Knowing when you’re not going to make it work is the key to Knitting Sanity

You’ve probably heard it from me before, but one of the things knitters really look forward to is uncomplicated, uninterrupted knitting time and a long airplane ride that might drive another person completely bonkers is sheer joy for most knitters. On our latest trip to Hawaii, I had the perfect yarn picked out and the perfect pattern. I’d already knitted a bit of a test swatch and got the right needles, then I ripped it out and put together my usual trick for keeping the pattern paperwork under control – a 4×6 memo card with the chart glued to it and one of my magnet markers to keep track of the row. Tucked it all into the stuff sack and put it in my backpack.

I even wrapped up this lovely little cowl – a Christmas present for someone who reads this blog only occasionally (so fingers crossed). It’s a pretty forest green with a little blue in it and I cast it off just as Mr. Man was tossing suitcases into the car. Whew!


I know it looks blue here, but I swear, it’s a deep dark forest green. It’s soaking now and I’ll block it out tonight.

The yarn I had chosen for my super special Hawaii project was bought in Albuquerque, NM on one of my trips down there. There’s a lovely yarn store just off the old town square and the yarn is Textiles A Mano from Laura Macagno-Shang (the label is a little fuzzy, so I hope I spelled that right). It’s 100% silk and a lovely mauvy-copper color that’s hard to describe. It’s lace weight AND silk – what could be more perfect for the heat and humidity of knitting in Hawaii?

So, I planned to do the Woodland Shawl. I’ve lusted after this pattern for some time and only wanted some forced quiet focused time to get it going.

After take off, I pulled out the supplied and got started. Knitted the first rows, then the set up row, and then the first pattern row and I’m 4 stitches off. I pull out the full pattern and read it again. Hmmm … must have made a mistake, so I rip the knitting and try again.

I get a different number of wrong stitches, so I pull out stitch markers and try again. A little while later – diet coke slurped down, I count and I’m still off even after putting in the stitch markers at the repeats.


I try it again without adding more repeats … same result – somewhere I’m missing something. I count. Count again. Mr Man has his headphones on, but he helps me de-tangle the next ripping while watching that baseball movie with the number in the name (can you tell where my attention was?) and I try again.

Argh! I know it’s user error, but I couldn’t figure it out. I thought I was going to cry I was so frustrated but instead I acted like the bad passenger crawled over everyone in my row, reached into the overhead bin and opened my suitcase so I could dig around while standing on tippy toes and find a backup project. You didn’t expect me to just sit there and watch a movie after all – I’d go nuts! So, I got started on the fronts of my little Mediterraneo cardigan instead:


Still, it bugged me. When I had time after sight-seeing and beach combing and unpacking and drinking, I looked up the pattern online and tried to figure it out again. No luck.

I woke up a couple of nights later with an idea, went to the computer while Mr. Man was sleeping and tapped around a bit. I thought I’d figured out the problem – two stitches on either side of the shawl – that HAD to be it! So I waited until a quite moment the next day and tried again. Ended up ripping it out twice and growing sort of amazed that the yarn wasn’t becoming icky with all this knitting, ripping, and knitting again. It actually looked – and looks – great after all that abuse.

I got home, tossed the problematic pattern in the trash after ripping it firmly to shreds, and cast on to do Meandering Vines instead – here’s the start:


It’s right on target with the count, doesn’t misbehave or give me trouble – it’s an absolute joy. So there. I’ve got 700 yards of purely sane and happy knitting and I love it. It will be perfect when it’s done – great for a beach throw and you really need those here.

I’m fully aware that the problem is with ME and not the Woodland Shawl pattern, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out and life is too short. I’m just pissed I lost all that knitting time.

Yesterday, I cast on some yarn for this project which I’m designing as I go:


The knitters out there may know what this is and no, it’s not a hat! I had lots of the purple color – at least I thought I did – until I looked up how long this tube thing needs to be to be a proper _________ (name it). I need to knit about 18 inches to do it right and with some help from Celeste at the Loop and Leaf, we determined I had 6 inches left of the purple after knitting 6 inches already, so I needed another 6. I bought the snowy white and created a stripe  and I’ll switch back to the purple when I get 6 inches of the middle section. Wait until you see what this is!

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. Ell Lukasik
    September 12, 2013

    Are you SURE it’s you and not the pattern? Did you check on-line for the errata? I had the same experience with a knitted T-shirt and the ladies told me to go on-line and check. Sure enough, the pattern book was rife with errors! Just a thought.



  2. September 14, 2013

    I’m sure I’m just missing something and it’s not like there aren’t other patterns. I’m really loving how the one I picked is knitting up now … it will be all good!

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