Pictured here, the bag of travel knitting I’ll be trying to fix so that it looks like I can knit better than a drunk ferret how to knit enjoying today.)

So, there you have it, and in case you ever wondered, there are times when I spend hours knitting and am further behind than when I started  and completely waste two days of precious knitting time and my one wild and beautiful life make little mistakes. I’m hoping to get my &%#@@% together today will be a little better.

123 thoughts on “That would be a negative

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who seems to spend stretches of time undoing mistakes. But I remember what you once said Steph, about how the penalty is just more knitting so I smile and knit on.

  2. So sorry to hear of your knitting woes. (Secretly glad that it shows I’m not the only one that has days where it would have been better not to have knit at all.)

    Here’s hoping the 13 hours of traveling will be as relaxing as possible, with awesome quantities of quality knitting completed!

  3. I have to admit it’s encouraging to see an accomplished knitter like you screw up once in a while. It gives hope to the rest of us mere mortals. I wish you smooth travels and smooth knitting.

  4. I blame it on this bronchitis I am battling but I ripped out and abandoned forever two projects that weren’t working well.
    I relate to the “crossed out” portions of the blog.

  5. This makes me feel a little better that last night I had to just rip out an entire lace section I’d spent the past two weeks on. Here’s to hoping for better knitting to all of us going forward!

  6. This proves the point I make to a lot of people, that patience is as important a knitting skill as any technical knowledge. That’s what it takes to rip something out and do it again, sometimes multiple times.

  7. Good luck traveling, delays and flight changes can be rough. After several hours of great knitting progress last night while enjoying some Valentine’s Day wine, I realized this morning I will have to too it all back due to a silly mistake. Not looking forward to it, especially with new yarn for my next project in the mail waiting to arrive!

    • I wish I could use that as an excuse! Finished a lovely lace scarf this weekend and apparently missed one stitch in the bindoff — oh so evident after blocking. Physical nausea Thanks to this group for some consolation. I am still in the phase of sneering at my needles (as though they are the culprits).

  8. I can heartily agree with everyone else, especially since I too have been knitting like a drunk ferret and having to tink and rip back more than usual. Let’s hope the knitting goddess smiles on us all again!

  9. Been there too & you have my utmost sympathy. I soooo appreciate your honesty! Hope it gets better. I have to say that when I screw up my knitting (happens a lot) I do remember if even the torn harlot makes mistakes, then I must be ok too. Hang in there – it will all be worth it.

  10. I got halfway through a baby hat (for a shower this Friday evening) and realized that babies’ heads are not 12 inches around. Second try: babies’ heads may not be 20 inches around, either. Hmph. I may have to dash to the store for a cute onesie after all.

    • Oy, I’ve done this too — but out of total ignorance as to the size of your average baby. I made a little quilted bunting thing, and the guy I gave it to must have wondered what the hell size newborns were on my planet, because I had — and to this day, continue to have — zero experience with babies.

      Note to self: when you have never had a kid, check appropriate sizes for things, or just make blankets. They fit everything.

      • I bought a set of 12 & 18 mo clothes on clearance ( shirt & pants) and I use them to check my knitting against and that has helped keep any baby stuff I knit in the ballpark of sizing anyway. When in doubt, go with the larger size, babies grow FAST and you can roll up the sleeves or pant legs. A ribbed hat can fit a toddler as well as an infant .

  11. Take some deep, cleansing breaths. Tell the flight attendants you have an endless capacity to absorb the mud they call coffee. Turn on the overhead light. Knit as if your knitting is the only thing keeping the airplane aloft.

    If that doesn’t work, get the drunken ferrets out and try knitting them.

      • OK, you guys, I’m getting funny looks from the other people in this waiting room. Apparently repeating what I’m thinking of a the “Song of the Drunken Knitting Ferrets” out loud is weird to some people.

        • Lol the song of the Drunk Knitting Ferrets is now going through my head, to the tune of “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” 🙂 no tink tink tink tink tink tink tink, tink tink, just drink drink drink drink drink drink drink drink drink…no tinking, just drinking, no tinking, just drinking…and then the drunken ferrets flourish their needles as they pirouette off the stage 🙂

          I am cold stone sober, FYI. lol

  12. I hope that the travel delays (creative opportunities) result in a good chunk of productive knitting time today.

    When the various news articles come out about the zen of knitting, we realize that they are NOT referring to periods like this!


  13. I recently spent two days of ferry riding fixing a problem with a sock heel…which wouldn’t bother me except it turned out that I had invented the problem with the sock heel in my mind, ripped out the whole thing, only to discover that yes indeed, I had followed directions correctly the first time.

  14. At least you’re going west and not east! When you get up tomorrow morning for Madrona(!!!!) you’ll feel like you slept in and will still probably be up early. Best of luck with today’s knitting! Safe travels! So excited for my first trip to Madrona and getting to see you again!!

