Thursday, December 17, 2009

But wait, there's more!

At the risk of sounding like a major kvetch, I will round out the recitation of the year's knitting snafus by mentioning two projects gone awry. One, recently, was barely started before dysfunction reared its ugly head. This is the "Sweet Fern" mitts pattern from Clara Parkes's newly published The Knitter's Book of Wool (Potter Craft, 2009). It's an intelligent book, and the pattern is attractive--obviously that's why I wanted to make it. However...its cable design is mistakenly charted (I hope accidentally) in reverse, so I can assure you, it doesn't look anything like the photos. After starting and stopping and ripping more times than I care to mention, I realized what the problem was. By then, though, I'd lost my appetite for the knitting the danged thing.

Time out, time out, time out!

Deep breath.

At least this is a fixable problem, and maybe there will come a time when I want to give the pattern another try. More aggravating is the "Magic Mitten Gloves" pattern from The Knitters Bible: Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton (David and Charles, 2006). (May I suggest the name be changed to "The Magic Is Totally Missing Gloves"?)

I began this project last February, thinking its small size would make it ideal for airport ennui when I went to San Francisco that month. Alas, I had to put it away after a certain point to protect myself from tantrumitis, and even when returning to it some months later with great determination and a fully open mind, I gave up just too often.

This is because the measurements and instructions for the fingers are completely loony. You knit up the fingers and their placement looks a little odd, and you try the fingers on and your digits are in deep discomfort because they're being forced into some weirdly twisted arrangement, the result of the width of the mitt being too small to accommodate all the finger pieces. Then you reread the pattern and rip out the fingers and start again and after all that it still looks and fits the same. (Dealing with patterns like this activates terrible memories of high school trigonometry homework, I must confess.) And finally you realize that unless your hands are seriously deformed, there's no way these babies will ever be comfortable, because whoever designed the pattern was probably taking measurements from a Gumby instead of a human being.

Yet I also loved the idea of the pattern, with its pop top that covers the fingertips and forms a mitten at the discretion of the wearer--that's the reason I bought the book, actually--and so I have determined to frog the fingers and just knit the top. This is sad because in an ideal world the fingers actually are a delightful element of the pattern, and without them it will be a lesser design.

But, sigh, I shall not attempt this soon; not until next year. The remainder of 2009 will be spent knitting items that do not violate my comfort zone.


  1. I am so, so sorry about that error! It was truly one of those mistakes you think could never happen because it's so obvious. And yet it has.

    On a positive note, I actually like the way the mitts look when you knit them according to the chart. But as you said, it won't look like the picture.

    Again, my sincere apologies. The full errata are here:

    Happy New Year to you,


  2. Thanks, Clara. I'll send you a photo when I'm finished knitting them, um, in a while.

    And happy new year to you, too.

    All best, selma