Thursday, June 9, 2011

Updated: Shout Out to the (Knitting) Experts: Should It Look Like This??

OMG. The big fucking problem with not having the faintest idea of what one is doing, is that one has no idea when it's fucking up big time.

The provisos here are that I haven't blocked this, so the ribbing stitches look v. uneven. And I've got a (same yarn) lifeline in the body of the pattern - about 4 rows up (not improving the texture).

OK, here are the questions:
  • If the rib was done in US 2 needles then how is it wider-seeming (i.e. looser) than the Knit/Purl lace work (done with US 3 needles!) that starts above it? (Note: It's only just getting going so you can't really tell it's going to be lacey...) Is this normal? It seems like the body should be looser than the rib.
  • When you yarn over you add a stitch, right? So when you YO followed by a K2Tog, you're effectively stabilizing the stitch number - do I understand this correctly?
  • The pattern says K6, * YO, K2Tog, K5, repeat from * to end. I did this and finished up (for 125 stitches) at the 4th of 5 knit stitches at the end of the row. Should it have ended on the 5th stitch?? I counted numerous times and even drew it out, stitch for stitch, but if YO and K2Tog cancel each other out in terms of stitch number, that's the way it goes.
  • The YO extra stitch is very loose. I'm still purling into it (it's a purl row after the lacework row). That's the way it goes, right?
BTW, I couldn't figure out what was going on with those little holes (see yesterday's post) that I thought were dropped stitches. I'm starting to think they could be sloppy iterations of the additional M1 stitches I did (though I was very careful to check that they were all tight) because I couldn't have ended on the right number of stitches if one or more of them were dropped. Also, I studied the "holes" in great detail and I couldn't figure out where to fix them. They were open, but they weren't "broken links". If that's wrong, then fuck it cuz I feel compelled to move forward. I'm starting to get very frustrated. Sometimes, I believe, you have to "craft from where you're at". It's the way you get from nothing to something, even if the something is far from perfect. And you learn along the way, she says.

I know that taking up a craft and following up a first sweater with a sophomore effort of vintage lace work is a bit of a stretch (pun intended), and it's a bit rough right now.

Any feedback y'all may be able to give would be SO appreciated. Thanks, xo

Update: Apparently, row 8 may actually have an errata in it. I'm communicating on the details with the pattern publisher and will advise as soon as I have firm feedback.


  1. Here's what I've got so far.

    1.The rib is not wider, but this is the way it looks with the contrast of knit and purls. The stitches close to the needle always look different than they do later on. When you get further along it should look fine. You can see this in the way the bottom pulls in.

    2. Yes, if you YO then K2Tog, they cancel each other out: you started with two stitches and you end with two stitches.

    3. You should end up on the K5 of the K5. 125 stitches minus the first 6 stitches = 119. the "YO,K2Tog,K5* pattern is 7 stitches. 119 divided by 7 yields 17 full repeats. Your stitches are off, probably you did something twice somewhere in the row. It is very easy to do.

    4. YOs are usually pretty loose. That's how you make those pretty decorative holes.

    Hope this helps.


  2. 1. Is it the same number of stitches throughout the rib section? Did you increase a bunch where the lace pattern starts so it's stretching the rib?
    2. Yes and yes.
    3. You should end on the 5th.
    4. Yes. Don't worry about it.

    Sorry I couldn't help on your other post, but I didn't really understand what you meant. I'm assuming the little holes are from the increases. Some increase methods are more visible than others (the YO being the most obvious).

  3. M: So helpful except that means I've got to rip it back to my last lifeline (the row that should have divided evenly)!!! These lifeline situations are much more scary than with the last sweater cuz the wool is so freakin' slim. V hard to catch all stitches.

    Mind you, I've got more problems since I wrote this post - and I can't imagine that 1 stitch in row 4 could be producing the inability to find 2 sequences of YO, K5, K2Tog - I mean, I'm down 15 available stitches according to what the pattern says. But wait! I've still finished the latest row with the correct number of stitches (126). OMG, I think I'm going to lose my mind. Is this normal? I can see why people make stockinette sweaters and call it a day. Pls. tell me it's going to get easier once I sort this thing out.

  4. What she said up there: seconded!

    Also, regarding the little holes that might be the M1s... is it possible that perhaps you knit into the front when you were meant to knit into the back (or vice versa, depending on if you were doing M1R or M1L)? If so, that might result in more of a hole, as they're designed to twist shut (if that makes any sense.)

  5. Ms. M - that's exactly what I think I did. I think I actually inverted the stitch on purpose cuz I got confused. Oh well, live and learn.

    Raven: OK, thanks for this feedback. I can see I'm going to have to rip things back to the last lifeline. Any hints on how to do this as painlessly as possible, even with the yarn there to hold the stitches, it's tough with this skinny wool... Also, I used an M1 increase (it's like a wrapping the wool around your thumb and then over the needle technique which isn't as noticeable as a YO, but isn't as tight as a M1R or M1L. Nonetheless, I think they're so loose because I did what Ms. M suggests in those 2 cases... I remember turning 2 loops around.

  6. Ah yes, I've done it too, that's why I asked. Every time I start a new project with M1s I have to go to knittinghelp and remind myself how to do each one and I usually write a little note on the front of my pattern so I don't get it wrong, lol.

  7. If possible, just rip to the row just above the lifeline, then tink (unknit stitch by stitch) the last row, much easier than picking up by the lifeline.

  8. M: So when I get to the row just above the lifeline, do I pull out each stitch slowly while grabbing the loop that remains onto the needle? Cuz at that point there won't be any needle holding the live stitches right?

  9. Oh, you've already got all the answers from other helpful readers, so I'll just hold my breath while you're un-tinking. . .

    I don't think the teeny "holes" from the Make1 will be v. noticeable, especially when the yarn blooms into them a bit during blocking.

    I should tell you that some of us occasionally cheat rather than rip back to lifelines, if at all possible. For example, if I'd counted and counted and counted, and everything else looked alright in that first row you described (so that there were 7 stitches (the YO, K2tog, K5) in each unit -- to make the pattern work on all subsequent rows -- but only K4 instead of K5 at the end -- I'd have simply made an extra sneaky stitch and there WOULD BE K5. This kind of cheating has to be done judiciously, obv., and is perhaps more tolerable in some areas than others (under the sleeve, lower on the body, on the back, etc.,) but if it comes to a choice between cheating and ripping back 3 inches of teeny stitches in too-slippery or too-sticky yarn, well, that's not even a choice, imho.

    Good luck!

  10. F: Thank you for adding to this mix of great information. Trust me, I totally considered that option. The challenge is that I don't really know enough about what I'm doing to start deviating from the pattern. Mind you, i'm going to keep it in mind for future...

  11. knitting can be frustrating, but i think you just have to be patient with it - the stitch pattern you're doing looks totally badass!!

  12. What they said :)

    The rib looks fine and is just how k1, p1 rib sits, really.

    The k2tog will cancel out the yo, making a hole, and also evening up the stitch count.

    Yes to ending on 5 of the k5 - hope you were able to sort out what happened in that row and that the ravmail helped with the next lace row too.

    YOs are always looke and look funny. Don't worry, because the effect will be right in the knitted fabric.

    I reckon that the holes were from your increases. I actually think that you won't notice them too much because the sweater will blouse over the top of the ribbed welt, and also the excelana wool will bloom on wearing.

    Oh, and have you tried using dental floss as a lifeline at all? It is much easier to put in, take out and see in the first place!

  13. Ingrid: Thank you so much for your feedback. It's great to know that someone so intimately aware of the Jan Sweater is weighing in on this! (And I love the floss idea!)