4 years ago

I'm not really a strict constructionist when it comes to following knitting patterns.  I usually work from a pattern, rather than freeform, but I modify them heavily.  I like to do everything in the round where possible; I enjoy modifying things for size; and I almost never use the yarn and often don't use the weight called for.  Still, a lot of my modifications involve me hanging around Ravelry, techknitter, or google searching for help figuring out how to make knitting do what I want it to.  To borrow Elizabeth Zimmerman's term, I'm not really an unventer.  I'm a bit too cautious and, even though I've tried a lot of different kinds of knitting over the last few years, I don't feel like I have the experience to throw the knitting rules to the wind.  However, this week I did a little unventing, and I'm pretty excited about it.

It didn't start off with excitement, though.  It started with frustration and failure.  I've been working on a mystery project, which I've alluded to here -- the one that involves a lot of i-cord.  The pattern is not all that I hoped it would be -- some parts are pretty unclear.  Unfortunately, I've been having a pretty stressful week and some parts of my brain are unclear too.  Because of that lack of clarity, I made my first big mistake, which led to my first big unvention.

The pattern didn't include instructions for joining the back piece to the two front pieces under the arms.  Because I forgot that it was supposed to be a coat, I attached all around and started knitting in the round.  I was nearly finished with the length of the coat when I realized that I had made a pullover instead of something that could be buttoned.  I knew steeking wouldn't work with my superwash yarn and I really didn't have it in me to rip and start over.  So I decided that it would be a pullover.  The problem?  In addition to regular i-cord like I've done before, this pattern includes an i-cord bind-off, which was a new technique to me.  It's really cool and I had a lot of fun learning it.  But it was supposed to be used up the sides of the coat and around the collar.  My coat had no sides.

Still determined not to rip, though, I got to unventing.  And look!  I figured out how to do i-cord up the center of stockinette knitting!


I followed the instructions for the i-cord bind-off, but added in picking up a stitch.  So, first I picked up a stitch from the stockinette section.  Then I moved the three stitches from my i-cord back over to the holding needle (probably your left, my right because I knit left-handed).  I knit the first two stitches, knit the last two (the third stitch plus the one I picked up) together through the back loop, and then started over by picking up a new fourth stitch.  It went perfectly!

Last night I had my second major screw-up, leading to my second round of extreme modification.  At the shoulder seam I was supposed to increase 3 stitches to 9.  I forgot to do it and made it about 10 rows before I realized that I had messed up again.  I'm honestly so over this pattern at this point (even though this was all my fault and had nothing to do with the pattern), so I couldn't bear the thought of ripping out the rows.  Instead, I dropped just those stitches.  I used the normal method for picking up dropped stitches, but, I added a twist.  I joined a second ball of yarn and used that to increase my 3 stitches to 9 and to keep knitting and purling those 6 new stitches back up the 10 rows. It actually worked!  I had no reason to expect that to work, but it did.

Unventing is kind of fun!

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