What is the one thing you should never do when you make a completely idiotic knitting mistake? Post your question to the knitlist where over 10,000 knitters will have the opportunity to point out your stupidity and you will wake to a mailbox full of gingerly phrased suggestions that you read the entire pattern.
So I'm knitting the Ballet Neck Cardigan by Annie Modesitt. Now before I go any further, let me say that I've been knitting for over 30 years, and generally, know what I'm doing. Right. It only goes to show you that you are NEVER too old or experienced to make ridiculously idiotic mistakes and then repeat them endlessly in a hopelessly unstoppable loop which seriosly feels like the ninth circle of Hell, oh wait, it's just that the wood stove has gone out and the house is freezing. Note to self: Put more wood on BEFORE sitting down to knit.
I knit the first six rows, no problemo. Then, I'm reading the pattern and watching a movie (how hard can this be, it's a movie I've seen before and a simple lace pattern). Five rows in, I discover a major error. I've left out a bunch of YO's and the pattern looks like a plate of spaghetti. Stop. Sigh, Rip. One of the things I always tell beginning knitters is to STOP KNITTING AS SOON AS YOU SEE A MISTAKE! I tell them that in knitting, the error grows exponentially, just like in engineering measurements. But the key to that advice is that you actually have to look at the knitting while you're knitting it. Right.
So I rip and start again. I get through the first bobble row and turn to purl back. What's this? A MISSING BOBBLE! How in the name of the Ford Fairlane did that happen? Let me guess; I was watching another movie. Okay. So I rip back to the pearl row beneath the bobble and fix the problem. All clear - right? Wrong.
I keep looking at the edge of the sweater and since there's only one garter stitch, the thing is curling like, well, a stockinette edge. This can't be right, I think to myself, STILL not reading the pattern all the way through. The pattern must be wrong. Annie is off her proverbial rocker and those people over at IK Knits have failed to set her back to rights. So I call my daughter. She doesn't have the pattern in front of her, but suggests that I read the free download version as opposed to the version in my older magazine as there may be an update I missed. So I look, and the download version is the same as the magazine version.
Still, I don't read the pattern all the way through. I'm very unhappy with the way the selvage edges look. I experiment with crocheting an edge which actually looks lovely, but I'm still not satisfied. I decide to write the knitlist for help. And instead of waiting patiently for a response, what do I do? Yep, you guessed it, I rip the thing back down to the garter rows. There, I tell myself, that's better, I'm just going to knit all the edge stitches in a garter stitch. So instead of waiting for an answer from 10,000+ knitlisters, I knit another four rows, and like a good girl, I put the knitting down to watch La Vie En Rose (which was wonderful by the way).
Fast forward to this morning. Every other email in my box is from a knitlister gently suggesting that perhaps I might consider reading the pattern all the way though, at which point I'll discover that I'm to pick up and knit garter bands on both selvedge edges....
I have to rip out, for the fourth time, the Ballet Neck Cardigan. I have never had to rip anything as many times, well unless you count the feather and fan socks which drove me to distraction until someone on socknitters kindly suggested I use stitch markers, as this sweater. I sincerely hope that it''s gorgeous when it's done.
The Moral: Gosh, there are so many I don't know where to start. But how about this; READ THE PATTERN ALL THE WAY THROUGH NO MATTER HOW MANY YEARS YOU'VE BEEN KNITTING AND NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU THINK YOU ARE. Sheesh.