Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Mistakes?

We've been so busy, busy, busy around here lately, but there is something I want to share with you today.

You know, people say the nicest things about my knitting, and I am pleased to get a compliment for my effort, but some people are convinced that I am some paragon of perfection, and that I must never make mistakes because my work is just so ____ (insert adjective here).

I say Hah! I'm always messing up, but have simply learned how to deal with a knitting error by either:

1. Catching it early enough to fix it easily or
2. Being willing to rip it out and redo it or
3. Coming up with some snazzy way to hide it.

Case in point:

Late last night, I was working on a baby cardigan. I had nearly finished the body of the sweater, having only 20 rows or so to go. Of course, I quickly finished that off while watching the news. After I had bound off the hem, but before I had cut the yarn, I looked it over and discovered it wasn't behaving properly.

fixing errors in a baby sweaterThe hem was curling up and wouldn't lay flat, it was flaring out at the bottom. The garter stitch edge along the hem came out a wee bit wider than the stockinette stitch body. This happens sometimes, but for some reason I had forgotten about the possibility.

This is why many patterns recommend changing to a smaller needle or decreasing the number of stitches by 10% while doing the garter stitch edge of the garment. This particular pattern (Seamless Yoked Sweater by Carol Barenys) doesn't. So, I set the sweater aside for the night in disgust.

In the morning, I ripped out the 8 rows of garter stitch hem. I then re-knit the hem, but on 10% fewer stitches. Now, just because somebody is going to ask about the exact details, that's:

(I'm making the smaller size)
When you have 8 garter ridges on the front band after the 4th buttonhole;
Row 1: (right side row) k4,*k 8, k2tog* across row;
Rows 2-4: knit across row;
Row 5: Knit across row to within last 4 stitches, k 1, YO, k2tog, k 1;
Rows 6-8: Knit across row;
Bind off in purl on the right side.

When the sweater is finished, nobody will know about the mistakes I made and fixed. They won't know how many times I had to rip out a couple rows of this thing because I forgot to knit the garter stitches on the front band during a purl row. They won't see how many times I lost count on the slip stitch pattern and messed it up. Or had to fix stitches that were too tight, or too loose, or just too funky looking. And they certainly won't have a clue about the other weird ideas I tried on this sweater and discarded (ripped out quickly before anyone could see) before deciding on this simple, conservative take on the design.

I have several baby sweaters that I'm working on right now, in varying stages of completion. I will post here when I'm finished with them, but until then you can see photos of them in progress in my projects on Ravelry! .

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happy 4th

layered jello dessertsWe had an enjoyable Independence Day. Good friends, good food, good times.

As you can see, we had fun with Jello.

We learned a few things too, like don't pour warm gelatin liquid on top of the whipped topping, or you will you end up with floating blue goo on top of your dessert. I chose to disguise it with more whipped topping and a cherry, of course. It was a hit.

But then, that's the magic of the Fourth of July BBQ, everything is a hit. Cook it on the grill and smother it with your favorite brand of bottled BBQ sauce, and it's your own little piece of heaven. They'll even eat their veggies-and like it.

You know, there's always something you forget to buy at the grocery store, and after two follow-up trips to pick up what had been forgotten, I was still missing that vegetable soup mix I usually use for the dip. I'd had enough of traveling in the heat and decided to improvise with whatever I had in the house. Here is the recipe I came up with. Feel free to substitute low-fat or fat-free versions of ingredients.

bowl of spinach dipSpinach Dip

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cups prepared ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips and crackers or other dippers of your choice.

I used an envelope of ranch dressing mix and followed their directions to prepare the dressing, but you can use bottled ranch, creamy italian, blue cheese or other creamy salad dressing. Also consider adding chopped cucumber, chopped roasted sweet red peppers or other veggies you like to the dip.