Friday, September 14, 2012

Knitter's Denial

"You did what you could until you knew better, and when you knew better you did better."    ~  Maya Angelou

Knitter's Denial is a documented disorder that has been found, at least occasionally, in the behavior of almost all who knit.  Typically, a knitter knows that something wrong with whatever they're knitting. They sense it. They feel it. They can actually see it!  And yet, they keep on knitting!

My latest knitter's denial began over a year ago.  It was April 2011 when I purchased several skeins of a new yarn, Tahki Yarns "Ripple", in black.  It was new...  I kind of like Tahki Yarns...  It was there at Gosh Yarn It!...  I bought four skeins, after deciding that I would like to make a shell.  It is 100% cotton and is a thick and thin "tape" or "ribbon" yarn.  I decided on a shell, "Simple and Sleeveless" from The Knitting Experience: Book 2: The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville.  The book has a photo of the shell made in a black ribbon yarn and it does look elegant.

I made swatches with size 6 and size 7 needles.  Both were close to gauge, I decided I liked the feel of the swatch made with the 6's.  I began making a size M.  The front and back of the shell are made the same.  I found that the yarn is not the most pleasant to knit with... on occasion the yarn must be pulled more tightly to get a thick part through a loop.  But it had such a neat texture to it.  I kept on knitting.

I found it difficult to make gauge/measurement checks as I knit... beyond curling, the piece seemed to want to scrunch in on itself.  Maybe the size 7 needles would have been better.  But maybe it would be fine after blocking.  I kept on knitting.  Perhaps it was because of the "pulling in" or scrunching, I bought a fifth skein of yarn.  I was afraid I would not have enough.  I kept on knitting.  I left out one set of decreases in the waist shaping hoping that might help a little.  I had most of the first piece done when fall came last year and I put this project away for the winter.

In April of this year I finished the first piece and blocked it.  I mentioned it with a photo in this blog post.  Of course I did not mention in the blog post that even after blocking, the piece was much narrower than anything that I normally wear.  I began the second piece thinking maybe I should make it wider with more stitches.  But I did not.  I kept telling myself that with all of its tendency to scrunch, the knitted fabric really had a lot of give in it.  And it did.  But would I really want to wear something with that much negative ease?  Probably not.  But I kept on knitting.

Then something happened to that finished first piece after being neatly folded in the bottom of my knitting bag for a couple of months.  It shrank!  At least, I think it shrank.  The chest measurement was not as wide as I had thought it to be after blocking.  (I suspected that it got shorter, as well.)  Was it the yarn?  I kept knitting some more.  It dawned on me that I had never made a project page for this garment on Ravelry.  I began to take that as an omen.  I began to think that this project was doomed with gauge issues from its start.  I kept on knitting.

Then I recognized that this particular shell pattern has a stand up collar.  Not something I would normally wear.  But you could make the stand up collar as short or tall as you like.  I kept on knitting.  I was thinking about making the second piece be the front and changing the neckline.  I kept on knitting.

I was more than two thirds of the way finished knitting the second piece, and still thinking about that neckline, when I began imagining the seaming.  I planned to use a fine, smooth black cotton yarn for seaming, but everything being black and textured and shaped, I did wonder how well that would work out.  I kept right on knitting. 

You would have to agree.  It was knitter's denial.  And it had got me good.

I came to my senses this week.  I went from this.

To this.

To this.

Yes, I am starting all over again with a new pattern.  It is "Trace", by Kristin Spurkland, from the heichi book by Shibui.  It is knit in the round.  I will be using size 7 needles.  I believe that I must make a project page on Ravelry very soon...

I guess you could say, I am turning over a new leaf.  Or an old shell.  I guess you could say, I really got my money's worth buying this yarn and getting to knit with it twice.  I know that I can say, I truly do love knitting.


  1. WEll I have my own story to tell about Knitter's Denial. I was making The Faery Ring jacket. The skirt to the waist was plain knitting, but the bodice is ALL cables. I love making cables so this wasn't a problem. BUT, between the cables they called for a single stitch - a purl and I was doing a single stitch that was a knit stitch. I don't remember why that happened, but I was about 4 inches up the bodice when I discovered it. I decided that I liked it the way it was because I was not ripping out all those stitches to fix that tiny little stitch between all the cables. I continued up past the arm hole divide - all the time telling myself it LOOKED JUST FINE! I probably was the only one who noticed that wrong stitch, but I couldn't get past the fact the cables didn't pop they way they should be because the knit stitch was not enough contrast like the purl stitch. So as I was reaching the shoulder - now about 12 inches of bodice cabling - I decided that IT DIDN'T LOOK JUST FINE!!! So I ripped it all back down to the waist and started again. I was much happier! Yes, I know about about Knitter Denial.

  2. It is good to enjoy the process!

  3. Funny I suffer from the same denial. How did it work out in the ripple?

  4. The "Trace" pattern has been working out much better with the Ripple yarn. As I often do, I put this "spring" project aside last fall. I will be working on it again before too long. Thanks for your comment.