Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Toe-Up Love and Dealbreakers




The third time has been the charm with the toe-up experience. The two-part class ended on Tuesday and it was so much fun. Our instructor Cynthia from Stitch Your Art Out near State College (one of our many fine LYSs in Central PA) has so much patience and did an excellent job of hooking us up with the new technique. Because I was late I ran out the door and distractedly grabbed a ball of yarn from my stash. I thought that it was some Claudia's Hand Painted that I had purchased at her store many months ago, but when I got home I realized that instead it was some Sundara (oops, sorry Cynthia! I didn't mean to be the jackass that brings outside yarn to the class). As you can see it is heavenly and pure perfection...


In any relationship there are points of contention that are so strong that they indeed become insurmountable and as such constitute dealbreakers. Luckily for my husband none of my charming traits like buying really expensive French shampoo and then throwing the not-even half used bottle out several months later to make room for more French shampoo isn't a dealbreaker. Likewise for me his strong need to dig through the trash in an effort to bust me and castigate me for my profligate ways isn't one either. (I think it's kind of cute, actually.) But were I to discover for example that he secretly thought all gay people were going to hell or that he actually preferred Miracle Whip to real mayonnaise...well, that my friends would be the end of the line.
It occurs to me that the concept is applicable to that other major relationship in my life, knitting. (Of course with your own kids there is no such thing as a dealbreaker--you're in it come hell or high water, right?). With certain projects that are some mistakes that are 'fudgeable' as Cynthia the toe-up sock guru says, meaning that if you find yourself a bit off, you pick up a stitch and move one. Not a big deal. Please, it's the bottom of the heel, and they're just socks for Chrissakes...And then there are errors that are annoying enough that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can't live with them. You must rip them/fix them/make them go away asap. Not remedying them is not even a thinkable thought. They are dealbreakers. However the problem here is one of adjudication-- knowing in the heat of the moment which it's going to be is the real issue.


Thursday afternoon I cast on for the Katharine Hepburn cardigan from Lace Style. I've been wanting to try my hand at this for months as I am a cable fiend and strongly attracted to the chic retro style of the pattern. I have also been itching to use some recently acquired Louet Gems. Casting on took f-o-r-e-v-e-r (counting over and over made me feel like a character in a Beckett play) and let's not even talk about the set-up row. When I finally got beyond the first cable row (3 hours later as I had to pause for cocktails, a lengthy phone conversation with my brother in which we discussed how much we were looking forward to Paris Hilton going to jail, cobbling together a dinner which involved copious amounts of frozen vegetables, and wielding the threat of no television for the foreseeable future unless the kiddie-winkies practiced their various instruments), I realized that I had done a left-twist cable on the second half of the back. Stinkbaskets! Yes I was supremely annoyed, but I knew with absolute certainty that there was NO WAY I was ripping back to fix the problem. This was most definitely not a dealbreaker. Now if I were to discover that my gauge were massively off, or that there were fundamental errors in the entire pattern, it would be another story entirely. But as it turns out, the five misbegotten cables are no big deal to this slacker knitter. But I am sure that for many of you persnickety types, this would be an untenable situation. That's cool, no judgement (hehe)... I am wondering what constitutes a dealbreaker for you? How do you know when to say when? What can you live with, and what can't you stand?

28 comments:

Romi said...

Hee. When I cast on large numbers of stitches, I always put a stitch marker every 10 or 20 stitches. Then when I get constant interruptions, I always know where I am. *g*

To fix a cable, you can ladder down, btw. I have a tutorial on my blog:

http://tinyurl.com/2p3hzy

Dealbreaker in knitting. That's tough. I'm pretty picky. I always repair things, but I usually find ways to do it that involve as little ripping as possible. ;)

Dealbreaker in a person? Cruelty.

Melissa said...

The yarn is awesome. I want to learn the toe up method, but maybe later.

Dealbreaker in knitting? Not really sure

In a person? Intolerable and impatient

Nora said...

Oh, that was funny - especially the cocktails and conversation with the brother!

About a year ago, I'd fix every single error! Now, it has to be right in the middle of a sweater before I'd even consider ripping back.

Trust me, we're the only ones who'll notice.

kim said...

