Thursday, February 11, 2010

Knitting Confidence

Yesterday I had tea with a friend who dabbled with knitting a couple of years ago but hasn't succumbed to the obsession (yet!) When I asked about the scarf that she had started lo those many months ago, she confessed that she had messed it up somehow, didn't know how to fix it, and just put it away.  We agreed that perhaps the next time we get together she could bring it and I could help get her back on track.  I also told her my standard line of "it takes me so long to make anything because I have to start over so much/fix so many mistakes/rip out, etc."

I firmly believe the philosophy that I've read and heard so many times in knitting that being a good knitter isn't always doing everything right, it's knowing how to fix the things that go wrong.  I remember the first time I took a project knitting class and how amazed I was when the teacher could see right away why I had the wrong number of stitches on the needles and could quickly "unknit" the offenders and get me back on the right track.  I was convinced that I'd never be able to do that.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Now I do it all the time.

I'm trying to quickly finish up a pair of newborn socks and last night in my zeal to complete them, started decreasing every row on the gussets instead of every other row.  Now these socks are tiny, will have contrasting toes and heels, and are being done two at a time on magic loop.  I don't know that I've ever successfully completed socks using this method, so I'm referring to the book a lot.  Anyway, when I discovered this last error, I knew I'd have to remove them from the needles (size 2) and rip both socks back to the first decrease, put them back on, and continue.  The first thing I did (I've learned many a lesson while trying to fix mistakes) was to notice which way the needles and socks were facing and put in a marker so I could get them back on the needles the same way.  Then I jumped in and removed both tiny socks from the skinny needles and commenced ripping.  I carefully pulled the yarn so as not to go too far, then had to count stitches and fit the little needles back into the little loops without losing any.  Now I don't worry about getting the stitches back onto the needles the right way, because I know how to straighten them out while knitting the next row!

The operation was a success and I was able to carry on.  The socks will be done today and ready for sending to the new little Running Rebel in Las Vegas, along with a hat.  I guess I've learned more than I realized in the last few years of knitting.

Now to get back to the mittens which will need to be striped because I didn't make sure I had enough yarn in the color I started with.  Always something!

The socks in progress.  Finished photos soon.

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