Best laid plans…

I’ve been knitting along in a dream state with these pretty yarns, thinking of how to make the shawl that I see in my mind. This is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Ticklish, Cherry Blossom, and Fresh Cut.

A lot of my designing is trial and error, so there’s a lot of ripping and re-knitting. But I learn something every time I rip. I’ve been knitting away, thinking, and it was time to figure out how how big this would be. I used the Pythagorean Theorem. When’s the last time you thought of that? The hypotenuse is the magic number here.

It turns out I had made the beginning way too big. I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish if I kept going. So I frogged the 11,000 stitches that came after this. Which was fine, because I used those stitches to map out what I want to do, see how things would fit together, and decide what the stitch patterns should be. And it was a really big gauge swatch, too. I took a lot of notes along the way, and now I’m well on my way. At least I think I am!

My current workspace is not too shabby.

Are you a ripper? I really don’t mind it, if I get what I want, eventually.

10 responses to “Best laid plans…


    • Me, too!

      I started with a square that was 18” on each side. I’m using the square as the center of my shawl, and want to set it on point, so the diagonal line through the square is 25.5”, which is pretty deep for my shawl. That puts me at risk of not being able to make it long enough to wrap comfortably around myself.

      Gee, it would have been smart to have this conversation with myself *before* I made that center square so big. But it was a good sketchboard for figuring out where I was going with all the other ideas in it. It just needed to be scaled down to a reasonable size…which meant ripping 11,000+ stitches.

      Bonus: The scaled down square is a lot better looking than it was when it was upsized.

  2. Sometimes I think I rip more than I knit, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t possible in our dimension… I think yarn would have to physically disappear or something if that were true & I DO complete lots of projects so it is clearly an inaccurate perception.

    But I rarely knit or crochet from a pattern & when I do it is bizarre if I knit/crochet exactly as written – generally change something, often significantly.

    I get an idea from a yarn or a “need,” play with needle/hook sizes to get the drape & texture I want & then bonzai it: make the yarn look like picture in my head… which inevitably leads to LOTS of ripping. Similar to what you described here.

    Sometimes ripping is because I don’t like that gauge after all, or just don’t like the way it looks the way I did it or realize a different increase/decrease or rhythm of stitches is “happier”.. or modify original picture.

    I refuse to look at ripping as “lost time” or “wasted knitting or crochet stitches.” Like I’m going to make this project & NEVER MAKE ANOTHER STITCH? No. When I finish this, I’ll pick up more yarn & make more stitches… even if it is just a dishcloth to learn a new stitch pattern.

    Besides, everyone learns more from the things they screw up than from anything they did perfectly the first time. Learning is NEVER wasted time! Take notes as you go, memorialize the missteps so you can learn from them – or use that on purpose somewhere else where it actually works (new stitch pattern or technique?) – craft on!

  3. The sum of the square on the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares on the other two sides, right ? I was in what would equate with Year 7 when I understood that I didn’t have to learn the theorems off by heart, but could actually work ’em out on the board when it was my turn.
    Mother Rosa nearly fainted. [grin]

    • Ha! I used to do the same when we learned basic algebraic equations. Once I was sure I understood the overall concept, I saw no point in wasting my time doing 100 of them as homework, particularly as our teacher never actually collected the homework; he just collected “homework quizzes,” where we’d have to copy out our solutions to, like, 5 problems, and hand those in. They were simple enough that solving them didn’t really take any longer than writing them out, so that’s pretty much all I ever did.

  4. Deborah Gudger

    While I love watching others’ process knitting, I am really a production knitter. Have had knitter’s elbow for two months now and it’s killing me not to be able to work on my two sweaters…I so wanted to wear them this winter…I’ll content myself with watching your creative process!

    • I always say, “Designing: I make the mistakes so you don’t have to!”

      Sorry about your elbow; that’s no fun. I’m currently wearing my fingering weight + mohair Love Note that I knit last April, and it’s like wearing a soft cloud. I love it.

      > >

  5. Wendy Fletcher

    I really hate to have to rip, but I know that I’ve spent a lot of money on the yarn already and I want to love what I’ve made. When I try on the article and I don’t absolutely love it because the fit is not great, or there’s a visible error, that’s my threshold for knowing I can do better. I will rip and consider all the time invested as my 10,000 of learning. It’s hard to think of all the time spent, but, there is always a lesson. And I try to acknowledge and accept the learning so that I can avoid the same issue next time.