Sep 6

Ack!

Posted by Nanc

For the love of all that good and holey*, WHY?!

Let me state for the record that I am not a pattern-reader. Oh sure, I know how to read a pattern and follow directions just fine. But I do not possess the talent to simply read some knitting gibberish and innately understand how each stitch works with the others to create the final product. I cannot fathom that finished object without a clever picture or sketch.

And while we’re at it, I really like my instructions to … well, instruct. Give me directions. Tell me when to do what and how. If a certain method of casting on, binding off, or seaming gave you the style shown (IF SHOWN!), then for monkeys’ sake tell us!

All that? Just to prepare you for a sad realization that knocked me for a loop this afternoon.

*In the knitting world, it seems that “holey” would have more influence than “holy” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Picture this: I am feeling happy and good and I’m at a LYS. (No naming names now.) (Damn, I’m not even entertained by that alliteration.) I’m purchasing my last gift for the pal I’m spoiling in SP5, and wow – is it a doozy. In a good way. IMHO, it’s a total spoil gift. So I’m feeling good enough that I decide to spoil myself!

See – I’ve been eyeballing this purse that is knitted up as a sample in this LYS. It looks simple enough: not felted or odd angles or anything. A basic square-bottom, one strap bag in yummy cotton. Araucania Patagonia Nature Cotton in #206 – a lovely, cushy multi-colored, thick n’ thin cotton in purples. Just dreamy. And bonus: the pattern is free!

And I’m chatting up my friendly LYS pal. Oh, yes – she’s made this bag. In fact, she knit the store sample plus two for her own closet. And her mom is working on one for herself right now! Well, super. I’m assured that three skeins (105 yds each) is enough to knit this bag up, which is perfect ’cause that’s the last of their purple batch! Yay. She gets me the pattern as I pay the cashier and out I go.

And although the sun was bright and I guarantee you that it was hot that day, there must have been a foreboding chill in the air as I stepped out those doors.

At home, I glance over this one page, front and back pattern and think to myself, “I’ll have me a new bag by this weekend, no doubt!” (Actually, I probably debated the guilt of knitting this instead of Bonez’s ManSocks.) That first hank o’ yarn gave me a fit winding it up, but no problem. I have patience for good yarns. And I start a-knittin’.

Hmmm… this seems a bit loose/open to my untrained eye. So I check the pattern. Well, the pattern is written for a different yarn and it mentions (only in passing) that this other yarn is carried with two strands together. So I go online and lookup the gauge/size of the original yarn. Oh. It’s about the same as the Patagonia cotton. No prob! I wasn’t that far in that ripping back and starting over is not an issue.

Another funny thing with this pattern is that it states to use circs and to knit all stitches to create stockinette stitch. Okay, I follow that it just fine. But then it has you knit each side (front, back, and two sides) separate, which means flat. So… ?

I just shake my head a bit and continue on, knitting each piece flat but following the instructions otherwise to the “T.” Until… well, once each side is knit (and the stitches on holders), you join them all in the round and knit four rows. Which worked out fine (I thought) until it gets to the part about shaping for the straps. Unless I knit inside-out (or outside-in) and I went the in the wrong direction when I joined them together, the straps are misplaced. They’re not centered in the front and back of the bag, but offset into the sides.

Now here’s the thing about my trust in patterns. I continue to follow this just fine. I’m okay with offset straps. Don’t bother me none. I don’t need items to be even or in twos or the same distance from each other. So I keep on a-knittin’.

By now, I’ve taken this out with me to a knit nite so that all my gal pals could ogle and fondle and laugh with me at the silly, poorly written pattern. At this point the errors on knitting the straps were just fodder for the follies. Oh, what fun. What a good time. Ha ha ha.

But this is where the fun ends. Back when I realized that I would need to carry two strands together while knitting, I double-checked the required yardage: short (420 yds). I would need one more skein. And it just so happened that I stopped by another LYS the day before (didn’t buy anything, I swear) and saw that they had just gotten some of this yarn in. And in the purples, ta’ boot! Yay. A few hours were spent this Labor(less) Day in the company of fine women and luscious yarns (not necessarily in that order). These girls helped me affirm that I would need two skeins more, not just one, to finish the bag straps. And that’s okay with me.

So yesterday I worked hard to finish the straps and seam up all the sides (er, this was not even mentioned in the pattern!) And seaming I did! Two strands carried at once? On four separate pieces? Oh-my, the sewing in of ends. [sigh] While seaming and sewing and whatnot, I watched some TV. And I day dreamed of the next step: finding a fetching fabric to line the insides. Something that would match both the purples and browns in this yarn.

Well, I don’t necessary use a bright light (or pay much attention apparently) while knitting and watching TV. (Don’t want a glare on the screen.) So this didn’t come to my attention until this afternoon. What’s “this” you ask? THIS.

The two skeins picked up at the second LYS were more lilac-y, bluesy purple as compared to the pinky purpley of the first three skeins. And it is totally noticeable! And if that weren’t enough, now that I got the sides and bottom of the bag seamed up, the wonky, off-kilter straps annoy the heck outta me! They’re skewed in a way that makes the purse a burden to use or secure. ARGHHH

Vannakin wanted nothing to do with this.

I’ll let the picture speak for itself. I’ve used Harry Potter books #3 & 4 to show the bag’s shaping. I didn’t get ALL of the ends sewn in, there’s still a mess at the bottom. So let me ask you: should I rip this out? If yes (which is what I’m thinking, but cringing ’cause of all those sewed in ends), then do I rip to just the straps and realign them with the front and back, or rip it all? Mix the different shades together (a-hem, “blending” the colors) and redo the whole thing. And if I do the later, I’m totally rewriting the pattern TO MAKE FRIGGIN’ SENSE! In the mean while, I’ll be working on my penance, er… Matty’s socks.

5 Responses to “Ack!”

  1. Pamelalala Says:

    Wow, that really sucks. I mean really! The Squid and I discussed it and decided you need to rip it all out (it’s ok, Squid will hold your hand the whole way) and make it your own! Whip out a can of whoop-ass on that bag and show it who’s boss! Rewrite that pattern the correct way and flog the LYS pal that led you astray! We love you!

  2. Brooke Says:

    Yep, the gift was a doozy! Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much your gifts lifted my spirits while I have been going through so much crap at work.

    I’m really sorry that this bag is such a pissant. I agree that you should rip it out and do it in a way that makes sense. How about holding one of the light colored strands with one of the darker strands to reduce the difference in colors? Maybe knit the bottom in two strands of the darker color where you won’t notice the difference so much and is more prone to getting dirty anyway.

    Isn’t it funny how we don’t listen to ourselves even when things are clearly going wrong? I hate it when I do that. What a pain!

  3. chris Says:

    I agree with the above. Rip, reorganize (one strand of each color together, to minimize the difference), and rewrite the pattern. It shouldn’t be that hard with such a simple shape, and then it’s YOUR design! I’ve got some ideas how it could be done with minimal headache. And I would give some feedback to your LYS pal (no, not the sack-full-of-doorknobs kind, but the constructive kind) about the pattern and the yarn requirements.

  4. mk Says:

    I’m sorry…I have to agree with the good advice that you have already been given. Take it slow…unweave ends one day. Rip out next day. Figure out pattern on the day after. Start to knit. It will be done and beautiful before you know it.

    Hugs.

  5. aubyn Says:

    having watched you go through this i send my sympathies but agree with all the above-it is a beautiful yarn and it would be a shame to let it languish in a project you don’t like

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