Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who needs magic? Apparently, me.

All over but the thumb knitting? I think not.

I don't know when I cast on my own pair of Bella's Mittens...sometime last week, or the week before. It's all a blur as I've battled fatigue from sinusitis--a leftover from my cold last month--and a work week that was off the hook. Over the weekend, I was determined I'd at least finish the left mitt or die trying.

I kept the mitten out and nearby at all times. At one point I tucked it in a project bag and when I pulled it out, I grabbed the free double pointed needle to start knitting and noticed that I'd inadvertently pulled out the wrong needle and liberated a full 1/3 of the stitches. No worries. I calmly grabbed a smaller double point and picked them all up in no time at all, but it's something that wouldn't happen if I'd been knitting the magic loop method, or even with two circulars. Still, I like working with double points. I think it makes me look like a knitter possessing mad skillz. Never mind that the whole thing is smoke and mirrors. While 4 or 5 needles are there in one project, circular knitting--like all hand knitting--still only occurs on 2 needles at a time. It only looks crazy and complicated.

Once I finished the gusset and had the thumb stitches on waste yarn, I began to have hope the project would fly...and it did. I tried the left mitten on for size and became annoyed with myself at the laddering in my mitten right before the cable. This occurs when knitting from one double point needle to the next and the knitter fails to tighten the first stitch or two of the new needle. It doesn't happen with magic loop like this...oh, I guess it could, but there is only opportunity for laddering in two spots, instead of three or four with double points. As the mittens are for me, I ignored this laddering, much to my detriment as you'll see in the photo, but could not ignore the fact that I'd forgotten to cable 10 rows back.

I ripped out the knitting to the spot where I'd forgotten this essential part of the pattern, picked up all of those stitches and knit them back up with an effort to be mindful of laddering from that point on. With the exception of the thumb, I finished the left mitt last night and feeling smug, I cast on mitten two. With double points.

This morning, I tried the completed mitten on again and with bright daylight shining behind me, noticed it wasn't laddering at was two live on the public side (a knit) and one of the private side (a purl).

Ladder in disguise


Somewhere along the way with all of that ripping, I'd missed this and instead of picking up what was clearly a decrease, I set free two stitches that wasted no time in traveling down the length of the mitt all the while disguising themselves as ladders.

Doh! Again, I don't think any of this would have happened with magic loop. I can knit magic loop--I do it all of the time for circular swatches, but I prefer double points for some insane reason. I think it's time to re-examine my preferences, especially when cold fronts are approaching and the need for something warm to wear is urgent.

Pre-op photo

I now have pins holding onto the loose stitches so they don't unravel further as I consider the surgical options for the left mitten. There will be no ripping. I think I'll weave them up to the waste yarn and sew them in with the ends of yarn I'll use to knit the thumb. Sounds like a plan.

It also sounds like there won't be a completed pair of mittens ready in time for the cold front.

C'est la vie.


The Bug said...

I'm pretty sure that the only things I understood in this post were "mitten" and "cold front."

[...heads off to check the forecast & glove supply...]

sapphireblue said...

DPN's do make us look more skilled. People who don't know any better think, "Wow! What are you doing with all those needles?" When actually, you're only working with two at a time.

We were supposed to get snow today, but we have just had a few flakes. As long as it's not snowing for the commute.

Miss 376 said...

Oh, how frustrating. Hope the second one behaves better

Rose said...

I would definitely weave (and bob) to get that mitten into play. I, too, prefer double points for some reason, probably because it makes me look really expert to nonknitters, just like you said :)
I wish we were getting a cold front!

jeannette said...

When I would be that far along, I would do the same! Got to google about the magic loop you're talking about:) I use my mitts all the time (more practical than gloves!)

Mimi said...

Laughing at "the bug" comment!!
Your plan for dealing with the stray stitches sounds good to me, and then just rry to forget that they ever existed. I find if there's the slightest error, I remember it every time I wear the garment, and that's a fault I have. Nobody else would ever notice.
Funny, I can't do that circular pin knitting at all! My preference is 2 pins, right one under the arm and fly along!
Anyway, hope yours is coming along now. I still haven't cast on, so you're definitely ahead of me!

Stephanie V said...

Yessiree...been there and done that! Weaving would be my choice. I think that's a mark of our mad knitterly skillz - knowing when to bow to the pressure of the universe and just cover it up. I still prefer dpn's.

debra said...

I continue to be amazed by those of you who knit. I can feel the deer in headlights look on my face.
Good for you!

Jennifer Carson said...

Oh! So sorry... When that happens to me, I always stress out over whether I should do the same thing on purpose to the other mitten (or sock) so that they're equal. I hatehatehate DPNs. It's my goal to do two-at-a-time on one long needle this year, but I've heard mixed reviews.

Jadekitty said...

My knitting teacher always said the key to knitting is getting good at hiding your mistakes. :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, looks like you are in a little bit over your head. It really is a good idea to practice a new technique or stitch pattern with some scrap yarn to figure out all the details so when you get to the `good' yarn, you're more familiar with it and it goes a lot easier. Bella's mittens aren't for beginners. Don't get discouraged.


flutterby said...

My double point needles are aluminum and drive me nuts as they constantly slide out and fall on the floor. Yeah, should have gone with bamboo.

Brenda said...

I will never understand people who can knit something without making mistakes. Most of the time you are too far along the project before you see it. Sewing is the same way for me. The seam ripper was what I used the most some days. Good luck Rudee!

NCmountainwoman said...

For some reason I can never relax when I use the magic loop method. I'm always fearful it really won't work even though it always does work. Perhaps I haven't given it enough of a try, but it is tense knitting for me to use magic loop. So I still use double points more often than not.

laurie said...

aren't mistakes supposed to be good? they are in quilting. they're good luck. perfection is viewed with suspicion.

Anonymous said...

Just a little tip to help you with your Bella's Mittens - If you find yourself loving Magic Loop knitting, look for circular needles with a thin, flexible cable. Addi Turbo needles are reported to be great, as are KnitPicks' Options needles, with very flexible cables out there for this purpose.

Knitty said...

I'm on the opposite side of your love for DPNs. I've used the magic loop method, but my preference is two circulars.

It would be dull if all knitters liked the same fibers, tools and methods, riight?