Wouldn't it be funny if Paris learns to knit in jail and starts a knitting blog?

I have to dig down and fix cables that go the wrong way. Otherwise, I keep going and hope no one notices my mistakes. Or, if they do, I hope that they aren't crass enough to mention it.

Sonya said...

Paris in jail; makes me chuckle every time I think of it. Too bad she isn't taking the rest of her ilk with her.

I have to say, I have more dealbreakers now than when I started knitting. I used to continue forward motion regardless of errors. Now I'll go back and fix a lot more often.

5elementknitr said...

I can't stand it not being right. It's the only part of my life where I'm even remotely anal. If only I were this particular about a clean house.

I've been known to redo ENTIRE projects because of a mistake that I don't know how to fix. It would be easier (and less costly) to just get a lesson where I learn how to fix it but I am too impatient.

The Harlot and January One both have cool ideas about how to fix cables. Not that you wanted to know.

I don't fixate on the missed cables of others. Too each there own. I know me well enough to realize that when someone complimented me on my handiwork I'd say something stupid like, "Yea but look here at this one stitch I screwed up."
I'm lame!

Laura said...

I'd say that major gauge/sizing problems are my dealbreaker, but we all know that I have completed projects that OBVIOUSLY were not going to fit me. (cough, Simple Knitted Bodice, cough)

I cannot wait to use the word "stinkbaskets" myself. As my inlaws are visiting this weekend, I anticipate that I will at least say it under my breath.

sophanne said...

That cable early on would be a deal breaker for me- and reading a tutorial on how to fix it would not happen. I'd feel like I'd started with bad karma. On the other hand, the same cable discovered in the middle of the thing as I begin to cast off, not a deal breaker. I wish finishing were a deal breaker. Then all that time I spent wouldn't look like crap in the end.

In life- the deal breaker is self-aggrandizing self-abosrption. I shudder even writing that.

-excellent blog question- I look forward to more comments!

uberstrickenfrau said...

Oh my, I'm such a poser when I knit, I use to think I was all that till I started reading blogs and then EEEPP. I suck. I more than likey do every frickin thing wrong when I knit, but I just keep on doin it! the only thing that pops into my mind about deal breaking with humans are those who keep tellin you what 'high' IQs they have and how everything is soooo ridiculously easy for 'em. May they all burn in hell at MIT.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Hmmm if it's going to fit funny that's a deal breaker. Otherwise I'm fairly easygoing.

In people, not a big fan of control freaks or drama queens!

Knitting Bandit said...

I'm more with you...I tend to fudge it or look the other way. Usually it works out for me. I'm not the most observant person so I'd never see it in anyone else's knitting. Though there have been a few times, I've looked the other way and now it's all I see when I look at the F.O. SO I'm ret-thinking my disrespect for perfection.

Faith! said...

This is why knitters are my favorite people! Wonderful post!

Yarnhog said...

In life: a sports fan. Don't get me started on our screwed up priorities when some ball-playing criminal with an IQ of 3 makes millions and my kids' teachers can't afford to live within 50 miles of the school where they spend 10 hours a day, teaching the next generation. Or how about the city paying millions and millions for a new stadium, when we haven't had a downtown library for years? It annoys me enough that I boycott professional sports; there is no way I could handle a spouse who sits on his butt for hours every weekend, watching baseball/football/basketball/lawn bowling...

In knitting: well, yeah, I'm compulsive enough that those miscrossed cables would have to come out.

amanda cathleen said...

hehehe Mike likes Miracle whip and I like real mayonnaise! I honestly don't know how he can stand it. For me a deal breaker has to be so obvious the guy riding a horse at night doubles back to check out how bad the situation really is. Remember the brown sweater, goodness I screwed that one up and waited till the last minute to kill that one.

Lazuli said...

I agree with you on this one; I would have kept going, too. I think for me it's when I'm knitting lace and there's a definite pattern that starts to look crooked. That's when I go back and fix it. If it's just one or two stitches, well, then I might not, but if the entire motif starts to look really wonky, then that's not so good. Most of the time - barring the type of major issue you mention - I'd rather just keep going. Onward and upward!

pamela wynne said...

