Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When an Oops Becomes a Design Feature

Even though I am a perfectionist in most aspects of my life, when it comes to my knitting, most of the time I will leave a mistake if it's not blatantly obvious. I think I've become okay with this MO because my knitting and spinning time is limited so I'm reluctant to use that time to undo something unless it's going to be a real issue. I call such a small error a design feature and move on -- especially if I'm knitting a gift for a nonknitter who isn't going to know the difference.

That's certainly the case with the mittens I've been knitting for my father-in-law. I'm using Susan B. Anderson's wonderful Waiting for Winter Mittens & Fingerless Mitts pattern, which I've used several times before with great success. This is a fairly basic mitten pattern, and there's really nothing in it that's difficult to understand. Because I had made it before and because I knew that there wasn't anything complicated involved, I decided not to print out the full pattern again this time but rather to jot down the important steps and numbers for the size I'm knitting on a small scrap of paper that I could keep in the project bag. I knew that I should be finishing the thumb gusset with 17 stitches, and I'm fairly certain I was counting stitches when I was finishing up the thumb gusset and putting those stitches on scrap yarn. And yet, when I went to finish the rest of the thumb and put those stitches back on the needles, how many did I have? Not 17 but 15. Yep, I was two stitches short, and of course my this point I had already finished the hand of the mitten, so going back to fix the error would have meant unpicking the end I'd already woven in at the top and ripping back half the mitten. Sorry, that just wasn't happening.

Fortunately, with only two stitches missing, the solution was pretty easy: Instead of picking up one stitch in the gap, I picked up three. This actually turned out to work very well, as it prevented the large holes you sometimes get when you pick up stitches like this. And honestly, though the thumb gusset is two rounds short, I don't think anyone will notice. The mitten still looks perfectly fine to me, and the Mister tried it on for size just to make sure. (I also tried it on, though it's much too big/long for me, but I discovered that if I flap my hand quickly, it makes a fun sound effect that sounds like a helicopter!)

I've been spending most of my evening knitting time in the past week or so focusing on Rainbow's school sweater. We got a bit of a reprieve from the cooler temperatures this week (I think we were actually expected to break a record high here today), but I know she'll be needing it soon. I finished up the body to the yoke late last week and started the first sleeve over the weekend. That was finished last night, and the cuff of the second is done.

Rainbow slipped on the first sleeve this morning, and it seems to fit well. (She did say that the lower arm/cuff are a bit snug, but they don't look to be uncomfortably so, and I'm sure I can block out a bit more room.) Given how quickly the first sleeve knit up, I'd say it's highly likely I'll be ready to start the yoke by this weekend!

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