This has been a difficult week (coming at the end of a few difficult months). It has been a time of grieving, a time of sorrow, and therefore definitely a time for knitting. For some people comfort comes when picking up that warm latte, or that foamy mug of beer, or sinking into the couch while reruns of Law and Order: SVU play, but for me, it's knitting (it probably helps that it's my intentional replacement addiction after quitting smoking).
But there's a slight problem when knitting while grieving ... one tends to pay just slightly less attention than one usually ought. Unless you are garter-stitching your way along a straight scarf in a single colour with no increases or decreases, chances are you're going to make a mistake. (And even if you are, indeed, garter-stitching a rectangle, you still might drop a stitch, accidentally yarn over, etc. Perils await for all!)
[Note to beginners: it's because we keep ugrading our so-called easy knitting. When new, you make silly mistakes on easy patterns, and once advanced, you make understandable mistakes doing complicated patterns, but they happen throughout the life cycle of the knitter and there's no getting away from it.]
Here's my Vice Versa scarf, which was with me at my Dad's bedside this last several weeks:
It's lovely, and riddled with errors, intentional design fluctuations, and places where I've just fudged it a bit. You will always be faced with these decisions in your knitting life: do you keep the mistake, fix it outright, or fudge it a little?
For instance, in the above scarf, it called for occasional random smaller "windows" within the boxes. I did it once, near the beginning (see the upper right of the scarf) and decided "Not Worth It" so stopped. That's an intentional design decision that varies from the pattern. I felt that the excitement of double-knitting, and pairing a solid colour with a varying colour, was more than enough excitement.
Every so often I would stumble across some little error from the previous row. Normally I'd fix those--it's so easy to intentionally drop a stitch and re-knit (or re-purl) it, or in several cases un-knit (or un-purl) and simply slip it over--there's very little reason not to fix it.
But if one were to notice something amiss further down, one has to wonder if it's worth it. Here's a big gap on the side when I forgot about crossing the yarns over (if you don't, you end up with big gaps on the side, natch):
See the grey square at the bottom? On the right is a bit of teal, which is the back side showing through--ordinarily the grey yarn would be twisted around the teal yarn and you wouldn't see such an obvious back side. Plus, there wouldn't be a WONKING GREAT HOLE that one can stick several fingers into.
I was determined to, once the scarf was finished, go over the entire perimeter with a crochet needle and the grey Cascade 220 yarn and crochet a lovely single crochet edge. That's my go-to fudge action for shaky execution of knitted extremities. But, in this case, I think it's nicer to have a memento of how understandably distracted I was while working on this. And it'll keep me warm, hole or no hole.
Here are two of my Falling Snow stockings completed (I have a third one to go, my niece's in a lighter colour):
I get to have the teal one with the shorter solid toe (in Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino) and my nephew Finn gets the bluer one with the longer striped toe (in Cascade 220? Can't remember, that's a guess, and I'm not good enough to touch finished projects and nod sagely, "Hm, yes, Cascade 220.")
The twisted Latvian braid at the top is, I think, mostly correct. I'm a whiz at following charts for two colours, so the main body of both seems to be executed correctly.
I did the stocking on the right first. and when I got to the bit where the solid white heel was over I sadly 100% completely failed to understand the pattern author's instructions. She had a bewildering chart for the colour work. She had written instructions about picking up and knitting stitches and decreases and such, and it all sailed past my head, might as well have been written in Aramaic (which is a language I don't speak.) But, and this is the Fudge It part, I reckoned "I know how to knit a sock" and I also reckoned "I know how to look at a picture of a finished stocking" and between those two reckonings I reckoned "I reckon I can ignore her instructions and just finish the darn stocking my way and do the colour work that I see in the photo in the PDF of the pattern."
Which is what I did, and it worked. Yippee! Of course you have to know how to knit socks first, so that's a great skill to have. Apparently it works with sweaters and such--if you know how to knit a sweater, you can start to ignore other people's instructions about sweater construction and just substitute your own knowledge. So this felt a bit like a milestone in my progress from beginning to advanced knitter.
Okay, on to stocking two, the one on the left. All was going well until I realised I was about to run out of the Oyster Grey colour of the Purl Soho Super Soft Merino yarn. And even if I were willing to pay the $20+ (in USD, no less!) to have it shipped, they were out of the colour, so that was moot.
I went to a local yarn shop and found nothing that quite worked, so I went to another local yarn shop (Urban Yarns) and discovered a much larger, beige-ier yarn that I thought could suffice in a pinch--and this was definitely a pinch. So I bought it.
I went down a needle size to sort-of accommodate the increase in yarn width (should probably have gone down two), and I started alternating rows of the Oyster Grey and Beige, and when speckling I alternated the speckles (thereby enjoying my first taste of 3-colour stranded knitting, inadvertently. Turns out it's definitely doable). Here's a close-up where you can see the grey and beige yarns:
One is definitely lighter and smaller, and the other beige-ier and larger, and it looks like I've accidentally dropped a bit of tea and it's left some stains that won't quite come out (while mysteriously swelling the yarn), but you know what? I don't care. It's minor. I probably wouldn't abide it in a pale stockinette sweater front, but for the bottom of my Christmas stocking, it's fine.
So that's a successful fudge, in my book. But it was still a pain to work with (the giant yarn), so I ended the toe early and closed with the nice blue yarn. Oh, and you might not even have noticed, at one point I though I'll just speckle the whole toe, but then I missed the stripes and decided to toss them in, a few rows late. It doesn't matter. That's an intentional design fluctuation.
So next time you mess something up, don't beat yourself up. See if you can live with it, and if not, fix it, and if not, fudge it!
Off The Needles
Falling Snow Stocking #2 (as discussed above).
On The Needles
(I will mark with a ! those projects that have advanced, and !! those projects that are new to the blog.)
!Sophie's Universe crochet project (Part 5: Round 46)
!GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (about 14.4 inches into it, from the bottom)
!Persian Dreams Blanket (row 18 of the third hexagon)
!A Church Mouse sock (midway through the 5.5 inches of the foot prior to decreasing to toe)
Sweater Sample (from the Sweater Workshop, still in the buttonhole section)
A Random Blanket (about 40% through)