99 problems (and a stitch is most definitely one)

Folks, I have been diligently stitching away on my summer craft goals (along with some new additions to my must-knit list!). I usually have more than one project going at a time: an easier/more repetitive pattern that I can do on the bus, and a more complicated one that I save for home. This system also helps when I get tired of a particular pattern, or get frustrated by a tough section. I can just hop on over to the other project and return to the first when I’m in a better frame of mind.

Unfortunately, I hit a snag on both of my current projects, and learned that if there’s anything worse than one jacked up project, it’s two jacked up projects.

The first project is a lovely shawl that I’ve been working on for several weeks. I loved knitting the border lace section, and was happily chugging along through the body when I hit the third and final section. As I completed the first row of this section, I realized I had an extra stitch at the end of the row. Hmm. Checked my stitch markers, recounted each repeat, and everything looked good except for that extra stitch at the end. “Ah, well,” I thought, deciding just to knit the last two stitches together in order to lose that extra stitch. Stray stitches happen, and I wasn’t too worried about it since all the lace repeats were correct.

I continued on my merry way, but began to feel more and more uneasy as I went. The stitch count was working now, but…it just didn’t look right. Instead of the delicate lace work in the picture, it looked like I just had random holes stuck here and there. I really hate tinking (undoing your knitting, for the uninitiated)–who doesn’t?–but I decided I needed to suck it up and undo everything I’d done until I got back to the body section. Feeling proud of myself for not taking the lazy way out, I recounted my stitches, set my stitch markers, and confidently set off again. I made it another 5 rows in before I had to admit that what I had still looked so wrong. And despite vigilantly counting, recounting, and using tons of stitch markers, I kept ending up with either too many stitches or not enough in the first and last repeats.

So when I say “stitch markers,” sometimes I mean “bobby pins”

I finally had to admit that I had no idea what the heck was happening. I nervously emailed the pattern designer to ask if she could help figure out where I had gone wrong. I’m not sure why I was so nervous–I think I was worried that my email would come off as critiquing the pattern, when I was pretty sure that my problems were due to operator error. Luckily the designer responded promptly and kindly, and let me know how many stitches I should have by the time I reached the tricky section. Well, dear readers, I was somehow off by about 50 stitches. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. The body section was comprised of short rows, and looked totally fine to me, so I’m still not sure how I ended up so far off. I’m feeling a bit stuck at this point; I could undo the whole body section and try again, but since I’m not sure where I went wrong the first time I don’t know that redoing it will lead to any better results. I think my best bet may be to figure out how many repeats of the pattern I can fit with the number of stitches I have, and try to go from there.

After working so hard on that project and still messing it up, I was feeling really frustrated. I decided to work on another project, thinking that success in one arena might inspire me to tackle the shawl again. Unfortunately, this other project came with its own headaches. After missing one “yarn over,” I finally realized my error several rows later and had to rip out my work and go back. Twice. At this point I decided that next mistake I made, I’d rip out my hair rather than my stitches. Luckily for my hair, I made it through the next several sections without incident.


I finally was ready to add in the second color of the shawl, only to find that the skein included in the kit had some sort of stain on it. Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth. My poor fiance looked over at me in alarm as I shook the skein at him, mumbling incoherently about dyed yarns and desperation. I’ve emailed the company who produces the kits to ask what I should do, but until I hear back from them I’m stalled on this project as well.

*Le sigh*

So, here I sit, 0 for 2 on the current projects front. I’m hesitant to start a new project while these two are stuck in limbo, but I don’t think I’m in the right frame of mind to sort out their issues just yet. I have plenty of gorgeous fiber vibrating in my little yarn basket, so I think I’ll mosey on over and see what speaks to me. Hopefully embarking on a new project will give me the jolt I need to return to my problem projects with a new set of eyes.

Do you have multiple projects going at once? What do you do when you get frustrated with one–set it aside and come back later, or keep working at it until you solve the problem? Whatever your philosophy, I leave you with this blessing: may your yarn never tangle and your stitch counts always be correct.

Happy crafting!



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