Saturday, 13 January 2007

Steeking Blues

Dear Samurai Knitter

I would like to start by saying I am delighted be taking part in the Steek-along you're running. Great idea. Get a bunch of people together who, to varying degrees, are new to this whole steeking thing, get us to do clever things like work out the gauge and necessary calculations without a pattern, teach us how to overcome our fear of stranded knitting, and away we go.

Should be straight forward, shouldn't it?

I had every intention of making this public letter a light hearted, witty attempt at venting my frustrations but you know what? I can't. I'm 13 rows into the pattern and I screwed up so badly that I just can't face it. I've thrown the whole thing down in disgust.

I could blame my husband for this catastrophe, I suppose.

You see, I put the jacket down for a while in the middle of the day, when the temperature soared, and he moved the pattern, which I keep on a metal board with a magnetic strip, so when I came back later, assuming I knew where I was up to, I got it wrong. The magnet had slipped and I just didn't see it.

Yes, I could blame him, but really, I should have looked more carefully instead of just assuming things were where I left them. Of course, if he'd been cleaning the kitchen like he promised instead of watching TV, he might never have had cause to move my stuff aside on the couch that he by rights owns half of. But that's nitpicking, isn't it?

So at some point, around row 8 or 9, I think, I started working two different rows of the graph on the same round. Don't ask me how. I have no idea. And I didn't even notice until about row 13.

Quite reasonably, you might suggest I only have to rip it back to where the major error occurred. A fairly obvious suggestion and it would be the one I'd go with, except there's another problem.

The other problem, a fairly serious one if you ask me, is the tension. Even my husband, with his untrained eye, could see that the tension on the gauge swatch was beautiful. A stunning piece of work. But on the actual jacket, since i started trying to knit with two hands instead of one, the tension has gone to shit. It's tighter. Puckered. Not just a little, but seriously puckered. And the floats don't look as nice. Sure, I've been racing ahead with my new found dexterity, but God what a mess.

Worse still, the pattern itself is not clear. There are times when the blue lines just seem to sink into the silver background in way that leaves the pattern somehow obscured in places.

So if I ripped it back, I'd probably go back to my slower but neater kind of knitting. I'd miss the two handed thing, but not enough to stay well acquainted with it.

I'd post photos but I'm too depressed to go and get the camera and devote time and energy taking photos that probably won't show up the disaster properly anyway.

You know what, dear Samurai Knitter, I've been raving for two weeks now, to anyone who will listen, about the wonders of stretching yourself, of not being afraid to try new things. I've been smug, so very smug, about the importance, no, the necessity in life of facing your fears (even if it's just fear of stranded knitting).

And now look at me. My Saturday night, which is usually a time of peaceful knitting, eating and drinking, has turned into a time of misery. I can't even be bothered drinking. But I did eat.

I'm really hoping I feel better about this jacket tomorrow. Sunday feels like the right day to give myself good, firm talking to about the importance of learning from life's little setbacks, even if said setback only amounts to ripping back 327 stitches of stranded knitting X 13 rows (again, because remember, I ripped back about 8 rows just a week ago).

On Sunday, I will repent of my pride and adopt a new, more humble approach.

I will submit to the steeked jacket.

I will respect the steeked jacket.

Most importantly, I will not resent the wasted time and effort thus far. It wasn't wasted. It was a learning experience.


Maybe when i wake up tomorrow, I'll believe that.