The better the knitter, the bigger the mistakes. I often have new knitters tell me "I can't wait to get better so I don't make stupid mistakes." Sorry.
Last Friday and Saturday, I had the pleasure to take a 2-day class from Beth Brown-Reinsel at the 2018 Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. As I shared a few weeks ago, while I thought the new skill I'd take away would involve how to knit Sanquhar gloves, what I really learned was how to manipulate itsy bitsy needles. After swatching, I settled into corrugated ribbing on my triple zero sized needles. Yikes!
Despite all the other knitting I've been plowing through in advance of the Crawl, I managed to get the required 24 rounds of ribbing done prior to class. I sat down amongst my classmates, and started knitting - a few rounds of the main color, then 15 rounds of salt and pepper. As I looked around, I was really glad I'd chosen less traditional colors - the typical Sanquhar gloves were worked in white and black, but I picked a warmer beige and mahogany. Triple ought needles are bad enough; no way would I add black yarn to that equation. I finished my S & P shortly after lunch, ready to jump into the motif bands and thumb gusset. Carefully placing my markers for each 11-stitch square, and working make ones for the gusset (by the way, super dee duper challenging on those minuscule needles) I worked my way around the glove. Last motif in the band almost done and . . . oh crap! I don't have the right number of stitches. I carefully recounted and yup, 88 stitches, just as I had cast on. Why was my count off?
Have you ever heard a really accomplished knitter tell you to carefully read the pattern through before starting? Yeah, right. I know what I'm doing; just want to start knitting. Kind of like gauging for something that doesn't really have to fit (and for which you have plenty of yarn). Well this time, I really did read through the pattern - actually, the 2 page pre-pattern prior-to-class assignment. The part I didn't do was read carefully. Pretty sure I had my glasses on. Had the requisite morning cup 'o joe. Good lighting. So how in the heck did I read 88 rather than 80. That's right, I cast on 8 too many stitches. Which, when I got to the motif band, made it impossible to work seven 11-stitch squares and a 3-stitch gusset. And of course, because I was clever enough to misread the cast-on instruction as an even number, I didn't discover my faux pas until I'd invested hours of time - 40 rounds on those dastardly small sticks. And 8 stitches? With a gauge of 11 stitches per, almost an extra inch! Reducing that many will make for a very funny shaped glove. Usually you want the cuff to be smaller than the main section, not bigger. What to do, what to do?!
In the spirit of learning, and so as to get as much as I could out of the class, I forged ahead, reducing 8 stitches and working through the motif band as I listened and learned all there is to know about knitting Scottish Sanquhar gloves. However, it looked really, really goofy. So as soon as I got home, the frogging began. Pulled out the needles, and rewound the yarn into four pretty little cakes. Ready to go again. One small ray of sunshine did emerge from this painful exercise. I put the partially knit glove on, and voila! It was kinda tight. Maybe I can go up a needle size? Woohoo!
So it really is true. As the age old saying goes, "the better the knitter, the bigger the mistakes."