The Knitting Fail Chronicles: Issue No. 1

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and plans, you fail. I fail a lot, particularly in life but sometimes in knitting. Enter: The Knitting Fail Chronicles.

I've never really had a forum to discuss my knitting fails and I'm honestly pretty excited about it. It's not that I'm particularly self-deprecating (usually) but I think that the internet, especially social media, often provides this rosy picture of who you are that isn't necessarily 100% representative of reality. For instance, on Ravelry I only post the coolest of the cool things that I've knit. I never post the utter and complete knitting fails of which I've had many, and I think they're important to talk about because no one is perfect and failing is really just a learning tool in the disguise of a seriously over-sized hat. So in the spirit of transparency, the above picture is a hat I knit recently in all of it's unadulterated failness. 

The Six Stages of Knitting Grief

1. Shock and Denial

Even though I didn't swatch for this hat (I know, I know, no one to blame but myself) I did read the notes on just about every Skiff project on Ravelry and half of them said the same thing: this is a HUGE hat and you should go down at least a needle size. So I did, and in my mind I was like, "Problem solved, way to go Sarah." Nope. When I first cast-off, things seemed okay actually. Yes, it's a big hat, but it looked a little big on the model too and it's supposed to be slouchy. So I wore it for a few days and then all of the sudden the problem got way worse... it started to grow. DAMN YOU GRAVITY. So more denial ensues. Yes, I now have a veritable giant-sized hat on my hands but I have a large head for a woman (I'm workin' with a 22" dome while the average woman is a 21") and I'm going to rock this hat no matter what. Then, I couldn't keep it on my head. Still in denial, I continue to sport this thing even though it is barely making contact with my scalp and needs to be adjusted about every two minutes.

2. Anger

This was special yarn. It was a Christmas gift from my dear friend Sophie who lives in Denver: home of Fancy Tiger Crafts which carries the much coveted Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. It took me a long time to commit to a pattern for my two precious skeins and I was really pissed it didn't work out. Normally speaking I might rip out a project like this and re-use the yarn but Shelter is so lightly spun that it breaks easily and I didn't know if the yarn could withstand being knit twice. Plus, I really didn't want to throw away ten hours of cable-work and that tricky circular-tubular-cast-on. Also, I'd already foolishly woven-in all the ends. So ripping back was out of the question as far as I was concerned.

3. Bargaining

"Maybe I can just wash it on a hot cycle with loads of agitation! That will definitely work and I'll have a cool story to write on my blog about The Comeback Kid." I thought to myself. Well, felting is a total crap shoot and without any extra yarn to do a test swatch (I used the last bit of my Shelter on that stupid pompom) I didn't feel gutsy enough to chance it. Bring on the guilt.

4. Guilt

Why, oh why, did I not swatch?? Never again!! (Yeah right Sarah.) Also, I'm really ashamed I didn't listen to my knitting-spidey-sense which told me, "Wow, 120 sts sure is a lot to cast on for a worsted weight hat. Well, surely Jared Flood knows what he's talking about." Now I realize I should have gone with my gut and recognized that either the test knitter for this hat knits REALLY tight or this is just a pattern that is more suitable for a dk weight. I saw a lot of knitters on Ravelry that used dk weight yarns and theirs turned out lovely and seemed to fit well. In addition to being far too wide, I also thought the hat was a bit too tall when I was knitting it (even for a slouchy hat) and because of the cable pattern I couldn't knit it any shorter. A dk weight yarn would have solved both the height and width problem.

5. Depression

At this point, I pretty much just let the hat sit around my house and make a mockery of me. Yarn I love, from a person I love, in a color I love, in a pattern I love, that is completely unwearable. If that's not depressing I don't know what is.

6. Acceptance and Hope

We all make mistakes. In the future I vow to try and avoid the temptation to cast on willy nilly without proper planning. I'm a better knitter than that. I am not going to let this hat be a total loss either. It turns out I have a man-friend with a big head and fluffy, thick, hair that looks absolutely charming in green. One man's trash is another man's treasure. I bought two skeins of Rowan Felted Tweed Dk in a super ironically named color called Rage (I'm not joking) which I hope will work out much better for me in a yet-to-be-knit future Skiff.

Here is the new owner in all of his woolen glory:

Maybe it was meant to be.