  15. An old drawing motto could be reworded for knitting
    Don’t knit (draw) more in the morning than you can frog (erase) in the afternoon!

    I thought you had twisted your cowl, making you really human

  16. Drunk ferret knitting happens to all of us. Just today I sewed something together massively crooked – but it’s not crucial so I decided to call it a “design choice.” (Knitting twiddle muffs for dementia patients, so it was a reasonable decision). Here’s hoping the knitting gods smile on you and your travels today.

  17. Ugh. I feel your pain. I just got back from a trip to the west coast that should have been fairly straightforward, but instead, it took an absurd amount of time to get there and back. And I just couldn’t concentrate on my knitting, because the flight out was absurdly bumpy, and generally miserable all around. fortunately, the flight back (though delayed three hours) was very smooth.

    I hope you have a blast at Madrona — I’m sure you will.

    I know it’s silly, but I always find it surprising when you write about making mistakes. Not that I consider you infallible, but you knock out gorgeous project after gorgeous project, and I just never imagine that you struggle with your knitting the way some of us (ummmm, I) do.

  18. Been there!! Thanks for sharing – it helps to know that everyone hits patches like this. For what it’s worth, they usually come right before an incredibly creative and productive spell, so hold out – good times are coming!

  19. It happens, but you have 13 hours of knitting time. I haven’t been knitting, wrist issues (bruised and a little swollen, no idea what I did)

  20. In case another nupp decides to unravel, I have “fixed” them by taking a short piece of yarn and tying the whole thing back together, then weave in the ends. The yarn I was working with was mohair & silk blend, so the halo helped cover up my tracks, but, it totally worked. I hope that helps.

  21. I printed this post on paper and pinned it on my wall. It shall be my heart’s ease for “those days” when the nupps disintegrate and the rest of the universe is out to get me.

  22. This post made me laugh out loud, at which point my two toddlers looked at me like I was once again being their crazy mamma. Perhaps it is rude to laugh at such a plight of knitting woes, but the story was told so well. I think it’s how relatable it all is that makes it easier to laugh with merriment and not malice. What is funnier than the shared blunders we all have. Truly, we have all been there and Ms. Pearl-McPhee captured it so well. Especially after yesterday’s post. Thank you!

  23. Must be going around! I’ve knitted like a drunk ferret on 2 pairs of socks, 1 sleeve of a cardi, 1 neckband of another cardi, and managed to pull the working needles (and hundreds of stitches) out of two shawls!
    Last night, wanting to knit, I made a deal: you can break open the bottle of 15 year old Scotch if you don’t cast on anything.

    So sipping and fixing was last night. And the rest of the time-out pile is for this weekend. I may have caked some yarn just to let the WIP pile know–you can be replaced!

    Cheers, Yarn Harlot, I have full confidence that you’ll make wonderful use of 13 hours. Happy travels!

  24. Oh, how I do understand this situation–I’ve been knitting socks for years, and was working one that is my basic, easy-peasy done it a zillion times pattern. I knew since I’d finished turning the heel that I was doing it all wrong, but persisted. I had just finished frogging the whole thing when I read your post.

    Travel safe, knit well.

  25. I’m trying to think of an offering that would appease the knitting goddess.

    Something for the Christmas gift list? The cowl might fill that requirement.

    Aha! A donation to KWB/TSF, that should do the trick. Perhaps we should all do that whenever we have to frog something. Some kind of cosmic insurance, I guess.

  26. I try to think of it as getting more of my money’s worth out of the yarn! More “knitting minutes” to the dollar! (Doesn’t work for fragile expensive yarn–or mohair!)

  27. I feel your pain – had to rip out 5 inches of a shawl two days ago and have just gotten “back/forward” to where I was before the ripping….here’s hoping your flights are smooth and on time, and the knitting is glitch-free.

  28. I feel you! I almost had to pull out an entire nights work on a lace cardigan I’m knitting. I was about 15 rows up when I noticed way down I’d dropped a stitch in a sl1-k2og-psso…

    Fortunately, I was able to ladder down and do some serious knit surgery to fix it. It’s not perfect, but blocking should make it less noticeable. (Famous last words… I know…)

  29. This post is what keeps me going, knowing that you have bad days knitting the way we all do, and some of them are epic. I remember Joe’s socks ages ago that you knew were going to be absolutely wrong and you just kept knitting.


  30. Drunken Ferrets Knitting…har har hee hee

    Awesome funky knitting results, but glad you have flight time to zip back up to speed. Here’s to a good seat and a painless plane change.

    The shawl (in the blues/greens) is dreamy.

