Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas preparations winding down...sort of

My shopping isn't all done. My wrapping is nonexistent. And my knitting is still ongoing. But I persevere. Hope springs eternal.

Last night, as I feverishly worked on the second of my mother-in-law's socks while Mike and I watched tv, I came to a "funky spot." That's what happens when I've clearly done something wrong, but I can't figure out what. Being Type A, I absolutely hate when this happens.

I had this gap in the row below, and the stitches looked funny. My first thought was a dropped stitch, but nope. My count clearly showed that all stitches were accounted for and diligently looped up on my double pointed needles like good law-abiding citizens. I examined them carefully. Two of the stitches appeared to be in on the conspiracy, two purled ones in my knit 2 purl 2 rib for the cuff. Those purled stitches are always a little cagey, no? They always seem to be up to something. They just didn't look right.

Taking a deep breath, I got out my crochet hook and dropped those 2 stitches on purpose. I figured I could pick them back up, tighten them, and normalize them. Off they came.

Hum. They looked twisty or something. I painstakingly unraveled them one row so that I could rework them with my hook. Now they looked even weirder. The stitches themselves appeared rejuvenated by the introduction of some air into their lives, but the yarn that I pulled out was looped all funny.

I sat there frowning at it for a solid 5 minutes, and did try to pick them back up. Great, they looked even worse. I realized I was going to have to pull back a row or two. The thought of knitting backwards to get to that point gave me a headache, so I came up with the ingenious idea of taking my needles out (A MISTAKE!), pulling the rows back, and then trying to put the stitches all back onto the needles. It's the crocheter in me; when a mistake comes to the surface, the instinct to just pull, pull, pull bursts to the surface. That, and the vodka/Diet Coke that I'd just had.

So that's what I did, and please, please gentle reader, learn from my mistake. I got past the error, but then the ribbing was all in and outy and absolutely impossible to get back onto the needles. I sucked in a deep breath and resisted the urge to say a VERY bad word. Mike could sense my tension and tried to encourage me, but the deal was down. I had to frog.

As I stared at the pile of unraveled yarn (I had been nearly done with the cuff, probably 4 -5 inches of ribbing) I let my emotions come to the surface.

"I'm SO SICK of all of this Christmas knitting!! WHY did I do this to myself?! I haven't knit anything for myself in months, and I'm tired of knitting only because I have to! I hate this!"

There's the Christmas spirit for you. Mike fixed me another drink, and I gathered my wits enough to cast on again. I worked steadily until we were ready to go up to bed, and re-knit about quarter of what I had to pull out. This morning, I knit probably another quarter. Tonight, I should be able to catch up to where I was when the disaster occurred.

*narrows eyes resentfully*

Later, I realized what I'd done wrong - when I picked the sock up to work on it, I'd started working in the wrong direction. One would think that I'd be beyond such mistakes at this stage of my knitting career, but nope, a little humility is good for all of us, I suppose. And realizing that I could have just gone backwards for that 1 row and easily fixed the error only made me feel porkier.

Next year, I really hope that I've learned my lesson. Gift knitting is wonderful, and I know I'll continue to do it, but I *cannot* take on quite so much. Just a few knitted gifts per year.

Otherwise, it sucks the joy right out of the spirit of giving.

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