Tag Archive | knitting fails

Knitting Gone Wrong

I found out recently that one of my nephews was in need of mittens. I’d made him a pair a couple of years ago, but somehow one got lost, and plus he’s grown since then. Aunt Knitter to the rescue! He has a winter birthday and a pair of mittens would be a lovely gift. He is currently infatuated with Lightning McQueen so that was my inspiration. I had just the right colors of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in my stash, I chose Tin Can Knits’ World’s Simplest Mittens, and cast on. How could I go wrong?? (*dun dun DUN* This is called foreshadowing.)

Wow, the first mitten went fast! Just a couple of hours over two nights and I had a finished mitt. I thought it looked kind of big, and the proportions seemed a little off, but the length measurement matched the pattern specifications, so off I went onto the second mitten.

From the start, I questioned myself. It said to cast on 28 stitches. That number seemed wrong. I didn’t remember casting on that number the first time. But oh well, I’m getting old, I’d slept since then, whatever. I kept going. This mitten went even faster than the first; I finished all but the thumb in one night. Woohoo! Yay me, right?

HAHA. No. I held the first mitten up to the second. The second mitten was MUCH smaller. Not really shorter, but the body was a lot narrower. I counted stitches and discovered I’d cast on 32 stitches the first time. No wonder 28 didn’t sound familiar! Somehow my eyes had landed on the stitch count for the child size in DK weight the first time, and the second time I actually did it correctly. Sigh. At least I have one mostly-finished mitten in the right size. I spent the rest of my knitting time last night frogging the first mitten so I could reuse the yarn. Waste not, want not, right? And I’m grateful that it’s small, so I have time to get it finished before the birthday party this weekend! #mustknitquickly

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This is the “bad” mitten

Have you ever had a disaster trying to make two things the same size?

Stupid Sock

I’m sorry to say that my first foray into making socks with actual sock yarn did not start well. I mean, I thought it did. I cast on fine, knit the 20 rows of ribbing, thought, “Wow, that’s a really long ribbed section,” and moved on to the leg. It was going quicker than I expected, and while I did think it seemed like a loose fabric, I figured that was just how socks were. I thought for sure I’d found a new addiction: I would be a Sock Knitter, always with a half-knit sock in my purse, always with a drawer full of beautiful handknit socks.

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Monday afternoon, I had to pick up my daughter from the airport. (Lucky kid had been to Princeton for a choir competition. She even got to go into Manhattan. Ugh. So jealous.) I was happily waiting outside the gate, knitting away on my sock, and suddenly my eyes fell on the printing on the needle. I saw a number 3. That wasn’t right; I was knitting with size 1 needles…right? I checked the pattern: yep, it called for size 1. I checked the needles again: they were still size 3. I know I meant to grab the 1s. I thought I was using 1s. I still don’t have a clue how I ended up with 3s. In any case, I had just enough time to frog my half-knit sock before the plane landed.

That night I found the right needles and cast on again. These needles are like toothpicks. It’s ridiculous. Now I’m back to thinking socks will never be an obsession for me, but maybe that will change once these are done and I wear them. It’s just going to take a while, because these tiny needles make for much slower knitting!

Adventures in Gauge

Gauge is dumb. Okay, no, I know it’s not. I know it’s very important for some things. For things where fit is critical, making sure your gauge matches the pattern is kind of a big deal. Because my brain struggles to understand gauge (do I go up a needle size or down? If I’m off by one stitch, do I need to adjust my stitch count? Will it be bigger or smaller?) I typically avoid projects where matching gauge is critical. Hats? They’ll fit somebody. Cowls, scarves, shawls…those are forgiving projects, and as long as you like the drape of the fabric you’re making, you’re fine.

EXCEPT. If your gauge is off, you will use a different amount of yarn than the designer. Sometimes it’s not enough to matter, and sometimes you have plenty of yarn so maybe you don’t notice. And then sometimes, you don’t. And that sucks. I’ve always been fine not worrying about gauge. The times I did check it, 99% of the time my gauge matched the designer’s with the recommended needles and yarn weight. But lately, I’ve had problems with several projects and I think gauge is to blame. Remember my Black Diamond cowl? How I ran out of the Anzula even though I should have had plenty? I’m guessing that was a gauge issue.

Now, I’ve got my Hitchhiker Beyond on the needles, and the pattern calls for 350-383 yards, and I figured my 420 yards of Malabrigo Mechita would be more than enough. I used the recommended needle size and happily knit away. Then I got about six inches from the end and ran out of yarn.

