Hey friends, are you a knitter who always finishes one thing before you cast on the next thing?
When you are working on a project with shaping, and with pieces that have to match up in the end, do you leave meticulous notes on the pattern in case you get interrupted, so that when you come back to it, you’ll know exactly where you left off?
If you are either of those types of knitter, this post will be full of delicious schadenfreude for you. Because I’m totally not that kind of knitter.
I put projects aside for months at a time, for varied and VERY GOOD reasons. And when I come back to these projects, often there is not a single note written on the pattern (if I can still find the pattern). Nor is there a nice long chain of removable markers hanging off the edge to show me how many increase or decrease rows I’ve completed. Sometimes I have to sort through all the yarn in my apartment to find the rest of the yarn I need to finish the thing.
I’m not a sloppy knitter. I’m just arrogant. I think I will remember. I think I will finish it all in one go, while everything is fresh in my mind. I don’t have the patience or wisdom to stop for two seconds and write something down.
But there’s a bright side. These habits have made me the Indiana Jones of unfinished knitting projects. I am a Forensic Knitologist. I figure out where I am in the pattern by looking at the clues and reading my knitting.
A Case in Point
See this lovely Mini Porter bin with color-coordinated wad of knitting inside?
This, right here, is my very own Temple of Doom.
It’s my project from the Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Knitalong, a mash-up of log-cabin knitting and one of my favorite boxy pullover patterns, Relax by Ririko. I call it my Relaxed Log Cabin. It’s in Sylph (shade Eddy), and it would be very nice to be able to wear this sweater right now, during the season of high humidity and air conditioning.
There is no shaping in the main front or back pieces of this pullover. It’s a box, in stockinette stitch in the original, and built up of log cabin strips in my modification. I sailed through that part. It was an intuitive, portable piece of knitting.
When I had knitted enough log cabin strips to roughly equal the size of the body in the Relax pattern, I then worked some increases under the sleeve openings on front and back, then I knit for a while in reverse stockinette, to a length directed by the pattern, and then I followed the pattern’s instructions for shaping the shoulders with short rows. Easy, right?
Not easy enough for me to carry all over the place. So I made the fateful decision to put the shoulders that I’d finished (on the back piece of the sweater) on a stitch holder thingie, and put the whole thing in my Mini Porter Bin for the duration.
The duration was longer than I’d expected. (Isn’t it always?)
Yesterday I excavated in the Mini Porter, to assess the damage.
On first inspection, the situation was pretty dire.
Why did I leave the front of the sweater in the middle of a dang row?
On the back of the sweater, why did I use that dumb stitch holder thingie with the kinking cable that pulled out, leaving one shoulder’s worth of stitches to drop off and expose themselves to unravelment? (Do not acquire this tool. File this tool under Things That Look Like a Good Idea But Will Lull You Into a False Sense of Security.)
I took a Deep Cleansing Breath.
I steamed the whole mess.
I don’t know how that made anything better, but it did.
I was overjoyed that I still had the pattern, and that it was open, apparently to the page where I’d left off.
Although I had no recollection of what size I was using for the shoulder shaping, Past Me had circled the second size in some of the instructions for the front.
I calmly and without judgment put the dropped stitches back on the stitch holder thingie.
From there I was able to reason that I was at, or nearly at, the point of needing to work the shoulder shaping on the front of the sweater. The instructions said I was to do this after working for a certain number of centimeters from the marker at the end of the underarm increases.
It was a moment of high tension while I looked to see whether I had placed a marker at this point on both the back and the front.
Yes! I had placed a marker! I am awesome!
Looking at the pattern, I determined that the distance I was supposed to have knit after the underarm markers was the same for the back and front. Yay again! I could simply match up the markers and count rows.
This answered the mystery of why I’d left things in the middle of a row: it was the precise point where I was supposed to turn for the first short row.
People, I am back in the saddle!
The Moral of the Story
Do I recommend this laborious route to sweater completion?
No. What a waste of time and stress. All of it could have been avoided by just making myself finish the shoulders back then, or at least writing myself a detailed note: HEY KAY YOU ARE AT THE X THAT I MARKED ON THE PATTERN.
But life and bad habits do get in the way, so I share this little episode in hopes of encouraging others to take a deep breath, apply steam, restore stitches, and pick up where they left off.
On the bright side: new sweater soon!