A Note to the Knitting Fates

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.

Lacy Leaf Mitten - both worn

Yours in stitches,

Julia

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