Dear Knitting Fates:
I realize, in retrospect, that my last post regarding my latest mittens could have sounded like I was gloating a little. I didn’t mean to gloat, and if I came off that way, I do apologize. I was just happy — happy that I had an easy project on the needles that could be picked up and put down at odd intervals during my busy week, and which would produce, at week’s end, a finished mitten. I was just happy, I tell you, not gloating.
If I were gloating, I would completely understand why you decided to kick me in the arse over the second mitten. If I were, that is. I certainly was not. If I were gloating, I’d halfway expect you to make me re-cast on the mittens five — count ’em — five times over the course of the week. I would totally get it if you taught me a lesson for attempting to knit cobweb lace in a darkened movie theater, or complicated cables after attending a whiskey tasting, but this? I’ll reiterate, in case you’ve already forgotten:
On Monday, I sat down to cast on the second mitten. Just like the previous Monday evening, the guys were at Scouts, so I had enough time to cast on and then knit the lace cuff, after which the stockinette could be knit without a pattern, and I’d pick it up when I could during the week, and then — presto! — I’d have a dandy new pair of mittens by week’s end.
Except that mysterious extra stitches kept cropping up in my knitting. And then missing stitches happened, too. I knitted most of a repeat before I decided that I needed to start over. It’s an easy enough pattern, but stuff happens, I told myself.
I cast on again. Same problems. I looked at the first mitten, sitting in its perfection on my side table. I picked it up and examined it. Nope — no problems there. I sighed, ripped out the knitting, and decided to call it a night. Surely I’d cast on just fine the next day.
On Tuesday evening, I cast on the mitten again. I paid very close attention to the first row, which I knit flawlessly. I knit round two, all the way to the end, and found that I was missing a stitch! This is when I began to suspect the Fates were after me. The lace pattern is very simple — sort of the equivalent of doing a simple four-row cable on a cuff. Like, I should be able to execute it just fine even if I were sleep-deprived with two sick kids underfoot. Here I was, with nearly perfect knitting conditions, making some sort of systematic error.
I reconsidered the pattern. It’s a 12-stitch repeat over 36 stitches, spread out over four needles. Fine, I thought. I’ll use three needles with 12 stitches each, and that will help me keep track of repeats. I cast on again with this in mind. I was cooking along (no issues with too many or too few stitches), when I realized I had developed pronounced ladders.
Heavy, heavy sigh. I had solved the stitch count problem, but introduced another. Well, I could deal with the laddering, for sure, but now I was out of patience and it was bedtime. I frogged the knitting once more and set it aside.
On Wednesday, I was determined. This time, by golly, I’d get the lace started so I I could take the mitten with me on my Friday errand blitz and just maybe make some progress on the thing. I cast on to three needles, jig-jogging the first stitch of each needle to eliminate laddering. Once I had a repeat finished, I repositioned the stitches across four needles, and was off and running.
Thanks to plenty of wait-time while running errands on Friday, I finished the mitten. Not that I’m gloating about it.
Yours in stitches,