Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Knit a Sweater

Knitting is Fun - and Easy Too!
  1. Select pattern.
  2. Get mom to take all my measurements so I can pick the right size to make.
  3. Discover that although I have a big rack, it's in proportion to the rest of me (at least according to the pattern schematics), so I should stop adding extra room in the busts of my sweaters.
  4. Select and order yarn.
  5. Knit a swatch. This is a magic knitting thing that allegedly tells the knitter how big their stitches are, the goal being to get the same size specified in the pattern. Swatches lie, because they are motherfuckers, but they still improve the chances of getting a sweater that fits.
  6. Measure swatch.
  7. Knit a second swatch with larger needles.
  8. Measure swatch.
  9. Nod to self knowingly.
  10. Measure swatches one last time before washing.
  11. Wonder what the hell I was thinking making a second swatch when the first swatch is the right size.
  12. Put swatches in the laundry.
  13. Discover that His Awesomeness has been drying our clothes on High when seeing how misshapen swatches are. (They shrank a little, which shouldn't happen to machine washable yarn.)
  14. Lecture HA on what high heat does to clothes (fades them and wears them out) and make him promise to stick to medium heat.
  15. Knit another swatch.
  16. Have HA wash swatch, but keep it out of dryer (along with hand knit socks and other items). (Note the first: He does the laundry because I can't handle the stress of a crowded laundromat. Now that we've found a much better and less crowded laundromat, I may step up a bit on that front. Note the second: Awesome tip--put everything that doesn't go in the dryer in a mesh bag, so there's no confusion about what goes in the dryer and what doesn't.)
  17. Discover that HA has laid swatch flat to dry on a dish towel.
  18. Sigh with love.
  19. Measure swatch.
  20. Do the math to compensate for the fact that my row gauge doesn't match what's specified in the pattern, and make notes on the pattern where to adjust so the whole thing doesn't end up too long.
  21. Cast on a sleeve.
  22. Knit 2 rows.
  23. Become completely flummoxed 6 stitches into the 3rd row.
  24. Check for pattern errata online, finding none.
  25. Check Ravelry for any comments relating to this pattern, none of which address this confusion.
  26. Try to send Ravelry email to sweater designer and discover that she doesn't have a Ravelry account.
  27. The hell?
  28. Who doesn't have a Ravelry account?
  29. Send Ravelry email to the last 3 people to finish this sweater and post the project on Ravelry, asking them for help.
  30. Discover that the person who asked me to send them a picture of the stand mixer cozy I knitted, did so in 2010. And I still haven't taken the picture, let alone sent it.
  31. Check Ravelry compulsively for an answer.
  32. Hear back from someone and realize that the stitch markers that I've placed to keep me from getting confused as I knit, are, in fact, confusing me.
  33. Knit on.
  34. Realize that I should've started the increase rows 4 rows ago.
  35. Put knitting aside.
  36. Eat a cookie.
  37. Decide that it's just 2 stitches, so it's OK to just skip the first increase row.
  38. Knit on.
  39. Wait, what's the gauge again? Am I losing a whole half an inch by skipping the increase row? Am I gonna get sausage sleeves out of this one little omission?
  40. No, it's 5 stitches to the inch, so the difference is less than half an inch.
  41. But not much less. About a millimeter less than half an inch.
  42. Get the hell over it.
  43. Decide to add an extra increase at the upper arm if necessary, knowing full well that I'll forget all about it when I get to that part.
  44. Decide not to care anyway.
  45. Knit on.
  46. Look at checkmarks next to pattern instructions and discover that I'm not sure if I really did skip that increase, or just did it later.
  47. Decide to measure when I'm getting close to the end of increases so I can stop the sleeve before it gets too long.
  48. Discover a mistake I made in the lace pattern about 10 rows back.
  49. Refuse to care because it's just not that obvious.
  50. Start to feel like this sleeve will never be finished and question the wisdom of knitting a sweater with a lace pattern/texture for my first sweater in ages.
  51. Discover that I'm at the end of the increases and I did do all of them after all and the sleeve is at the right length.
  52. Begin the decreases around the armhole.
  53. Wonder if I've inadequately compensated for the row gauge thing, which would lead to extra fabric around the shoulder, which could look godawful.
  54. Realize that I'll only discover this when I sew the whole thing up and reknitting part of a sleeve isn't the end of the world.
  55. Finish the decreases, discover that the sleeve appears to be the right length, but I have 6 extra stitches, which is more than an inch in width and will keep the sleeve from fitting into the armhole properly.
  56. Check the pattern to confirm that the stitch count in the pattern is correct. It is.
  57. Count the stitches before the decreases to confirm that I had the right number of stitches then. I did.
  58. Toss the whole thing aside until I have the time and emotional wherewithal to rip back part of the sleeve.
  59. Plan on ripping back the sleeve and putting it back on the needles while sitting on a table in a well-lit room to minimize room for error.
  60. Rip back the sleeve and put it back on the needles while sitting on the couch watching a movie.
  61. Knit on, actually counting the stitches after each set of decreases this time.
  62. Examine swatch that HA washed and sent through the dryer on medium. See that it has felted at that "super wash" is a fib. This sweater will never go in the dryer. Whatevs.
  63. Finish first sleeve, with the correct number of stitches this time.
  64. Knit second sleeve with considerably less mistakes and drama. When discovering I made a mistake in the lace, insist that "Only God is perfect," and stop thinking about it.
  65. Realize that blog post is way too long and decide to document the body of the sweater in Part 2.


All the cool kids are commenting. Give it a try, it's fun!