Rip It

Knitting groups need to have a sign over the door that says something to the effect of “Abandon hope of concentrating, all ye who enter here.” Or maybe this is something that the pros have figured out? Or, more likely, I’m just an idiot.

Yeah, let’s go for that last one.

So my mom goes to a knitting class on Fridays where the teacher is generally available to help students on whatever project they’re working on. I went with my mom last week since I was visiting her and we both knit. It’s a fun group of ladies. Since I had the rare advantage of having a more experienced knitter around (which isn’t to say I’m a pro, just that I need more knitter friends), I thought I’d take the opportunity to cast on the Four Winds hat that I’ve been afraid of starting since Alistair Post-Quinn’s Extreme Double Knitting was published.

WIP - Four Winds Hat
Don’t worry; this knitting tale doesn’t end with forever with ripping back.

Double knitting isn’t actually any more difficult than Fair Isle, once you get used to looking at the stitches in pairs, but since you’re basically working both sides of a reversible fabric at once, it does require a certain amount of mental gymnastics to wrap your brain around what you’re looking at and how to think about pairs.

I was very proud of myself for managing to cast on and work a gauge swatch Thursday night, which may have contributed to a certain cockiness when I went to cast on the project itself Friday afternoon. Blithely, I borrowed my mom’s stitch markers to make sure I didn’t miscount the 208 stitches I had to cast on and diligently worked my way around, marking off after triple counting every 20 pairs. Diligently, I worked my way through 10 markers plus 8 pairs, pausing halfway through to bemoan the vast number of stitches the darned hat required.

Those of you paying attention may already have caught my mistake, but I didn’t notice until I had spent the better part of two hours casting on and working the first extremely long round that I had cast on 208 PAIRS, or 416 stitches…no less than twice what I needed.

“Hey Peggy,” I said, hoping she had some miraculous trick up her sleeve, “I don’t suppose you know any tricks for accidentally casting on twice as many stitches as you need?”

Do you know that moment in Anne of Green Gables where Miss Stacy comes over for dinner and Anne just barely stops her from eating the rat-infused plum sauce in time? That moment of horrified silence followed by deep, gut laughter? That deeply empathetic camaraderie of stupidity understood is why knitting groups are so good for the soul.

I abandoned my needles then to do some spinning for the rest of class, not ready to rip back my work. I even went so far as to measure my dad’s head again when we got home in hopes that my tight gauge and his large noggin would make the extra stitches suitable. Unfortunately, tall as my dad is, his head is not freakishly large and I had to admit defeat and rip back.

It will be a miracle if anyone gets completed Christmas gifts from me this year.