What do you do when you get stuck?

So it’s Saturday morning and I’m on the sofa with my leg up on the footstool. My ankle is sore and I’m trying to do my physio exercises with limited success. Mum’s gone shopping and Dad’s pottering around the house doing some DIY, so I thought I’d get on with the baker boy cap I started yesterday.

I knew from the beginning that this pattern was going to cause me problems. Not only is it my first venture into cables, but there’s something about the way that it’s written that I find confusing. I’ve not even got to the cable part, and I’ve already gone wrong. After the initial few rows of garter st, there’s an 8 row repeating pattern which has increases in the even numbered rows. On the second row it says:

P2, k4, (p2, inc in next st, p2, k4) 7 times, p2, inc in last st. 80 sts.

Now I read the bit in brackets to mean that I purl 2, increase 1 in the first of the next two purl stitches then knit 4. So I did this all the way until I got near the end and realised that it wasn’t going to work out. If I’d thought about it more carefully then I should have worked it through in my head first. What I should have done was purl 2, purl 1 and inc 1, purl 2, knit 4. (At least I assume that’s what I should have done and that I am required to increase purlwise.)

Oh well I thought, I’ll just unpick the row and do it again, not a big deal. Trouble is I got to the point where I did an increase and I can’t see how to unpick that bit. I’ve never had to do that before and it’s not clear to me what I need to pick up.

That’s the problem with a lot of books and tutorials. They can be really good at explaining how to do various stitches, but very poor on explaining how to fix it when it goes wrong. Sure, my book shows how to unpick a regular row, but I can’t find anything about what to do when you’ve been increasing in that row. And what would I have to do if I need to unpick a row where I’ve been decreasing?

Mum’s still not back for me to ask, so I got some more needles and knitted the peak of the cap with a second ball of yarn, so at least I’m able to get on with something whilst I wait.

What would I do if I didn’t have my Mum around to ask though? I’d have to unravel and start again probably.

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One thought on “What do you do when you get stuck?

  1. When in doubt, I work it out on paper first to see if my reading of the patterns is as the creator of the pattern intended. When unpicking sts, work the row you did backwards and you’ll know when to let sts go that you increased on and move onto the st before. I lose my patience at times and just unpull the lot and restart again and again until I get it right. I don’t have a Mum to ask, lost her when I was 28 years old, still miss her.

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