Knitting a Sweater: How the Mighty Are Fallen

By Kay Gardiner
August 2, 2017

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33 Comments
  • I’m with you, Kay. What we read and how we interpret it aren’t always a match. However, we eventually get it all sorted out. I think that is the problem solving part of knitting that exercises our brains and keeps them young. I am sure this has happened to every reader here. So let she who has not made a knitting boo boo cast the first skein (or something like that).

  • Thanks Kay,
    I really enjoyed this post. It made me feel better, somehow. Lovely stripes, A story of overcoming wrong routes and physical adversity. 😉
    I really hate how my eyes are going. Sometimes I use a lamp with a magnifying lens!

  • Tho middle picture made me giggle….sorry. We’ve all been there! I wore my famous three-sleeved cardigan last night to an over-air conditioned restaurant – proof that we can recover from almost anything!

  • Love the random stripes! It’s kind of freeing to just let it happen, with no rules.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I am knitting a very simple “Wonderful Wallaby” and getting the front pouch right took me three tries. I’d missed one line of instructions. And the subsequent several necessary inches of stockinette. Onward through the frog…

  • Oh, I feel your pain. How many times have I THOUGHT I had read the pattern, but found out the hard way that I obviously had not. I learned to read thing “out loud” when the going got tough. I found that if I read it out loud I didn’t skip over words that I had missed.

    PS…I have the same problem reading recipes. Or, rather NOT reading them thoroughly.

    • Totally agree with the “out loud” practice. And read it slowly.

  • Why does misery so love company? We have all been there. Beautiful sweater!

  • She persisted!

  • It’s so fun, and so beautiful. Good for you for carrying on! Though it’s too hot here to be thinking sweaters of any sort, your random stripes make me want to cast on a scarf (or two).

  • Same thing happened to my husband after his cataract surgery — he can see the label on the beer can some guy is holding blocks away, but he has to fumble for his glasses to read anything close up. At least he makes a handy scout. And I do adore your sweater–glad it got straightened out.

  • I love this post, and I LOVE the sweater! I royally messed up my Granito sweater, and cannot even figure out what went wrong. I did read the pattern (many times) I really did! I swear! Glad you figured it out, and I’m sure I’ll figure my mistake out when I frog the whole darn thing and start all over…just not today!

  • BTDT and sometimes reading the pattern still leaves a person confused. But mostly, it happens because “I know what I’m doing!”

  • I knew you could do it!!

  • I, too, have been challenged by a Veera pattern. I love her designs, but the patterns call for very close scrutiny. I was undone (on the first try) by a pair of missed increases on a top-down, raglan sweater.

  • I laughed out loud, because after so many years and so much experience knitting, I too get tripped up by assuming I know what to do. Reading the pattern…what a thought! I often tell newbies that it’s the hardest part of knitting. And somehow I goof more often on the simpler patterns since I assume even more; on the harder ones I take more time reading them so make fewer mistakes. Humility: it’s a wonderful thing.

  • I have done exactly this! I am on my 3rd attempt at knitting a shrug, &even on this last try, I’ve had to frog the first sleeve 4 times. I thought I was reading the pattern, but I finally discovered that I was skipping an entire section- on an increase!!! Oh, the relief when I finally found the cause of my repeatedly incorrect stitch count.
    Also, I can relate to the glee of random striping. Most of my work tends to be “scrappy”. I always have lots of very small bits left over- anywhere from an inch &a half to about 1/4 of a skein. I ADORE using them to make entire projects that are just a mishmash of random colors! It’s eclectic, eccentric… So Very Me. (As an example, see my Stripewise project on Ravelry under the name KnitCaboodles)
    I love that these moments that humble us can also teach us (&hopefully others). I’m a big fan of the both of you, &want to leave you with this- you ladies leave me in stitches (pun intended) &are absolutely wonderful!

  • I just had the same surgery. I got a pair of drugstore reading glasses 1.5. They are not magnifiers, but focus the light so you can see the stitches.

  • So have you overcome?
    With love , and remembering those tiny denim slippers whose owner is now 15,
    Tessa

  • Tip for those new to up-close blindness: Best place for “drugstore cheaters” IMHO is actually not a drugstore but Flying Tiger on Broadway a couple of blocks above ABC. They’re cool looking and $6 so you can buy a pair for every surface in your home.

  • I had that surgery a month ago. It’s not easy overcoming habits of 55+ years. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes comical! My doctor sent me to the dollar store. I bought a dozen pairs of readers, sunglasses, and have them everywhere. I chose to knit Timber as it is wonderfully written, just what’s needed at this time. But my almost 7 year old granddaughter is in love with turtles. So, I’m also making Susan B Anderson’s Egg to Turtle, a tiny toy, and a well written challenge.

  • I’m sorry that you had to re-do, but it did make me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t always read the pattern. Not a case of schadenfreude, but a case of misery loves company. Glad you’re back on track – can’t wait to see the finished sweater!

  • I was so eager to get back to knitting after cataracts that I created a Funny Place in the midst of a swath of plain stockinette. On reflection, I decided to leave it as a souvenir of my wonky recovery time and my addiction to the needles. Still not totally adjusted to the changes in my sight, but with new appreciation for my eyeballs and understanding of those with low vision.

  • Kay, you make making mistakes sound like fun!

  • Yea tho I walk through the Valley of Waiting for the Vet to Call, you have made me laugh helplessly with your Nancy Sinatra/Old Testament mashup. Add to that: I am envisioning Nancy singing in her Barbarella get-up. Bonus chuckle: you have reminded me of a friend of my youth who referred to my sandals as “your Jesus Boots.”

  • What an interesting post! I am sorry that you had this pattern trouble, but am glad that you explained it for us, as the photo of your (beautiful) knitting on your first post confused me, even when I went to Ravelry and looked up the pattern! Also, I recently had cataract surgery, too! Through a lucky chance of scheduling, I had time enough to find out that I was a good candidate for monovision lenses: one near and one far. The result is that I can now see All The Things glasses-free! Which is a good thing, as I had fast-growing cataracts. I feel very lucky and blessed to have my sight restored!

  • What a fun, and honest, article. Haven’t we all had our own project like this~one that seems to get the better of us. Sometimes the mistakes “beat” us. Other times, we “win” with determination. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh, lovely! The sweater will be cool and it is good to hear all this stuff about cataracts before it happens to me!

  • ❤️ Love ❤️

    (My version of stripey love & you showing amd telling about it.)

  • Good to know I am in good company…I’ve had a similar set ofmistakes that have embellished the knitting of a Fair Isle sweater my daughter designed. I, too, am happy to report that the “rabbit trails” have been corrected and I’ve just two more rows to knit on the button band portion and then to sew on rhe buttons to be finished with this lengthy project. Knitting does keep us humble and brave (a word Cheryl Brunette often reminds us to be) if we persevere. I’m glad your journey has been righted!! And thanks for sharing your journey!

  • This is a very important sentiment (read the pattern) and I truly appreciate that you posted this. In a world where every photo of a cup of coffee is curated like a shoot for the Williams Sonoma catalog, its refreshing to see a little struggle. Keepin’ it real, as the kids say! There is an old saying (not biblical, but good nonetheless): “Frustration is the mother of appreciation”. When you are wearing your beautiful sweater, you will appreciate it all the more. Good knitting!

  • Kay — sorry about the sweater, but those stripes and the colors are just magnificent! Thanks for sharing the photos.

  • I had some “issues” with the markers on that project as well. I’m sorry I didn’t post about it and warn you of possible incoming. I also made mine not “oversized” and tried on many times to get the desired fit.