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  • That picture of Kermit staring into the abyss. No amount of springtime happy colors yarn can fill it. He’s thinking what a wet smack and total loss it all is, “Why bother…just unravel the whole thing and give it to me to drag around the house.”

    • He isn’t staring into the abyss, he’s gazing into the mandala that is Manos Alegria Maiz. Look at him, gently patting the ball as he chants: “Oh, most beautiful yarn . . .”

    • I may be committing knitting treason here, but I find that a beautiful length of 1 or 2-inch grosgrain ribbon, machine-stitched onto the inside of the curling edge does the trick. Or you can stabilize by adding 1 or 2 inches of crochet, or add some bias tape binding, quilt style (better for items that don’t need to be washed too often). The upside is that — even if the hack is not perfect — your garment stops glaring at you from its basket…

  • Well, if it makes you feel any better at all, you have probably saved another knitter (me!) from doing the exact same thing with my beautiful skein of Alegria Antigua.
    Which is only fair since your delight in knitting this shawl is what winkled me into following you into the abyss. ;o)
    P.S. I find your Kermit every bit as beautiful as he clearly believes he is…
    P.P.S. Don’t tell my boys I said that.

  • Keep this simple principle in mind: If your knitting curls up and looks like i-cord, the curl will NOT block out — even if you use a steamroller to block it!

    (P.S.: With a name like “Kermit”, it’s only natural that your cat likes frogging things!)

  • Ann, when you find yourself in the situation where you need to rip back, what is your advice on getting those live stitches back onto the needles? That paralyzes me! I find it so difficult to get every stitch back onto the needles because they often drop down to other stitches, etc. Any tips? Thx. xo Tammy

    • Tammy, try a needle a couple of sizes smaller than you used for the project and don’t worry about what way you’re putting them on the needle, if a stitch has dropped down a row or two go ahead and pick it up and correct it later. Pick up stitches in the ‘wrong’ direction, then use the appropriate size needle to move them to the correct direction, orientation and ladder back up the stitches that were down a row or two. Or, the way I do it is put them on in the correct direction on a smaller needle and then as I work the first row I fix the orientation or ladder back up any that are down a row or two.

      • VERY helpful, thx!!!

    • So true, Elizabeth–I just aim to get it all back on the needle and fix the weirdies as I knit. I ripped this shawl on the kitchen table, to minimize blowouts and to keep the piece still. This of course drove Kermit batty. He saw a nap location.

      • My cats are the same. Though I think sometimes they will place themselves in the optimum spot to be MOST in one’s way.

      • Also, I have found it helps to let the knitting sit overnight (or for a day, or whatever). If the yarn has a chance to get used to being in stitch form, you’re less likely to lose stitches as you unravel and then pick them up. Here, when the piece has been blocked, the yarn is somewhat pre-kinked into stitch-shape, and is less likely to unravel beyond what you’d like.

        Also, letting a problem sit for a day makes it less likely you’ll do something drastic and unnecessary.

        • THANK YOU everyone!!! Extremely helpful comments!

      • Would you consider creating a photo collage of cats ‘helping’ us knit, sew and crochet? I’m sure we all have a picture or two!

    • Tammy, next time think about threading the sts of the row you want to get back to onto the skinniest longest circ you’ve got (2 or less is ideal). Then Frog without Fear.

      Some sts won’t make it onto the needle which is why we have safety pins.

      I second the recommendation not to worry about whether they’re facing right because you can either twist em back as you knit the row onto the correct size needle, or knit through the back of the twisted ones as you go.

      Yes it’s a pain but relieves my anxiety about the process, especially if it’s a tricky or stranded pattern.

    • Tammy, before you rip back you can put in a “life line.” Take a large-eyed needle that you would use for finishing/sewing with yarn and thread it with a scrap yarn in a contrasting color to your project. Decide how far you need to rip back and then run that scrap yarn through the stitches in that row. When done correctly, you should not lose any stitches. You will have to reorient stitches when replacing them back on the needle. The following may be helpful.


  • Spring ennui. Ahhhh…..

  • Oh, the River De-Nial is deep and wide. I’ve waded in it any number of times.

    • Waded? No, Ma,am. I dive right in! Did you know there are some jagged rocks in that river?

      Signed, Someone Who Knows

      • Good one! Possibly a the occasional piranha. ..

  • I think most knitters have been in your shoes. I recently frogged the bindoff on a shawl because it was too tight. Which gave me the courage to frog 12 inches on a rectangular scarf because it was just too darn long. (One of those lovely patterns where you want to knit to the end of the ball but is really just too much.)

    It happens to the best of us. You fix it. Then you move on!

  • When I teach, I tell my students that there are two rather rigid rules for knitting:

    1. Look at your work.

    2. RTFPF! (Read the freaking pattern first!)

    Reasons are obvious…and yet, we all jump in to the new work, excited to get started (get finished) until the pattern says, “…at the same time….”


  • You were adhering to the Scarlett O’Hara Rules of Knitting when you bound off in spite of knowing better.

  • Sometimes, we don’t even need to read the pattern if we just look at the pictures. I was deeply disappointed that My First Sweater did not cease to be a crew neck once the sweater was off the needles. Because I don’t wear crew necks.
    Honestly don’t know what the heck I was thinking.

