Foot-in-Mouth Disease: There’s No App for That


A sleeve...with increases at the both ends of the rows
I was feeling so “with it”. I had just downloaded the Vogue Knitting App for my iPhone, with its really nice multiple row/increase counter, a row counter I find much more to my liking than the dial type one I had used with a previous project. I had started the first sleeve on the first sweater I have ever knitted. The sweater is one for my toddler daughter. She is most excited about the blue-and-white, soccer ball shaped button that she picked out. I am most excited about knitting something other than a hat or scarf.

The sweater, though considered “easy”, has several new adventures for me with my limited knitting experience: seams, an eyelet yoke, seed stitch, and increases on the sleeves.

I read the directions for the sleeves, thought it a bit odd that the increases took place on purled rows, but said to myself, “okay” and cast on my 35 stitches. I knit with my iPhone at my side to keep track of every row. I diligently increased by one stitch at the end of every fourth row after completing the cuff, figuring out how to add an increase stitch to the end of a purled row.

After I finished my nine increases over 36 rows, I counted my total stitches and compared them to what the pattern said I should have. I had 44 stitches. The pattern said I should have 53. So I reread the directions. Nope. The total must be wrong. An increase of one stitch every fourth row for nine times would be nine extra stitches, 35 plus 9 is 44. This must be a mistake.

Since the pattern was a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn, I went to their web site to check for a log of mistakes. There was one mistake reported, but not on the increases. So I emailed them, politely explaining what I had found. While I typed I entertained delusions of grandeur: thoughts of a lifetime supply of free yarn as a reward for spotting this mathematical anomaly; a set of sterling silver needles engraved to reflect my pattern-reading prowess; or the opportunity to test knit a new fiber.

Then I hit send.

Then I reread the pattern.

The pattern actually says, “increase by one 1 stitch at each end every other row 5 (2, 0, 0, 0) times and every 4th row 3, (6, 8, 9, 9) times for a total of 47 (49, 49, 51, 53) stitches.” One stitch at each end of the row is two increase stitches. Two increase stitches made nine times is a total of 18 increase stitches. The original 35 stitches plus the 18 increased stitches does, indeed, add up to the specified 53 stitches.

Lesson Learned: Next time, do the math before you do the knitting.

I looked again the sleeve I had knitted. I had knitted a sleeve with increases on one side—a sleeve that when the seam was sewn would fit only the most bizarrely shaped arm.

There is no Foot-in-Mouth, Unsend App for the iPhone, and as I ripped out the 36 rows of knitting and started again, I had plenty of time to imagine the response that I might get from the yarn company.

Lesson Learned: Next time, reread the pattern before sending the e-mail.

As I reknit, I also realized that if I started my increases on the first row, I could increase easily on knitted rows, instead of purled rows, as well.

At least I still have my way cool App for counting rows. Looks like I’ll be using (and reusing it) a lot.

****
Footnote: I received a kind e-mail from Lion Brand customer service that pointed out my error. When I replied that I had given myself a big dope slap and written a blog about the whole experience, they even massaged my ego by saying they couldn’t wait to see the blog. Now that’s customer service.

© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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