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What the heck? I checked my gauge and instead of the recommended 22 st/4″, I have 25! This is where I struggle with gauge, because even though I know I should have gone up at least one needle size, I don’t really understand why this used up my yarn faster. But clearly, it did. So now I’m stuck with a few options that all kind of suck: frog and reknit, bind off with a stupid blunt edge, or buy another $20 skein of yarn. Because I am too lazy to frog and reknit like my garter stitch dense and squishy, I’m going to buy more yarn to finish on these needles.

Learning about my gauge is important, because I’m still committed to making my first cardigan. I ordered some black Irish wool and had to go down two needle sizes to get gauge, and I was mildly panicked to think that my gauge had loosened up that much and it would affect every project I would ever do in the future. (I know, it’s really not a big deal, but I got really spoiled getting gauge easily in the past.) Now I know that’s not the case, partly because with the Malabrigo fingering, I was knitting more tightly. But I also know because I did another swatch for my cardigan today.

You see, even though I matched gauge over a week ago, I still haven’t cast on for the cardigan. I kept telling myself it was because I didn’t have the time to focus on it. Finally I realized I was putting it off because I didn’t like knitting with the yarn, especially on the size 6 needles. The yarn is so rough and scratchy, and I can’t imagine knitting with it long enough to make a whole sweater. If I’m going to commit to something like a sweater, it’s only going to happen if the knitting is pleasurable. So, with relief, I gave up on the scratchy Irish wool. At some point I will use bigger needles and make some felted totes or something, so it won’t go to waste.

In the meantime, I picked some purple cotton out of my stash for my Harvest Attempt #2. I have six skeins, the result of a failed cardigan attempt a couple of years ago. It’s not enough yarn; I’ll have to buy more eventually. But it’s enough to get a really good start. Thinking I probably do knit looser than I used to, I started with size 7 (instead of the recommended 8s) and made a small swatch: 20 stitches/4″ instead of 18. Made another one with 8s and this time I got 17 stitches. That’s pretty darn close, and I’m going to stick with it.

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So, FINE. I give in. You swatchers win this round: I concede that doing swatches is important. BUT: I’m still only going to do it for garments and when I have a limited amount of expensive yarn and I’m not sure I have enough. (And honestly, in those instances, I’ll probably just start knitting the project and check my gauge partway in. That’s gonna have to be close enough sometimes.)

What about you? Do you always check gauge? Never?

I Have a Dilemma

I finished a hat this morning. I loved the pattern and I love the yarn and they go really well together. What’s the problem, you ask? Well. Somehow the brim ended up too big. It’s a little loose on my head, but then again, I have a slightly smaller head. Here, you look and see what you think.IMG_1370This one’s not too bad. I like the pleats. That was a new technique for me, where you slip stitches onto DPNs and then knit them together with stitches on the circ, and keeping hold of three needles was tricky. But I did it and it’s cool.IMG_1371 IMG_1372See, those aren’t terrible. It looks okay when you’re wearing it, especially if it found a big-headed owner. But now, look at it by itself:IMG_1373Poor stupid hat. The brim is just big, and I did Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off which seems to come out a little big and floppy anyway. So now what? I haven’t finished any tails. My choices as I see them: 1) frog the brim, decrease a few stitches, and bind off with a regular bind off. 2) Leave it and hope someone with a big head wants it. 3) The yarn is Tuhu, which is llama, merino and angora, so I could experiment with felting it a little bit.

Help me! What do I do??

NOT my favorite WIP

Dagnabbit. Another knitting failure. I refuse to blame it on not checking gauge, but it *is* my fault. So I got an order for these hats for Christmas presents, and I wanted to get an early start. Plus I love making hats so this is a fun project to have in my rotation. Unfortunately, when I went to cast on, I realized I didn’t have size 7 16″ circulars. I have 6 and 8, but no 7. I have size 7 in my interchangeables, but those tips with the 16″ cord are still a bit longer than 16″ and it’s more awkward than a true 16″. You can guess what I did. Yep. I thought, oh, I’ll just use the 8. They’re for slightly older boys so it’ll be okay if they’re bigger than the kid in the pattern’s picture. So I used the 8. Here’s where I am. IMG_4973It’s cute, I like the pattern, it’s knitting up quickly, blah blah blah. Whatever. Last night I tried it on my 11yo son. It’s too big. Not terrible, but loose. And it’s for a younger boy. And it’ll stretch a bit with use. So yeah. Too big. Sing along with me (to the tune of “Crying Time”. I hear Barbra in my head, but there are a lot of versions): “It’s frogging time again, you’re gonna leave me. I can see it by the way you lose your shape.”