(Or, In Which I Use A Lot Of Italics.)
I swear I am never following a pattern. Ever. Again.
Because whenever I decide to knit something from a pattern, it never-ever-ever
turns out like the picture. And the picture is what I want, not a Blob: a misshapen or lumpy or saggy or warped piece of fabric
that is the result of my knitting the pattern exactly as the directions say to do.
Hems flip up. Garter stitch edging still curls. Collars that are supposed to lie flat stick up, and ones that are supposed
to stick up lie flat. Necklines are either too loose or don’t fit over my head. Cowl necks don’t cowl; socks don’t stay up;
tank tops just… tank. I don’t think there is one single project I’ve knit while blindly following the directions that ever
turned out right. Wait, there is: “Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth”; because it’s kind of hard to botch up a garter-stitch rectangle. But everything else… I could put all of those fibery fiascos in a room, set up a strobe
light, and charge admission – to the Halloween House of Knitting Horrors. No, really. It’s that bad.
I should have known that when I saw the cute sample at my local yarn store. I should have known when I noticed the
yarn – which I had been coveting for months – was on clearance. I even came back two weeks later to buy the pattern because
it was out of stock the first time, yet still I did not remember. Apparently yarn fumes cause a sort of temporary amnesia
that makes one forget that no matter how foolproof the pattern, once the fiber hits my needles all resemblance to the desired
object flies out the window. Yeah, it must have been amnesia, because I bought the yarn. I bought the pattern. I already had
the needles, or I would have bought those, too.
And I cast on. Exactly the number of stitches the pattern said to cast on. And I started knitting. Exactly
what the pattern told me to knit.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t blame the designer. I’ve knit many a project by many an expert designer, and
I know it’s not their fault. It’s just that somewhere between the printed page and the knitted fabric, some rift in the space-time
continuum sucks my knitting into a wormhole and what comes out the other end… well, it sucks. And I really don’t know why.
(Yes. I swatch. It still doesn’t help.)
So, it looks like I’m going to have to modify a pattern. Again.
It worked when shallower gussets kept the ankles of my socks from being so baggy.
I added short rows to the back of that collar, and now it stays folded down. And that one row on huge needles between
the ribbing and stockinette? It kept that hem from flipping. Even the radical Let’s-convert-the-Pomatomus-into-a-toe-up-sock
worked. Somehow, when I diverge from the written instructions and fly off into Knitting-Never-Never-Land what comes off the
needles works. Even when I have to rip and re-knit a half-dozen times. Or when
I ditch the pattern completely. Yeah, then I end up with a wearable item instead of something that makes people ask “Um, what
exactly is that supposed to be?”
Because there are only so many times I can be honest with people by answering “A blob,” before they start making odd
warding gestures and backing out of the room so as not to be affected by whatever bad mojo I happen to be enveloped in. Knitting
just doesn’t need that kind of PR.
The latest blob was supposed to be a lacy smoke ring. The yarn: Plymouth Royal Bamboo. It was gonna rock, really, it was.
I cast on. I knit. I made yarnovers. I knitted two together through front loops and back. I cast off. I wove in the ends.
(Yeah. I know. A fatal mistake, that.) And then I tried it on.
What I got was more of a lacy stink bomb. A royal one, at that.
The part that was supposed to drape elegantly about my neck was just droopy. The only way I could get it to lie even
somewhat decently was to make a cowl-neck out of it. So much for the nice lacy pattern showing – all you could see was the
wrong side. The inside. The ugly side. The side that looked about as pretty as a deflated old boob.
So, in the best spirit of I-can’t-leave-well-enough-alone (because there was nothing “well enough” about this thing)
I tried to save it by crocheting around the neckline. Just a slip-stitch, skipping every third cast-on stitch. To firm up
and tighten that floppy top.
It was tightened, all right. But the sag was still there. It just moved south.
Now I have a lacy ring with a double chin. All the way around.
It’s in the time-out corner now. Tomorrow it goes into the frog pond. (Please cover the ears of small children and
other sensitive persons when I get to the sections where I wove in the ends.) I think, when it comes out, that it will still
have the same lace pattern. But it will have metamorphosed. It will get wider sooner. It will not be worked in the round.
It will be a shawlette. It will not look like the picture. A picture can be photoshopped. Knitting can’t.
And getting old is bad enough without your knitting echoing your blobby bits.