A momentary lapse leads to disaster: the travails of a novice knitter

Having learned to knit a year or so ago and made several flowers, bags and a jumper since then, I thought I would try something more challenging: this heavily cabled sleeveless sweater from the Rowan Dalesmen collection. This young man isn’t a sheep farmer, like the other men in the book but a poet or something like that. I expect he’s really sensitive if a trifle dull but I wouldn’t worry about that.

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Anyway, I bought the beautifully soft alpaca yarn from the lovely Joanne at Wool&Buttons and started to knit the back of the sweater. You can see that the bottom ribbing is easy but then I came to the pattern. Unfortunately, it’s set out in chart form in the book and, although I tried, I found it extremely hard to knit directly from it as there are all sorts of special abbreviations and several different kinds of cables over the 28 row repeating pattern so I am transcribing the pattern into a readable document and knitting from that. This whole process takes ages.

It isn’t an easy knit at all, even though the pattern says it’s suitable for the average knitter. I mean, I made the Lyra jumper with the same grading, so this should be possible, right? I kept picking up extra stitches and having to knit them into each other at the end, which was unsatisfactory,  but it was the back, so I figured the odd mistake here and there would be OK. Of course, It wouldn’t have been because picking up extra stitches and then eliminating them at the sides would have led to the pattern being out of synch and ruined. Slighty demoralised, I went away and left the unfinished back for a while.

When I came back to the pattern after a few weeks, a moment of carelessness led to me twisting the numbers around on my row counter so I had lost track of the numbers of rows that I’d knitted. Reluctantly, I ripped the sweater back and started again from the beginning. Actually, this was quite liberating as I knitted far better the second time around with no mistakes at all until last night I came to the end of row 10 and realised I had picked up an extra stitch from somewhere. I unpicked the row stitch by stick until I came to an odd bit above a cable in the previous row.

Have you ever seen the TV FIlm of Agatha Christie’s A Mirror Crack’d, where it suddenly dawns of Elizabeth Taylopr that years ago she met and nonchalantly air-kissed a humble fan of hers at a reception whilst filming and the fan had probably had a mild case of German Measles which must have led to the miscarriage of Elizabeth’s as-yet unannounced baby? It is a very clear epiphany of a moment which led to disaster. The look on Ms. Taylor’s face is shocking enough to have given me nightmares ever since. (Incidentally this very scene should be shown to every parent of a young child to persuade them of the need for the MMR jab.) This  kind of moment of sudden realisation has happened to me several times and it had happened again here in this knitting. I remember that there was something a little tricky with how I knitted some stitches behind the stitches on a cable needle. “Nah,” I remember thinking, “It’ll be OK.” It so clearly wasn’t OK. There was a dropped stitch which, when I tried to correct it, led to dropped stitches on the cable. Unrecoverable, for me at least.

So, dear Reader, I have had to rip the whole thing out. Again. This yarn is soft and fuzzy and therefore tangles easy when it’s kinked from knitting. I spent an hour last night trying to disentangle the yarn trough my sobs.  I felt a total failure yet again, as with my career, I’ve tried so hard and failed and perhaps I’ll never get a job again, and I’ll never be able to make my contribution to the family finances and I’m a burden and a cost centre and…well, you get the picture and it all came out again last night as I tugged at the knotted tangle of yarn. It’s never far from the surface, you see. Here’s what the yarn looks like this morning. I  am trying very hard, though, not to see it terms of an metaphor for my disastrous career.







On the plus side, I  spent a pleasant few minutes crocheting this flower yesterday afternoon after my second crochet lesson with Lisa Hafey or @LmonadeandLmingtons. Crochet mistakes are much easier to remedy, I find. Make of that what you will.

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