Great post! I think what counts as a dealbreaker for me definitely depends on how far back it happened, how massive a pain in the ass it will be to fix, and how obvious the flub will be if I don't. :)

anna said...

i definitely feel where you're coming from regarding the deal breakers. ESPECIALLY with cables. i learned how to unknit a cabled mistake while knitting my first cabled project, so it'll be painful to do, but you'll be much happier with the finished project, i promise!

i LOVE that sock yarn. i have yet to get me some of that sundara, dagnabit. definitely up next on my "to obtain" list! and isn't toe up just marvelous? definitely my cup of tea (though i'll alternate between that and cuff down just to break up the sock knitting monotony every once in awhile).

schrodinger said...

Love the color of that yarn. Most importantly, I'm happy for you learning the toe up method - how satisfying is that?

tiennie said...

I usually leave any errors unless they are truly awful and obvious, otherwise it's frog-city we go!

K. said...

First of all, I have to tell you that when I heard that a certain useless highschool dropout was going to jail, I jumped up and down and squealed with joy.

As for a dealbreaker... If I decide it is going to look like crap, I will rip it. If I can get out of ripping by just dropping down stitches, I will go that road. I rarely just give up on a project and completely rip it.

knittingphilistine said...

Your posts are always so teeming with information! (and gorgeous photos, of course). I do love a thoughtful blogger. ;)

As for deal breakers, for me, it seems to be knitting socks with Lorna's Laces. Hrm, and my sister just donated two skeins to my stash that I must now parlay with. We'll see how *that* goes. I foresee more crankiness to come on my blog. ;)

PS: BEAUTIFUL Sundara socks!!

Jen said...

I would so love to have Sundara sock yarn around so I could accidentally pick it up and knit with it. :) I want a similar color yarn, only I would want the pinks to be mint greens. I really want socks that remind me of Andes Mints... I'm digressing.

Dealbreakers are blatently obvious problems in the front of a sweater. I have and will fudge just about anything else unless it is a gift. I read a how-to on fixing cables about a week ago, and try as I might I couldn't see the problem with the cable in the first place.

Dove Knits said...

Hmm, for me, a dealbreaker varies project to project. When I was making my dad's DNA vest, I discovered that I had been crossing one kink of the DNA in the wrong way. This was not a dealbreaker, because I was on a tight schedule and because it wasn't obvious unless you knew what happened. I never rip back a lace shawl unless I dropped so many stitches that it's impossible for me to figure out the pattern anymore, plus it's hard to see mistakes in lace. I'm ok with socks of slightly different length cuffs.

But I've also ripped back half a sweater for a small mistake, too, so I know I CAN be picky. I'm just usually too tired to be!

Oh, and I'm a big fan of dropping stitches and reknitting just those stitches if I find out I've been kniting a purl stitch or something.

iSeL said...

Dealbreakers? HA! I couldn't even live with the one thing on the bottom of the heel. If I see it, it must go. I just can't get over a mistake that is noticeable (to me). It sucks, actually.

Love the comment about being the jackass who brings foreign yarn into class. Whatever, it's Sundara yarn, for crying out loud. You're forgiven.

Susan Pandorf said...

You are a hoot! I think I'm in love...

Lone Knitter said...

I love your toe-ups. So cute, and in my favorite colors. It sounds as if you're having a blast in Kentucky. Good ole blue grass Kentucky. Are you knitting anything blue?

robin said...

Very interesting post - I tend to be quite laissez-faire about mistakes and don't feel the need to pick at my knitting to fix things.

Dealbreakers in life - not too many with my husband - we've been through lots (from both directions) and I am pretty confident we're both going to be around for each other for the long haul no matter what. Dealbreakers with friends? People that blow me off repeatedly when we make plans. People that want to have one way telephone conversations ranting about everything while I'm at work and they're in the car. People who try to tell me how to live my life.

WonderMike said...

Good Questions Heather... Dealbreaker in knitting? Anything with Red Heart or cheap acrylic. Too many painful memories of potholders and toilet roll dollies. Another dealbreaker in knitting crazy 80s intarsia. I know that Kaffe Fasset is a genius and all, but I cannot knit something that requires a microfiche magnifier to see the chart. Dealbreaker in life? Although my friends my disagree with you, I think fundamentalist anything.