  31. As I read this, I am tinking back several rows of gusset increases on my third-ever pair of socks, even though I put in a lifeline at the start of the gusset, because I don’t want to start the whole gusset again. I know, I know, it totally doesn’t make sense, but this is the third attempt at knitting this pair of socks and I can’t face any sort of frogging right now.

    I get to click on the scissors, which fortunately isn’t something I need to use right now!

  32. Thanks for giving control of the blog over to the voices in your head. It’s great you didn’t delete, but crossed through their thoughts. It helps to know I’m not the only one with those voices. I can usually edit after writing, but somehow can’t filter or edit before speaking.

  33. Wait, it’s not ‘drunk ferrets knitting’, it’s ‘knitting drunk ferrets’…how do you get them to hold still while you knit them? What makes them stay together? Dare I say spit splice? Eww…

  34. There are NEVER mistakes in my knitting…merely ‘individual design elements’..hahaha…(I lie of corse….and to frog summat back is sooo frustrating..and always leaves me thinking ‘why the bl**dy HELL didn’t I put a lifeline in before attempting that !!!’.)..hehehe

    • Oh–so THAT’S what those misplaced buttonholes on that doll cardigan I just knit are: individual design elements. *makes note on mental notepad in invisible ink* In my defense, I was knitting it to learn how to knit sweaters. Lesson for the day: when knitting a top-down cardigan with integrated button band, the button holes go in the button band at the END of the row, not the one at the beginning.

  35. Thanks for sharing that! My daughter-in-law of a month asked me (in November) if I would knit her a cabled capelet for the January 14th wedding. Of course I agreed, even though I sell health insurance and can therefore do my entire sales for the year over a 6 is week period beginning November 1, which means that my work days in November and December are short if they are 16 hours long. I still went home and knitted on the capelet each night. By my reckoning, I have now knitted that pattern 3 times, although there is but one capelet. Fortunately she loved it and (even if I say so myself) it is exquisite. Enjoy the travel knitting!

  36. For what it’s worth, I’ve been knitting nearly 7 decades and it still happens to me….but I’m not giving up yet XOX

  37. even your mistakes inspire me. I mean, if YOU sometimes get it wrong then that leaves me (a much less accomplished knitter) plenty of leeway! Keep calm and carry on. 🙂

  38. I am currently considering whether an entire almost-finished sweater needs to go to the frog pond so your story is (somewhat) comforting!

    • Janice, i fly a lot domestically in the US as well as internationally to the US. I haven’t yet had any difficulties with knitting needles at security. This includes metal circulars and metal, plastic and wood/bamboo DPNs.

      • I haven’t had any problems either but after reading a few posts on Ravelry, I do put everything together in a project bag, do a life line in just in case and never travel with absolute favorite needles. So far I’ve only traveled with shorter wooden straights (think I got them at Hobby Lobby – package said airline friendly) and 3″ interchangable tips. With the tips, I can put a set or two in a makeup bag and the cables go in a smalling pocket of my carry on bag. The other good tip was always be nice to the security people even when you want to rip their heads off. Unless that policy has changed, it’s at their discretion they let you through with knitting needles.

    • Janice,
      I’ve flown quite often in the US and never had anyone question the knitting needles in my bag, including my Knitter’s Pride Karbonz DPNs. On a trip a few weeks ago security pulled out my carry on for extra screening and I thought “oh, boy, here go my needles.” The screener had marked on the “X-ray” a bag with several homemade muffins in it! The woman who had to do the hand search thought that was hilarious, and no one even mentioned my knitting needles!

    • In spite of what I was told ahead of time, I did have my needles confiscated in Mexico (heading back to the US). And the worst part is they were Addi;s.

  39. 🙂 Love it, keep up the good work, your fabulous way with words has me in fits again!

    I’m just back from 2 x 7hr flights, the second saw me knitting a cowl in a beautiful handpainted 4ply, I will never wear it, it’s just not me … and I knew that … but finished it anyway, just so I could be knitting! Since being back home, I have already ripped and rewound it, can’t wait to see what it ends up being!

  40. I’m still practicing on a project with NUPPS. Do you use a life line? I seem unable to recognize an untamed nupp for several rows.

  41. I reaized long ago that having an optimistic outlook is often a bad thing when it comes to knitting. We continue thinking that the gauge will block out, the fit or color will improve if we knit just a little longer, etc. The longer we knit our way down the wring path, the harder it is to rip back. If we were more pessimistic we’d just accept the reality, rip back, and get on with doing it right.

  42. The universe has days when it is outa whack…..

    Thanks for sharing. Your willingness to admit the need to do a little re-knitting has helped me improve my own knitting over the years. So, consider it a public service when the universe whacks you knittingwise.

    [And I totally get that that advice doesn’t really feel great when ripping back.]