  • I usually find my unfounded optimism about such things there in the hand basket next to good intentions. Sometimes, the counsel of a cat is all that keeps us on track. Enjoy the pleasure of knitting with that lovely yarn a little longer.

  • I began to make a lovely (IIDSSM)(If I Do Say So Myself) fair isle vest with motifs from many books and shaping and everything. It was made with shetland like wool, to be steeked at the neck and arms. And the hem rolled. Horribly.
    It was my fault. I knew better. It has now become one of the inmates of the unfinished. I look at it dolefully. I keep walking.

    • Aw man. I had that with my Kiki Mariko fair isle sweater. I got it to behave, but it required picking up stitches along the edge and knitting a stockinette flap that I then stitched down on the inside of the edge. The stockinettes continue in a death battle to this day, and my edge lies flat. It took me months to get up the steam to do this, needless to say!

  • Kermit is awesome, so is Elliot btw.

  • Oh, Kermit. The face. LOOK AT THE FACE. <3

    (The knitting is very nice too!)

  • I thought unfounded optimism only happened to me. Thanks for sharing…

  • I read once here in an MDK post that one could knit rows of stockinette with the wrong side facing to cause it to curl toward the back. Always wanted to do it. Wonder if it works, wonder if it would have worked on your shawl. I also wonder if following the pattern would have yielded the curly edge anyway?

    BTW, another “shawl napkin thingy”, also free on Ravelry is “The Age of Brass and Steam”. I made one, even put in beads, got to the edge and made some mistake; what it was, I have blocked out of my mind (no pun intended). The ladies in my knitting group advised me to keep on going, as it wasn’t so bad. I went home and frogged the edge anyway. However, I did not immediately go about finishing the scarf. The whole thing sits in its plastic bag on an end table. It has begun to call to me whenever I pass by….

    Oh Ann, this is the “knitty gritty” (pun intended) of our craft, the behind the scenes stuff that the general public doesn’t see. If they only knew what really went on, would they still be calling knitting “the new yoga”? 😉


  • Oh dear, and now I have an ear worm, singing “Let it Roll” to the tune of “Let it Go”. ;o)

    • Mine’s singing “let it roll baby roll” from Roadhouse Blues by the Doors.

      • Even better!

        • I keep hearing Eric Clapton “Let It Rain” . . .

  • I have a small pile of UFOs tht I call “fix it or eff it”. I put them in timeout for a bit to see if I still don’t care about the errors. There is one shawl where I had knit several inches of short row shaping only to find out that my hindbrain had taken over and purled back a row that should have been garter. It’s still in timeout as I ponder whether or not I care enough to rip back.

  • Kermit has been winning a lot of fans, judging from the comments. Should you establish a formal Kermit Klub? What a charmer!

    • I’ll join!

  • Great post!

  • I just finished a shawl that I knit at a much too tight gauge… for no good reason at all. I had larger needles, I knew what I should be doing, but instead I forged on!
    The piece even has a ruffle at the bottom (over 600 stitches). Which I knit and bound off. So, it’s finished, and the ruffle sticks out all around— I mean, really sticks out! Stiffly. The whole thing is stiff! Not flattering. And still, I think when I wash it, I may be able to coax some drape into it!

  • I started three times a shawl that was supposed to have twisted rib sections between short-row garter stitch sections. Three times I ended up with mesh rather than twisted rib. After the first time, I figured out how I’d made the mistake, but I consistently remade it every time. In the tradition of my needlepoint pals, if you make the same mistake multiple times, it is a design element and it can stay. 🙂 And actually, I liked it the first time out (which might account for why I kept making the same mistake). So I have personalized this shawl. Right?

  • I frogged my Pawleys (Laura Aylor) shawl all the way back to the beginning because of a terrible counting error. Since the shawl is symmetrical, it wasn’t something I could fix by some discreet decreases and/or increases here and there. I was way. off.

    The worst part is I thought I could fix it by only ripping back partway, which, since it’s a bottom-up shawl, meant I put 330 splitty stitches back on the needles, only to realize my error had occurred all the way back at the beginning, just after the 385 stitch cast on.

    Finally I slept on it, drank a glass of Chardonnay with dinner, and, as I was out at a conference center with colleagues, during the after dinner chat, when I could be part of a conversation to distract me, ripped it all back and started over.

  • Ann … five garter ridges before binging off … so says the pattern.

    Rep Rows 1-2 five times. Bind off loosely. Weave in ends; block lightly.

    My only addition/suggestion … bind off knitwise on the wrong side row … you could go up the needles size for binding off … or … use the light handed technique that I might be able to video with Madame Kay in the near future … would be a very useful addition to everyone’s binding off repertoire!

    Knit faster … knit happily!

  • One of the sad truths of life – You can’t fight physics. Let’s sing the praises of garter stitch borders!

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  • Just a note on reading the pattern: it is always a good idea (especially to avoid the dreaded “at the same time” phenomenon) but some patterns make absolutely no sense until you have knit the previous part. (I’m talking to you, Snow White.) These patterns should be approached with lifelines, extra stitch markers, careful note taking, good lighting, a cat-free environment, and limited adult beverages.