My knitting has hit a snag

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Have I mentioned that I learn everything the hard way? I must have. I say that a lot. Because it’s true.

I have been knitting for about three years. Don’t let that sound too impressive – that just means that I have owned the materials and books for three years. In that time I have completed (mind you that’s nowhere near the same thing as “worked on”) three projects. Three. A pair of fingerless mittens I’ve never worn, and two baby gifts.

When my recent illness (more on that in some other post) nailed me to the couch for two and a half weeks I figured I’d finally pick up what I hoped would be project number four: a simple, boxy cardigan from a vintage pattern book. It took me the first two weeks just to finish the back. I was a third of the way through the left front when I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn. Oops! Oh, well, not the end of the world. If I was to end up with two dye lots I figured I’d just split them creatively to make it less obvious – you know, do the back and fronts from the first batch and the arms from the second batch. The color was a few seasons old and had been phased out. It was pulled from the line-up recently, though, so even if they don’t have it at the local craft store there’s plenty online. So I go to the library to check on prices.

While there I decided to check out some purling videos. It takes me more than twice as long to complete a purled row as it does to complete a knitted row, so I want to know if there is a better way to hold my work or the yarn or both. I went to KnittingHelp.com, which, as the name implies, has been a great help to me in the past. I start the beginner’s purling video and in a few seconds I can feel my heart sinking. This doesn’t look at all like what I’ve been doing. I poke around the internet a few minutes more and discover the awful truth: I am not purling correctly. I learned from a book and must have been impatient (as usual) and didn’t pay enough attention. For three years I have been putting my needle through the stitch under the back leg instead of the front, twisting every purl. Which explains a) why it takes me so long to purl (I’m fighting the stitch instead of working with it) and b) why my stockinette “V”s look lopsided no matter how I adjust my tension. I know this doesn’t make any sense and probably isn’t very interesting to non-knitters, but you can see what I mean here. The third picture shows what my work looks like: one side of the V falls in a gentle curve, the other is pulled taut, and daylight occasionally shows through.

(Deep sigh) Thanks for letting me vent. Kntting really is a useful homesteading skill. Really!

— Amanda

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