Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Can Happen with Knitter's Denial

Do you know about knitter's denial? It's well documented. You knit and knit, and you think that something looks... well... a bit "off"--but you assure yourself that all is well, and you continue on.

I have been working on a cute little vest--the Back-to-School Vest out of Fitted Knits. I loved it when I first saw it, and then my friend Alice made it, and I wanted it even more. (Humans are herding animals.) I was making it out of one of my favorite yarns in our shop, Harrisville Highland.

I've been knitting the vest mainly at the movies. (It's summer movie season!)

The pattern for the vest begins with 13 inches of knit-2, purl-2 ribbing. I long-ago trained myself to knit in the dark. But counting in the dark is another matter. Every single time, without exception, when I am knitting in the dark in the movie theater on this vest, I lose count.

And yet, I have taken this vest to the movies over and over.

I have always been kind of a slow learner.


After seeing the new Indiana Jones movie this past weekend, I had just finished another two hours of laddering back. (I know. In that 2 hours I could have torn back and reknit what I had knit in the movie and then some--but fixing it seemed psychologically more encouraging.)

And then I showed it to Kevin.

He took one look at it and said, "It's too small."

This kind of statement, in the store, is my job. (I hate to break this sort of news to anyone. I try to catch any problems early on.) But sadly, I do not always have the same editing capabilities for my own things.

So after Kevin said that, and I had knit 9 inches out of 13, I held it up. That's a test I almost always do--when you hold a piece of knitting up to you, does it go the whole way from side to side comfortably?

Not so much. It looked as if he was perhaps correct about this one.

I decided that maybe a tape measure was in order. Side to side, the sweater measured 12":

If it's reasonably stretched, 13" or 14"--still too big for Scarlett O'Hara, but not quite big enough for me. Normally I would want it to be 19" to give me a total of 38".

In my mind, there were four options:

(1) The Wii Fit has been hard to find, so I knocked that option out right away.
(2) Frog (rip it, rip it) and reknit.
(3) Continue knitting, but then steek (cut the knitting vertically) and put in some side panels.
(4) Steek and make this part of the vest either just the front or just the back, and then knit another front or back.

I decided to wait overnight to decide. I have found that it's best sometimes to mull over a problem for a day. I was leaning toward option 2.

The next morning I woke up, and after an hour or so, I had a flash of a memory. When Alice had knit the vest, it had looked freakishly small when it was off of her. Maybe it was okay after all.

So I tried it on, and look what happened:

It was fine.

I admit I still can't quite fathom the physics of this ribbing. It seemed impossible that it should have fit. But there are some things in life that we just don't question.

Knitter's denial, for the first in my knitting life, had faked me out.


Anonymous said...

oh thank goodness! I'm so glad you tried it on before you ripped. Ribbing is extremly delusional. Your vest is looking fantastic btw, and now I want to co for my own : )

Yarnhog said...

You need to write an article. Publish a paper. Something. This is the one and only time in the history of knitting that denial did not result in the inevitable frog-fest and sob-session. It's a miracle!

I did an all-over ribbed sweater once, and it kept looking so small that I ripped and re-knit three times, adding stitches each time until it seemed the right size. And, predictably, it ended up just perfect for an NFL linebacker.

Sarah said...

Always good to mull things over...

Is the phone off the hook at SYAO? Just curious. I'm trying to get a hold of you Cynthia!
--Sarah H.