  43. Love this! Been there. Hahahahaha!
    However, occasionally, there is success. “Test driving” my new sweater today. Two (well-meaning) people complimented me by saying. It looks like I could have bought it in a store. I know what the issues are. (They don’t.) I’ll take those compliments for what (or considerably more than) they are worth. Feeling chuffed.

  44. If that means you didn’t get on a plane with problems I’m glad you didn’t get on it.

    As for the knitting, I greatly look forward to the day when I’ll be such a good knitter that I’ll never make any more mistakes. (Uh…)

    Have a wonderful time at Madrona!

  45. As much as I love opportunities to travel, the logistics are daunting.
    How much time to the airport? Car Park. Why are there only 6 a.m. flights…back track, up at 2 a.m….why bother going to sleep. Pack, Check, Pack some more. Come on everywhere sells needles (ultimately, I forget exactly what I need and have to buy more..which my DH does not get). If it’s just a short trip it’s not so daunting, but I have a 5-6 week trip ahead, and I’m thinking, crap, I should ship a box ahead, because you KNOW you’re going to need an extra pair of shoes/pants/sweaters. Dang, a coat? Atlanta vs Seattle in March. Big difference. There must be a prayer for girls like us….

  46. I like your crossed-out blogs; they’re like a pick-a-path novel.
    Now that I’m working on a Fox Paws there are times when I am afraid to sit down and work on it because time will go in reverse and I may end up several rows back from where I started. So the smart move seems to be to knit something else. That way I’m sort of ahead on Fox Paws! Right?

  47. You just described my knitting life (minus the cool travel, amazing skill and apparently much more ladylike cursing skills).

    Thank you Stephanie, you brighten my week.

  48. Have a good knitting flight–you’ve paid for it in advance! I am picturing the ferret in the seat next to you, plucking at your needles and every so often ordering another drink.

  49. Thanks for the laughs, Steph! Sorry to laugh at your expense, buIt seems there’s been more tinking and frogging lately than actual knitting at my house lately, and I was trying to make something that should’ve been very straight forward. Sometimes it’s enough to drive me to drink! But as someone else said, the penalty is more knitting, so on I go. Hope your travels go smoothly!

  50. At least you can still laugh at yourself and didn’t have to maintain blog silence.
    Maybe when they get to the airport they feel so bad about the muck up, they put you in complimentary first class with elbow room and wine/beer.
    It can only get better from here.
    13+hours to knit? Bliss.

  51. You appear to be a tad frustrated. Maybe a nap would help, although it is difficult to curl up in the fetal position on a plane. Good luck with your next adventure. It will be better.

  52. Yep! Just frogged my Hansel Shawl baby blanket. Yep! Got ya! Somehow I got A LOT of stitches on the needle that just were not supposed to be there. I hate when frogs jump out of your knitting….rip it, rip it rip it.

  53. Stephanie, I love your blog, always. But it is imperative for me to tell you how enamoured I am with your prime minister. He is a rock star in every way. And given the debacle that we are dealing with here, in the US, I am officially jealous, as I’ve always been partial to a man with a brain.

  54. We all have days like this… son asked me to knit him a chair cushion cover, i decided it would be fun to knit a cover with a target on. I was knitting away when I realised my calculations were very wrong bit instead of ripping it out I knitted a while longer and used my mistake as a large tension swash before I ripped out, then……I did my math twice. I’d glanced at the skein tension and calculated with that rather than my tension doh.

  55. No knitting here… at all! Just two consecutive days involving two-and-a-half hour proposal meetings. Feel better? Ah well… maybe this weekend? Next week? After the proposal goes in?

  56. I hope your super-long day of travel and some time marinating in Madrona has helped you get your knitting back on track! I am still dying laughing at the thought of a ferret knitting.

  57. I find travel to be so much more pleasurable with my knitting! Thank the heavens, that knitting needles are still acceptable in your carry on, eh? I suppose we’de all revolt if that wasnt the case… and you wouldnt want to anger knitters! Hope you get some good knitting done.

  58. Steph, I’m dying to make a special blanket to put in my daughter’s hope chest. I was wondering if you could give a class on these blankets some day. I really want to get the gist of it. In theory I understand how it goes together, but not in practice. Help?? I know you don’t have any thing else on your plate…

  59. So, I read this on Bloglovin, and it did not show the strike through on the letters so I was having serious difficulty deciphering this till I clicked through to the actual blog post!

    Hope things improve.

  60. I’m so sorry to hear your knitting hasn’t been going as planned. Your blog post did make me laugh, though. Usually knitters show off their finsihed projects which in the end look beautiful no matter how the process was. This was a bit like a lifestyle blogger showing what the rest of the house looks like around that perfectly layed breakfast setting.

  61. Congrats on the article in the latest Vogue. Some would say you’ve made the big time, I’d say nice that they finally caught on. 🙂

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