Before and after

I will let the pictures speak for themselves first…





No, I didn’t mix up the captions. I ripped out the whole sleeve, back to the cuff. It had slowly dawned on me that, aside from having other projects that I needed to work on, I was becoming reluctant to knit on this sleeve. I enjoy watching this colorful knitted fabric grow under my fingers, so the reluctance was unusual. Once I actually stopped to think about it, it didn’t take long to identify the cause: the sleeve was just too narrow. I had slipped it on my arm several times, tugged a little to approximate blocking, and thought it should turn out okay, but my subconscious was smarter than my conscious in this case (again). I wanted it to be better than just “okay”. So I finally listened, pulled out the needles and had a good old time ripping it back.

My eldest daughter watched me with a bit of dismay, but it felt good to start the corrective procedure. I knew darn well that if I wasn’t happy with it at this stage, I wouldn’t be any happier with it down the road. Any time spent knitting after I knew it wasn’t working out would have been wasted, but I count the time up until that point as well spent; it was the cost of learning (or reinforcing) something important.

I have changed the rate of increases and reprinted the chart. The yarn is ready to go, with all the different colors loosely knotted to each other in proper order and wound back around the working ball. This will actually make it much easier to work on – as long as I left long enough ends the first time around to make up for the extra stitches in each round!

I believe a good phrase to use in such a situation is “advancing to the rear”. I’m not sure who coined the term, but it is military in origin. As in, “not retreating, but advancing to the rear”. As in, regrouping for another forward action. As in realizing when it’s not working out, going back to a place from which it can be fixed and fixing it.

Once again, knitting illustrates a valuable life lesson. Too many important lessons have a much higher cost, so any time I can get a good one at no more expense than some time pleasurably spent knitting, I’ll take it and be grateful!

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2 Responses to Before and after

  1. Judith in Ottawa says:

    I totally understand what you mean; I’ve almost finished knitting up the used yarn, too! I’m knitting a Fair Isle cardi from a J&S kit (so I’m just the technician on this job). I used a previous piece to figure out the size I wanted to knit, but was in denial about the taughtness of the bottom ribbing for quite a while. I finally read my own mind, put the damned thing on a string and saw the obvious. I tried just pulling out the plain increase row between the ribbing and the start of the patterning, but the bottom side of a row of stranded knitting just looked too spooky to graft without more pain than unravelling the whole thing. At least I’m now well past where I had previously abandonded all hope!

  2. Emilee says:

    I was going to say that I’m sorry you lost so much work, but it’s good to see that you’re so philosophical about it. The sleeve was gorgeous, and the next one will be gorgeous AND the right size!

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