Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holy S#*t (in which I am brave)

I'm working on my first cabled project, a hat. I did cables once before on a square, but it was just an experimental thing to figure out the construction. This hat is the first time I've ever put cables into an actual item of clothing. I've just started the decrease rounds, and at this stage it's supposed to look like this:

Unfortunately, the other side does not look like this. It has a miscrossed cable about 10 rounds back. If I had better photo editing skills, I'd draw little lines on the hat to show you how one of the cables went awry. But I'm a knitter, not a photo editor (hello crappy lighting), so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that one of the cables that's supposed to be angling from the right to the left is actually angling from the left to the right. Fellow knitters will know precisely what I'm talking about, and even the most decorous knitter can sympathize with the title of this blog entry. "Oops" and "oh darn" are not the first words that spring to mind.

Now this kind of thing happens all the time. I am by no means the first knitter to make this mistake nor to face the dilemma of what to do about it. There are three general options:
  1. Ignore it. The miscrossed cable is right above the tail, which I will designate as the back of the hat anyway. This is a tam. It's supposed to be slouchy. I'll just squoosh that part up so that no one will notice it. This option is extremely tempting. 
  2. Unknit all 10 rows and start over from this point. This option, essentially knitting backward, is known in the knitting community as tinking. Tinking sounds a lot cuter than it actually is. It's easy enough. In fact, if you're learning to knit by yourself from a book or the Internet, you're likely to find that it's actually instinctive. And if it's just a few stitches, or even just a couple of rows, it isn't so bad. But tinking 10 rounds would be a total pain in the . . . well. I suspect that the person who came up with the name tink is probably the type of person who would bring home a feral cat and name it "Snuggles."
  3. The third option is the scariest. It involves taking only the six stitches involved off the needle and ripping them back to the row before the mistake, then rekniting them in the right order all the way back up to the top. I've seen it done (once) and read about it a couple of times (not with instructions, just in the narrative sense of "I removed those stitches and then knit it back up"). I  have never done it myself. The person I watched was a yarn shop owner, a woman who really knows what she's doing. And she only had to go four rows down, and it was a very simple lace pattern, not cables. In fact, she was fixing a shawl I had screwed up not nearly as badly as I have screwed up this hat. If I, a mere mortal, attempt to rip back this hat, I could screw it up to a point from which there is no return. This is the knitting equivalent of me walking up to someone with a mild stomachache and saying, "Hey, I copyedit medical textbooks and I've read about appendectomies, so hand me that table knife and go lie down on the table. I'll have that sucker out of there in no time."
Of course, this is a hat, not a human, and it's good to try new things. So now the hat looks like this:

Holy S#*t.

1 comment:

  1. I've done this save a few times before and although it is terrifying, it is a godsend. Hope it goes/went well for you too!