3 Strikes

A few months ago I fell in love with a pattern called Plumetis by Julie Knits in Paris.  I first saw it on Ravelry and was instantly inspired by its peter-pan collar and light and airy mohair lace body.  I told myself it would be the perfect sweater in the fall and spring when the weather is cool but not cold.  I was so inspired by this pattern I shared it with my various knitting groups. They were also enchanted with the pattern and we arranged to do a knit along.  There was a cast-on party at one of our meet-ups and everyone enthusiastically began the project.  

 I completed the fingering weight ribbed hem with no problems and began on the simple lace mohair with no issues.  My first dozen or so rows were beautiful and encouraging.  I came to the end of the next round and found that my stitches did not end the way the pattern indicated they should.  Since I had already done a few repeats I assumed I dropped a stitch somewhere.  I carefully tinked back a whole repeat to where I knew I had the right stitch count.  It was only a couple of rows.  Which, if you have ever tried to un-knit mohair, you know what a nightmare it can be.  I started the repeat again.  Again, I had the wrong number of stitches according to the pattern and now my sweater had a sizable hole.  Friends more knowledgeable than I tried to help me fix my hole and figure out why even with the hole fixed I didn’t have the right number of stitches.  Frustrated I put the project in time-out for the evening.  

Call me a perfectionist, but I decided to rip out the body back to the fingering weight hem.  (Strike 1).  This was tedious and I ended up with a small tangled mess of mohair.  I ended up having to cut and throw away some of the yarn.  I told myself this wasn’t a problem because I had plenty of the mohair.  It was then I decided to redo the hem and make a slightly smaller size.  Once again, things are going smoothly for multiple lace repeats.  I am feeling confident again.  I make it smoothly past the point where I had to rip back in my first attempt.  Then it happens again.  I don’t have the right number of stitches to correctly finish the repeat at the end of the round.  I examine my work closely and can’t find my mistake.  

At this point, I am beginning to feel frustrated.  The pattern is beautifully written and is not hard to follow.  How does this keep happening?!  I tinked back a dozen or so more rows looking for my error or a place where I ended the repeat correctly with no luck.  My mohair is starting to look a little rough now because I have ripped back so frequently.  I decide, just to be safe, to buy another skein of the same color and simply cut my mohair off the ribbing, pick up my ribbing, and start the lace pattern again.  With a few inches of mohair to carefully cut off my ribbing, it happens.  I accidentally snip some of the fingering stitches making my hem useless (strike 2).  

Now I am really upset and feeling stupid.  The whole project is put into time out for about a month.  When I start it again I have a conversation with my yarn and pattern and tell it this is the last chance it has at becoming the gorgeous Plumetis sweater.  I even keep the project grounded, only knitting on it at home in my well-lit knitting space.  This time I made it all the way to the shoulders.  As I am doing the three-needle bind-off on the first shoulder about a dozen stitches explode off my needle.  Hands shaking and saying a prayer I try to pick up the stitches.  It is fruitless.  I can’t pick up/find the right number of stitches no matter how hard I look (strike 3).  My husband, who was sitting with me as I was knitting, watched in horror as I took my scissors, cut my working yarn, and marched my sweater which was  75% complete to the outdoor trashcan where I knew it would be completely unrecoverable.  It was liberating.  

I don’t often need to utilize my 3-strike rule on a project.  Typically a mistake is easily remedied and I can move forward with my knitting. Unfortunately, that was not possible in this case.  

The moral of this story is that it is ok to abandon a project that is no longer bringing you joy.  I might even try making the sweater again in the future.  If I do I think I will use a lace-weight yarn in place of the mohair so that when I do make a mistake it is more easily rectified.  

P.S. I would like to make it very clear that there were no errors in the Plumetis pattern.  All problems I experienced while attempting this project were self-inflicted.  

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