I need to apologize to all of my loyal readers that I have gone for such a long time without a post – school, work and the play converged upon me and sucked my time into some void that involved five days in Toronto with almost no sleep (although some amazing friends), re-writing big chunks of my thesis discussion with no notice to keep a committee member happy, and learning how to control light and sound boards. To top it off, I’m now sick (anyone probably could have seen that one coming – imune systems prefer at least an iota of rest) and I need to write my student’s midterm exam for tomorrow. But enough about the chaos – I write today with very exciting news – I am a comic!
The Knit Princess is this amazing comic produced by Allison Sarnoff and Melody Moore – two fun-loving girls who find themselves surrounded by yarn and cats. Their comic comes out online and in book form. For anyone who knits they are a must to follow – their comics are painfully true and very funny – plus they’re cute.
A little while ago they asked their readers to send in knitting horror stories for a contest they were running. From the stack of entries they received they selected four finalists to turn into comics (one released each Monday of October). At the end of the month they will post a poll so their readers can determine the grand prize winner. And (as you may have guessed by now from the title of this blog post) the story I sent them was selected as one of the four finalists, and my very own Knit Princess cartoon is now up online!
You can find it here this week (you should also check out some of their past comics and the other 3 finalists as their comics arrive in the next three weeks): http://www.knitprincess.com/ (and I’ll make sure to let you all know at month’s end when the poll to decide the winner has been posted). I’ve also included both my horror story and an image of the comic below. Enjoy!
The Day I Learned to Count – Tale of Knitting Horror Finalist #1
My mother is one of those superhero knitters who can whip up a super intricate lace knit shawl while teaching a beginner to purl, watching So You Think You Can Dance, and keeping my father under control (not an easy feat on its own). I am not one of those knitters.
Early on in my knitting career I felt I had finally reached the point where I could branch out from scarves and tackle something a little more challenging. I picked a pattern for a beautiful blanket in a sea of blues made by knitting two skeins of yarn together – a big chunky fleece and a delicate loopy mohair. The pattern was a very simple lace pattern (a repetition of knit1, yarn over, knit 2 together) and called for huge needles. I figured it would be fast and easy and would provide me with the confidence to branch out to more complex projects. My mother agreed with the caveat of “as long as you count your stitches”.
This is the moment where I should admit a personal flaw – I hate counting stitches – in fact, I hate counting, period (in sixth grade my piano teacher threatened to stop teaching me because of my stubborn refusal to count). And so, although I promised to count (and I did occasionally), it was more like every 10 rows, not every row. When I first counted I felt justified in my continued stubbornness to not heed my mother’s warning – after 20 rows I still had the right number of stitches on my needles – obviously there was nothing to worry about. I didn’t count again until something started to look wrong (the blanket was a starting to appear more triangular than rectangular) and I discovered I had a lot more stitches than I was supposed to. I had picked up stitches throughout the work when the two yarns would split apart or when I had simply not been paying enough attention.
I wasn’t experienced enough to know how to fix the mistakes at that point, and I was absolutely loathe to rip it out, which in retrospect would have been the only way to save me from the disaster that followed. So, I did the only thing that seemed logical to me at that moment. I decreased, slowly, a few stitches each row, convincing myself that it wouldn’t be that noticeable. And to add ridiculousness to pure folly, I still didn’t count very often. You may be feeling that this is starting to sound like a fatal flaw ascribed to a character in a Shakespearean drama – the one personal trait that if only our hero could have overcome the resulting tragedy would never have ensued – and you would be right.
When I finally cast the damn thing off my needles and really stood back to consider what I had done even the eternal optimist in me had to close her eyes and wince. The only words I have ever found to describe the monstrosity are “polygonal”, as it doesn’t form any recognized shape in the English language. And the moment when I had to show my face at my parent’s house to get my mother’s help to try and salvage my mess through some very ambitious blocking felt a little bit like the Inquisition.
Luckily there is always a moral to these sorts of stories – I do count my stitches now – at least more often – and I’m not opposed to ripping something out – when I have to. And my mother – well let’s just say I expect to always be reminded to count my stitches.