Sunday, July 1, 2007

If Ripping Back Isn't So Scary, Then Why Are My Hands Shaking?

This week I started on a pair of legwarmers. I'm not following a particular pattern, but instead decided to use gauge and my own leg measurements to shape a custom-fit for myself. (Ever since I really grasped the concept of gauge/tension, it stopped being a boring, bothersome thing I didn't want to do and became a gateway to the possibility of a near-perfect fit. I realise now how nerdy that sounds but I'm okay with that!) I started the first one on Thursday using a size 8, 16" circular needle, and by Friday afternoon had about three pages of notes and 12" of a nicely decreased tube. I got the thing onto size 8 DPNs with no real drama, and by the time I was about 2 or 3" away from the end, I transferred to size 6s so my end ribbing wouldn't be so untidy. I was so excited when, still on the needles, I put the warmer on to make sure I was ready to cast off and found the length to be just right. So I went ahead and bound off carefully. It was neat, and pretty, and though not perfect by any means, it was great for my generously proportioned calves!

So imagine my horror when I put it on and realised I had bound off so tightly that I couldn't get the end over my heel. Oh. I felt like the biggest idiot. I tried and pushed and pulled and yanked and attempted to manipulate, but it was not budging and I was in serious danger of cutting off my circulation. I had already woven in the end tail and everything! I was so bummed at the idea of all of that knitting going to waste that I did what I ordinarily thought I would be too frightened to attempt: I unpicked my weaving and ripped back. Oh, it hurt to do. I am not a fan of ripping back even on straight knitting, let alone on something I did in the round. I can never get my stitches back on the needle the right way and things end up twisted and dropped. To some people it's not a big deal but it just throws me right off.

I threaded some contrasting yarn on an embroidery needle and managed to locate all of my stitches, and somehow after that got them back onto the DPNs. By the time I had everything evenly distributed and knit a couple of rows plain (at this point I couldn't even think of matching up my ribbing; I just wanted to get everything in order and untwisted and sane), I was exhausted, mentally fried, and ready to go to bed. I mean, written down here in the plain light of day, it doesn't seem like such an ordeal but at the time I was freaking out, yelling at my legwarmer, "WHAT DID I JUST DO?!" Meanwhile my husband was looking up ways to do a stretchy bind-off while I barked at him to try different search strings so I could find a way to undo my damage. Eventually we found a couple of options and I've decided I'll try binding off very carefully with a set of needles a bit bigger than what I've been knitting with.

I am actually kind of proud of myself, though, for wanting to stick with a project so badly that I didn't just abandon it when it went south, but tried to undo the problem and salvage my work. That I was so committed to my legwarmers that I didn't just say, "Screw it, I'll buy retail". In my relatively short time knitting I have found myself loving it so much that I can't bear the idea of a day without it. I can't exist in a world without pointy sticks and loops of string. I have crossed a line and I am here to stay. I am a Knitter, and there is no turning back!

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