Posts Tagged ‘rip’

A Different Kind of Lifeline

April 25, 2014

When we last were together, I was nearing the finish of Claire’s first sock. Although I love this anonymous yarn, I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked with the mini-cables of the gentle waves. But I was determined to finish.

And I did, but the result was a sock that looked nice but didn’t fit, at least not without a lot of pulling and tugging. The foot was fine, but the leg was too small. Who wants that when you’re getting dressed in the morning?

Rather than tear out the entire sock, I embraced the opportunity to show my class how to use a lifeline to tear out a large amount of knitting. I stitched a contrasting strand of yarn around the row where the leg met the heel flap, picking up the first side of each stitch.


I planned to pull out the sock from the top ribbing down to the lifeline. I knew the ribbing would involve a fair bit of picking rather than easy pulling out of the stitches. But I quickly figured out that unraveling the back-and-forth of K2 P2 would be nothing compared to the ins and outs of the “gentle waves” cable pattern. After about 5 rounds of picking out stitch by stitch, I reached for a different kind of lifeline.

Sock Cutting

Scissors work wonders. And I knew just where to stop, thanks to the lifeline.


Good Thing I Enjoy the Process

October 13, 2013

In the past 5 years or so, I’ve come to realize that I’m a process knitter. I really enjoy the act of knitting. Don’t get me wrong — I like to finish a project, too. But I don’t have to wait for the end to enjoy myself.

This is a good thing because I regularly find myself having to tear out stitches rows and rows of a project. Take my latest sock (please). I had a feeling it was too big shortly after I finished the ribbing.


I tore it out and started again with 8 fewer stitches. Did I check the gauge? I think you know the answer.

Every time I picked up this somewhat smaller sock, I thought “hmmm, that looks kind of big.” But I reasoned with myself that I’d already started over with fewer stitches so it couldn’t be too big — could it?

Yes, it certainly could. And while the eventual recipient of the socks is an 18-year old athlete, he does not have elephantine calves or ankles.


But I had carried on longer than was sensible because I was enjoying the process: turning the heel and knitting half of the foot. I finally got a grip on reality and decided to ditch the whole thing and start over.


Tearing out is much more fun when you use a ball winder. And you get a lovely ball of yarn…again.



THAT doesn’t look right…

March 1, 2013

When my children were first learning to skate, I took them to a community rink for a lesson. They spent the entire first lesson falling onto the ice, flopping onto the ice, protected by their snowpants and jackets, and learning to get up.  “On your hands and knees and bark like a dog,” the teacher commanded. “One knee up, and then the other.” Brilliant teaching. Everyone falls at least once, and if you can’t get up, you’ll never learn to skate.

Kind of like knitting. Unless you learn how to fix mistakes, you’ll never learn to knit — or you won’t learn to enjoy knitting. Mistakes are inevitable. Like these purl stitches that I discovered on this sweater for a colleague’s baby-to-be.


I didn’t notice the errant purls until a few rows later, of course. With a crochet hook, good lighting, and a few calming breaths, I slipped the stitches of each vertical row, one by one, and then “re-knit” them with the hook.


Until each purl had been turned into a knit. Problem solved. Move on to the next row.


Third Time’s a Charm

January 5, 2012

Recognizing your mistakes and know how to correct them is one of those things you need to do if you want to succeed — with knitting and pretty much everything else in life.

And so it was with the Brattleboro hat. The pattern, in the copy of  New England Knits  that I borrowed from the library, caught my eye  — a ribbed band and a moss stitch crown. Add a button for flair and you’ve got a lovely headcovering, one you can pull snugly over your ears.

Take 1: As I’ve said before we are a large-headed people, so it didn’t take me long to realize that the crown I was making just wasn’t going to fit. See how I’d already been decreasing for a few rows (line of stitches near marker) and it was only about as wide as the ribbed band?

Even though I didn’t know who the recipient of the hat would be, chances were it would be a member of my extended clan and that meant Big Head.* So I ripped back to before the decrease and started again, fully intending to modify the pattern. That’s when I discovered that I hadn’t followed the pattern correctly. That pesky “every other row” had escaped my notice.

Take 2: Flush with the excitement of discovering that the error was mine and not the pattern, I moved quickly to reknit the crown. A bit too quickly it turns out. It’s easy to get overly confident when you’re knitting moss stitch in the round, giving the piece a quick glance every now and again.

mismatched moss stitch

Note the seismic shift in the moss stitch. Seems obvious, yes? Well, it took me several inches to notice it.The second ripping ensued, ready for the next attempt.
Ripping out crown of knit hat

Take 3: It really is a lovely hat. My dear niece Nora (even more lovely) approves.

Nora in Brattleboro Hat

*When my kids were younger, they and cousins Ben and Nora (she of the hat) would play a game that entailed hiding from their parents, as they sat around the supper table, and tossing the occasional stuffed animal, sock ball, or other soft item toward the parents. Giggling and scampering were involved. They dubbed this game “B.H.” It was only after several years of observing (secretly, of course) this game that we parents discovered that B.H. stood for Big Heads. Yup, that’s us!

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