Friday, March 25, 2011

Mysterious Knitting

Sometimes, despite all your best intentions, things happen and you don't know why. And while you might think I'm referring to something larger in life, something more incomprehensible, something fateful or destiny-related...but I'm not. I'm talking about knitting.

I just spent the last 2 hours knitting and tinking, knitting and tinking, knitting and tinking the same inch-and-a-half of fabric, over and over again. Why? Because there was a problem. Specifically, a missing stitch. Not a dropped stitch...a missing stitch. And not several...just one. I was off by one, single, lonely, bastard stitch...but I couldn't figure out where or why.

It's the super secret project. It's due in a week at the end of this month. And it's lace. Lace is a beautiful, delicate and intricate weaving-webbing thing based entirely upon numbers, patterns and visual rhythms. You start with a certain number of stitches and you end with a certain number of stitches. Everything that happens in between is only numeric poetry, conducted by deft and nimble fingers.

And because I'm a dude knitter, living on the edge of the knit world, a rebel, a loner...dare I say even, *gasp*, a dangerous knitter...I knit without lifelines. Lifelines keep a knitter from completely losing their frakkin' mind when a lace pattern has gone totally, terribly awry. They allow one to unceremoniously remove the errant needle and haphazardly tear out the offending stitches until peace and order has been the base of the lifeline. Screw lifelines, I say. It's knitting, for crying out many ways to we have to liven it up a bit?

So, as you can imagine, I was so very tempted to rue my fate this evening when, to much perplexity and wonderment, I found myself several stitches into a row, yet missing a stitch. I knew instantly I was missing a stitch because I was slated for a SSK...but I lacked an S. At first, I considered just doing an SK, though that looked cheap and tawdry. Well, okay...not tawdry but most definitely cheap. And cheating. No cheating allowed.

I take a moment's reflection, then begin tinking back to the beginning of the row. I read my stitches, following the pattern in head bit by bit and arrive at the end of the row utterly convinced that all the stitches are there. I start out again, only to arrive at the same place with the same problem: one damn missing stitch.

Next, I tink back not only to the beginning of the row but also the prior all-purl row. All purl WS rows are great for lace. I call the equalizing rows, as the serve to set up uniformity and regularity in the stitches for the next complicated shaping row.

So, now 2 rows tinked and back to a shaping RS row. I count the stitches...53, right on the mark. I read the stitches and follow the pattern. All present and accounted for. Excellent! I redo the all purl WS row, turn my work and start in again...and discover one missing stitch.



At this point, conspiracy theories begin to form in my brain as to how everything can check out, yet still I fall short one stitch in the same place every single time. Tink, tink, tink...3 rows out, then 4. Count through pattern, a-ok. I consider handing my knitting to my friend, Daniel, and having him count to verify but I can't take a negative hit to my massive PR machine, so I don't.

I take a deep breath. All systems go, sir. We should be ready for take-off. we go. Slowly, like a newbie knitter, I work stitches as though I were in the midst of a walking Buddhist meditation. K2, ssk, 2yo, k2tog, yo, k3, repeats, and repeats. I arrive at the end of row successful. WS all purl row...also checks out.

Fast forward 10 minutes and I'm back to where this story started, only this missing stitch. So...where did it go, or, rather, where did it come from. Obviously, the logical and rational explanation lies in my own handiwork and my working of the stitches. But I think the mystery of the situation is more fun to contemplate, so I chalk it up to an intellectual exercise and secretly thank whatever gods may be listening that I didn't completely frak up the super secret project.

And I'm still not going to use lifelines. You only live once...make it count.


  1. Impressed with your perseverance. I would have chucked the whole thing and had a cocktail. I have not tried lace yet, I don't think I'm ready for it. I might just DM you when I start- I'm not opposed to using a lifeline!

  2. Yes, That's why I don't do lace :
    1- I won't wear it ! (except if I lose a bet ?)
    2- I DON'T want to do it !
    Sometimes, you just have to take a break, maybe dring à cocktail as Misha suggested, and come back later.
    Yes, I admire your perseverance too !