On sucking less

The knitting internets have been gathering momentum the past few weeks. There have been countdowns tossed around on Twitter, SQUEE IN ALL CAPS, excitement over packing and things to knit. Rhinebeck approacheth. I am lucky enough to be attending for the 4th year in a row, and it is always a good time with knitterly interaction, much yarn to be fondled…and the wearing of new knitted sweaters.

I’ve had my own sweater identified for quite a while. Ever since I designed Royale back in the spring, I knew I needed to have one of my own. It was a sad, sad day my friends, when I had to give up the sample to Tanis (though less sad for her, admittedly). I cast on for my own back at the end of July during my California trip, during which time there was much airplane knitting and car knitting, and good opportunities to get it started. It’s been a sporadic knit, largely because I keep putting it down to work on other things in between.

And also because I keep royally screwing it up. And for no good reason whatsoever, because I’ve made mistakes on this sweater that are nothing to do with the pattern. The fact that I designed this myself clearly has given me no turf advantage whatsoever. It’s like the yarn and needles got together and said “hah hah, we’ll show her who’s boss.”


For real, folks, I knitted the original sample in 3 weeks. It was awesome. It could not have gone BETTER. But clearly, now that I am working on my own – even starting it during the leisurely dog days of summer – the universe has come along not once but three times to kick me in the shins.

The first time this happened was that I realized, while sitting in Liz’s living room the morning after I had spent 5 hours from Toronto to San Francisco knitting in front of the airplane seat television, that I had in fact cast on for the wrong size. Rookie mistake, which could not be gotten around. I ripped back, and started over.

The second time this happened was back in August, when my subconscious brain somehow allowed me to stop paying attention to the central pattern chart, and I repeated a whole separate chunk of it in a completely unnecessary fashion. Many of you looked at my blog post back then and said “Um, Glenna, I can’t tell. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And it could well be the case that I would wear the sweater out and about and nobody would ever know. But I would know. I envisioned myself wearing the sweater around other knitters and having to either walk with my arms folded over me the whole time, or repeatedly say things like “do you like my sweater? I made it myself! except, don’t pay attention to the huge mistake right above the middle of my ribcage, lalalala. Wow that’s nice yarn over there, let’s talk about that instead.”

So I ripped back another four inches and re-knitted it.


The third time happened a few weeks ago, and I had to spend several moments with the sweater laid out on the couch next to me just staring at it and deciding what was going to happen next. I had neglected that step with using hand-dyed yarn where, in order to avoid severe-looking colour changes when using skeins that look ever so slightly different from each other, you alternate between two skeins for a while until they start to blend. I know how to do this. Heck, I’ve DONE this, many times. I’m pretty sure I’ve even written it down in pattern instructions a few times before. I AM SMARTER THAN THIS. AHAHHAHAH.

I reasoned with myself that maybe it wouldn’t be that obvious in different lights, that maybe people wouldn’t notice…And then my brain finally said “listen. All those other times when you did something sucky, you ripped it out and made the suckiness go away. You’re going to let all of that go to waste by letting the third sucky thing stick around?”
No, no I did not. I ripped it back again.

And now I have most of the body and most of one sleeve, and a week to go before I leave for Rhinebeck, so I’m sincerely hoping that the third time was the charm and that my yarn and needles haven’t got a fourth and fifth mistake session in the works for me. Please, dear sweater, we’ll both be so much happier when I’m wearing you around the knitterly fairgrounds. Deal?


  1. I don’t know if you read the Yarn Harlot’s blog on a regular basis but it would seem she is having similar problems to yours on a sweater she is working ….Hmmm…I wonder what’s up with that?

    Look on the bright side…when you are finished, and you have a gorgeous Royalle on your back, you also have a great story to tell about it.

  2. One thing’s for sure – that yarn is absolutely stunning. I love the depth of color there. And your pattern? I think it will be well worth all the ripping and restarting when you finish it. It’s gorgeous.

  3. I commend you for your dedication to sucking less. You’re going to love the finished sweater. Keep the faith!

  4. Val Champ · ·

    Oh dear…I wonder if its the tail end of Jupiter in Retrograde? I have the pattern for your Lamplight Shawl Glenna, 900 meters of Handmaiden Sea Sillk that was a gift, and seasonal flu.

    I have a whole 2-3 days that I am home and could be knitting and should probably be making dishcloths instead..LOL

    Is it OK to ask a question? Will the silk be too heavy for the shawl? Its 101 grams for 900 meters.

    Enjoy your sweater and Rhinebeck…one of these years I am going to get there.

  5. Elizabeth · ·

    I was chugging along on my Cerisara for Rhinebeck, only to realize I have done the stupidest thing in the world under the sleeves, so I don’t think its going to happen in time. You’re not alone!

    Yay for Rhinebeck – I’ll keep an eye out for you!

  6. Well it sure looks beautimus to me! Though I still understand the need for it to be right and not just “not noticable”. Good luck and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  7. This sounds just like all my sweater knitting escapades. Hang in there, you WILL get it done, and it WILL be fantastic.

  8. Good luck! It definitely needs to be right, if only because you’re the designer. You’ll be the walking ad for it, and you don’t want to have to be wondering if people notice a mistake!

  9. It will all be so worth it in the end! Good for you for sticking to your guns and getting it done right. I’m not sure I would have the strength to do the same. Your sweater is looking totally awesome so far by the way.

  10. >> Please, dear sweater, we’ll both be so much happier when I’m wearing you around the knitterly fairgrounds. Deal?<<

    Last time I was at Rhinebeck it was about 80 degrees, heres hoping for frost…

  11. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
    Since we all know your incredible awesomeness, we all know this will get completed and you can bask in knitterly envy when wearing this sweater!
    ps: i’ts so pretty!

  12. LOVE the yarn, with its subtle watermark pooling and the way it makes those bitty little cables stand up. Gorgeous color.

    I totally get why you’ve ripped back, and ripped back, and ripped back. I do that with my sewing, especially my own stuff, even though I think no one else will ever notice. We do that stuff for ourselves, because WE will know and it will bother us.

    That sweater is going to be just delicious. 🙂

  13. Oh, I hope it works out! And I hope I see you there; my daughter and I are going for our 2nd year in a row.

  14. bluegin6667 · ·

    I love it, could I have a pink one and a blue one please! why oh why didnt I take up knitting years ago!!

  15. oh, can I empathize……………..and all these years I’ve thought I was the only one who was so anal…………………………..

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