Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Value of a Chance Remark

I admit it. I've been avoiding knitting. I'm so sick of having my arse kicked by things I thought I knew how to do. Like count. Yesterday's surprise discovery on the Baby Surprise jacket has been left over the top of a kitchen chair. I spent a little time with a crochet hook, then spent a little time with a crochet hook and a stitch holder, followed by a little (very little) time with the stitch holder, the crochet hook, and the needles. By this morning, all I was trying to do was avoid admitting defeat.

There's this progression, you see. Each decrease is of the sl 1, k2tog, psso variety, in other words, three stitches into one. Which meant that each row I dropped down involved more and more stitches. There's no straightforward hook them back up and go on your way rejoicing.

At the point I'm at, each row is over 120 stitches long. I'm looking at 6 garter ridges. That's 12 rows. Do the math. If I frog, I have to re-knit over 1400 stitches. Let me put this in words of one syllable, just to be absolutely clear: I do not want to frog.

I went back to it this afternoon, after coffee with Diane. She had said, at one point, that she doesn't use a crochet hook for repairs, she knits back up. I said I had tried that. In fact, at the risk of branding myself a complete idiot, I admit I was feeling rather in awe of her apparent ability to keep straight which stitches she was fixing from the rest of the stitches on her needles, all the time managing to not get herself tangled up in the ladders from the dropped stitches. You see, what I was taking for granted was that she knit back up with the same pair of needles that hold the original work, because that was what I had tried to do.

This may be blindingly obvious to you. Looking at that section of raveled stitches just now, it dawned on me that I have more than one pair of size 6 needles. That what I should be doing was substituting a second set of needles for the crochet hook.

That is, use them in addition to the needles that were holding the rest of the jacket. All I have to do then, is knit about 20 stitches according to the pattern, decreasing on one side and knitting even on the other for what now seems like a mere 12 rows.

Caveat Knitter here, I've only done one row this way so far. Then I was compelled to come over here and tell you all about it. Because it worked.


diane h said...

I saw the title and thought - uh oh, now what did I say? But I am happy to beam, seeing this one worked out for the good - for at least one row. Hurray! The "first time" I repaired like this, I DID use my working needles. Subsequently (not "the next time"), I figured out that using another set is smarter - ha!

Cheesehead With Sticks said...

Genius! THAT is how you tell the knitting to just stuff it and behave allready :)

Luni said...

I first saw this method used at my knitting group, by an out-of-town teacher who was visiting. She was fixing a mistake on a cabled sweater she had designed that was mis-knitted by another knitter. She dropped down and used dpns, as you are, to knit back up, cables and all. It was quite enlightening, but I've not had to use it since. I either catch mistakes and tink back right quick, or just decide it doesn't matter and put the increase or decrease in on the next row or so. I think I could drop down and fix things, but I'm not sure. It is a good skill to have.