Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Less Than Firm Grasp of the Obvious

All you knowledgeable knitters, go away.

I have a question for the rest of you: Do you know what "short rows" means? "Short rows" means you have a different number of stitches on one side of your knitting than you do on the other. "Short rows" means that if you are working on Sweet Indulgence and you have completed the shaping for the lapel, and you are counting to make sure the left front armhole has the same number of rows as the left back armhole, you count the rows at the side where you will be joining the sleeve. This happens to be the side on which you worked the short rows. It will have more rows than the lapel side.

This is why, depending on from how many places you choose to count your rows, you will end up with a different number, possibly every time. It also explains why, if you count back from the armhole side, you will get the number you expect. It explains why the math works when counting stitches doesn't. Most especially it means don't count your rows anywhere along the lapel ribbing. Figure this out before you rip out your work.

Leave out, for the moment, how many times you knit and ripped out while you tried to figure out how to purl the wrap together with the stitch. Let's not talk about how you ran out of yarn 7 stitches from the place where the ribbing takes over from stockinette (had I mentioned that the pattern calls for joining yarn at the ribbing stockinette/junction?). We'll just forget that ribbing apparently eats yarn like hamburger buns pop sesame seeds, so that the piece of yarn you joined the first time was so pathetically inadequate that it didn't even make it to the end of the row. Those were the speed bumps you expect to encounter when you're figuring something out.

Although why the editors thought a diagram of the yarn in front of the slipped stitch and then in back of the slipped stitch was necessary, but a diagram showing how you knit through the back of the wrap while purling the stitch itself on the subsequent row was not, is less clear. I can figure out how to move my yarn from front to back, thank you very much, but do I put the right needle through the back leg of the wrap from the back? Through the front leg of the wrap from the back? Through the back of the wrap, but from the front?

To complete today's learning experience, let me reiterate. The most important thing about short rows is, don't rip out your work before you figure out where you should be counting. That way madness lies.

A late epiphany may be better than no epiphany, but at the moment I can't think of anything more annoying. I'm going to go, sit quietly, have a cup of coffee and court sensory deprivation.

Then, I am so going to knit something blue.

Edited to add: To "Anonymous" who left a comment on "I Changed the Rules." The pattern is the Scribble Scarf by Debbie New as written up in Mason-Dixon Knitting. The yarn is Handmaiden Sea Silk in Ebony and Louisa Harding Kimono Ribbon in #8. Sorry you didn't win. Maybe if you had commented?


diane h said...

Knowledgeable knitters have made this same journey. Less math but the same amount of confusion.

Cheesehead With Sticks said...

Well, surely you know you won't ever have to worry about making that mistake again.

Most likely :)

Ya - I love lessons like that. Not. Feel better about it soon.

Shelly said...

Wow maybe that is why I have avoided short rows....

Bobbi said...

wow! what a headache! I hate short rows too, I haven't figured out how to do them correctly.

Jess said...

Oof. I've done that before, it's not fun at all. But at least you learned something from it, right?