One Step Up, Two Steps Back

It shouldn’t be surprising; it’s the story of my life these days. I’d show you a new picture of Ariann, but really, just look at yesterday’s picture because it looks EXACTLY the same. But, yet, I knit for hours and hours and hours yesterday. Behold: A Cautionary Tale.

Ariann is no doubt a great knit. If this sucker should fit when I’m through with it I can safely say it may be one of my favorite knits of all time. But I think it’s a challenging knit in some respects. Those dreaded words: increase/decrease within the pattern are going to kill me. When last we saw Ariann, she was speeding along, decreasing up a storm. Raglans are nice in that the rows get shorter and shorter and the knitting gets faster and faster. I was on the phone with my fellow Ariann knitter, Margene, yesterday boasting about how much work I was getting done when I remembered that my row gauge was off and my beautiful decreases were probably not going to work so well. Margene encouraged me to take it off the needles and try it on to see how the underarms were doing. I did and cried for ten minutes because it’s small across the bust. Then I remembered my beautiful swatch and took that out and measured it and measured it again and reminded myself that I washed it and it grew and everything will be okay with the sweater. (Please let everything be okay with the sweater. This sweater HAS to fit.)

I redid the measurements with help from Ann and started back on the decreases. Then I forgot one and had to rip back. (One thing about the Cascade – I can’t fix mistakes without ripping because the loops get so stretched out when I try to reknit them nice and tight without ripping – drives me crazy!) Then I knit back. Then I figured out I had messed up two yos and I had to rip back again. By this time I had knit for hours and hours and I realized that something was VERY wrong with the decreases – I was actually INCREASING stitches everytime I did a DECREASE. Magic, no? What I wasn’t paying attention to was that there are mirrored increases and decreases in the stitch pattern. I had decreased out a decrease, but by still knitting in pattern, I was INCREASING every right side row. And since I had added rows to compensate for my row gauge, I was making the freaking sweater BIGGER instead of smaller!!! After hours and hours and hours of knitting, I had to go back and rip down to one of the first few decreases to get things back on track. I managed to knit back to where I started yesterday – maybe even a bit further row wise because of the added rows, but I’ve still got a lot to go.

Of course, all of these problems showed up right after I said I wanted to finish it for Saturday. I found out yesterday that I’m going to see The Nutcracker on Saturday with my sister and her two oldest and I thought how perfect! I can wear my new sweater! Isn’t that always the way? Hopefully some decent progress pictures tomorrow.


  1. Oh, no! So sorry to hear about your Ariann woes. That must be frustrating. I hope that everything is straightened out now and progress is trucking along.

  2. Oh, how frustrating! I always get caught up in that multitasking thing and make so many mistakes! Sometimes it’s so annoying.

  3. It is frustrating, but when you’re finished you’ll have a sweater you can wear! I’ll watch for the increasing/decreasing problem when I get there. Thanks for plowing ahead. XOXO

  4. Sneaky decreases. Funny – I always want patterns to just tell me what’s going to go on, like “decrease in pattern,” without bothering with the line-by-line. But then, without the line-by-line to follow, I screw it up. Or I just talk smack to the pattern: “What the hell are you talking about, ‘repeat until 8 inches’ 8 inches of what? You are so full of shit! ‘continue until 6 stitches’ – what 6 stitches? What are you doing to me?”
    I’m just trying to say, I’m with ya. And congrats on getting it back to where you were, but better. I wouldn’t put it past you to finish it for the Nutcracker. No pressure.

  5. It’s so frustrating when you feel like you’re making no progress. I hope now that you’ve figured it out things will move forward quickly.

  6. How frustrating! But you figured out what was going on and fixed it, so that is great. It will be a beautiful sweater.

  7. That sweater is probably truly ‘blessed’ by now.

  8. Hang in there! I’m starting my Nantucket Jacket (cover of current IK) for the third time due to gauge issues/size issues/design issues. I *hope* I have it figured out this time, but I will rip again if needed. I want a sweater I LOVE, not just one I kinda sorta like.

  9. Ah, the knits of Sisyphus. I had one of those recently. There is nothing worse than getting back to where you were before ripping back, then noticing another mistake further down. You have my full sympathy. I eventually triumphed, and I have no doubt that you will do the same.

  10. I am so sorry to hear you’re in knitting hell. Put on some garlic, drink some wine and here’s to getting past that part FAST.

  11. That totally sucks! Hubbo hates it when I have to frog – he’s worried I’m gonna blow – but normally I don’t mind. Once or twice. But after that, my blood starts boiling just a little. Then a little more.
    I just try to keep in mind that I just get to do more of what I enjoy (isn’t that a Zimmermanism?).

  12. Knits don’t have feelings, but it’s like I said the other day: so whaddya do with the feelings you have for the knits! (thinking…thinking…) ~bonnie

  13. sometimes I don’t blog stuff I am knitting because as soon as I do somehow I don’t have the urge to work on it anymore. So odd!

  14. i had the SAME problem when I got to the raglan decreases and knit merrily for about 4 inches before realizing that it was NOT getting smaller across the shoulders and front – so i ripped all the way back to the joining of the sleeves (SIGH) and started over = being very careful to watch those pattern increases – a little tricky.
    mine is done EXCEPT that the sleeves are TOO LONG cause i made them longer (silly me) its a bit tight across the hips but i am happy to hear from so many others that it relaxes in blocking.
    my dilemma is whether to redo the bottom of the sleeves length before i block – and i want to wear mine on Sunday…. sigh

  15. That is crazy. I feel your pain. You would think that the more I knit and the more ‘expert’ I think I am, the less ripping I would do, but the knitting time/expertise to ripping seems to be directly rather than inversely proportional.
    At the very least, you know that when you finish, it will be correct, and it will fit!

  16. I hate when that happens. Especially when you give yourself a “Debut Deadline” and things don’t work out as planned.

  17. ACK! Oh, it feels like being Sisyphus, doesn’t it?
    You can do it, Cara!! If anyone can get that baby off the needles by Saturday, it’s you!

  18. ahh, the Nutcracker. It used to be THE event of the year for me when I was a littlie. Even if you don’t finish Arianne, don’t you have one or two gorgeous Diamond Fantasy Shawls tucked away somewhere that would be a perfect accessory to a ballet?! : )

  19. Big cyber hug for your woes!!

  20. OMG! A SUPER HUGE HUG for you, my dear. I feel your pain! There IS a lot going on in the last third of Ariann – but YOU CAN DO THIS!

  21. is it possible for knitting juju to be contagious??

  22. Oh man! I’m so sorry about that. Those raglan decreases gave me fits too. I think I spent as much time ripping as I did knitting!
    Yours is going to be gorgeous though. I know it!