August 21, 2006
Today’s post is going to make you feel really smart about your knitting skills. You will read through this list and say, “I can’t believe she didn’t know better than that.” over and over. It’s always nice to start Mondays out by feeling good about yourself. So here are my top ten dumb knitting mistakes. I should probably do a new “dumb mistakes” list every year, but there comes a point where you want to stop admitting them.
1. I cast on 20 stitches for my first scarf and it looked so wimpy and narrow. I kept casting more and more stitches on until it looked “wide enough”. No one told me it would grow wider looking as it grew taller. It ended up being WAY too wide. The scarf ended up being a shawl. Sort of.
2. On my second scarf – I repeated the whole process because I didn’t learn the lesson with my first scarf. (The conversation in my brain probably went like this: “Hmmm. 20 stitches. Looks too narrow. Must add more.” to which my other self replied, “Oh, but remember your first scarf? You know it will grow bigger as you knit it. Stop now and back away from the needles.” My smarter first self replied, “It’s just too narrow. I know best. I’m adding 20 more stitches in there.” ) The scarf ended up being frogged.
3. Started with the right amount of stitches on my third scarf (see, I learned), but still accidently added in too many stitches as I knit along on it. None of the directions for the scarf said M1, but I did it anyway. The scarf ended up being frogged.
4. When I graduated from garter stitch scarves and decided to make my first bag, I kept forgetting if I was on a knit row or a purl row, so I had to put a rubber band on one of my needles as a guide. If the knitting was on that needle, then I was on a knit side. If the knitting was on the other needle, I was on a purl side. (Yes – I have since learned to identify a knit row and a purl row. I don’t know what my problem was with that bag.)
5. Under-felted my next bag and sewed the suede bottom on it anyway because I didn’t really think it would matter. I then had to unattach the suede bottom and re-felt it when I realized that my knitting needles (it was a knitting project bag) kept poking through the side. Apparently the degree of felting really does matter.
6. Worked on my next bag with circular needles – my first time with that. It said stockinette stitch, and of course I knew that meant knit a row, purl a row. After a few rows, I realized it was looking weird. I couldn’t figure out why. Then I found out that when knitting on circulars, you just keep knitting all rows for stockinette stitch.
7. Made a hole-y mess of my first attempt at yarn-overs, and so I gave up ever knitting lace or anything else that would require one. Then I had the nice lady at my LYS show me how to do it. (Honestly, if you’re trying it by yourself, is there anything in the way it is worked, and the way it comes out in that first row, that makes you think you have done it right? Anything at all?) I am glad to report that I have them down pat, now, and can do lace patterns.
8. On my first sweater, I didn’t read the directions closely enough to learn that the ribbing on a sweater should be knit with a different size needles. Had to frog that.
9. Knitted a lovely hat (the Bias Hat out of Not Just More Socks) that is big enough for a woman from the 60′s with a bouffant hairdo. I love the pattern and I love the way the self-striping yarn worked together on the top. I kept it in tact, so that when the bouffant lady shows up at my doorstep, I have a present for her.
10. I knit my first sock by reading the directions and teaching myself. (There is a problem with that right there.) It was a toe-up sock, and I thought that I was supposed to wrap and re-slip ALL the stitches each time I did a row in my first short-row toe. So for the first row, I slipped and wrapped the last stitch. For the next row, I slipped and wrapped the first one AND the second one. For the third row, I slipped and wrapped the first, second and third stitch, etc. I was concerned about the long piece of yarn wrapped around all of those stitches – how does one hide that, I wondered? sigh. I didn’t frog it. Even though it was wrong, it was still looking like a real toe on a real sock and I was too in love with the idea of knitting my first sock, that I just kept on going. By the time I got to the heel and did it, I knew it was wrong, so I frogged the heel. I figured out how to short-row correctly and did the heel the right way. I still have an interesting “short-rowed-toe” on that first sock.