Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Five Stitches

Firstly, for the record, I am allergic to latex. I should not allow nurses to put band-aids on my skin until I am certain they are non-latex. I should make sure various tubings and materials used medically are non-latex, because yesterday I proved to myself (due to staggering stupidity) that my latex allergy is worsening in severity, and no one wants to go to the emergency room because their band-aid is making them stop breathing.

Secondly, I am very stupid. This is proven by both the latex thing and the Five Stitches.

You see, reading and following directions is important.

Do you remember those worksheets they used to give you in elementary school, with all the dumb instructions students were supposed to follow point by point.

They would go like this:

1. Put your name on your paper.

2. When you write your name, it should be in all lowercase letters, in the bottom left corner of the page.

3. How many circles are drawn on the chalkboard?

4. What is your favorite food?

5. Do you have a latex allergy that could potentially kill you?

6. How many stupid stitches do you have on a safety pin, waiting for you to pick them up and knit them back and forth all the way up the front on each side of your sweater, prior to grafting them and then sewing each stitch to the corresponding stitch on each side of the cardigan, meaning that you are sewing much much more than what you would like to, if you had the choice?

7. Copy this sentence: Laura is allergic to latex.

8. Make sure to write the sentence out in Anglo-Saxon, when possible (because I doubt there is an Anglo-Saxon word for latex).

9. Jump once and clap your hands twice, then sit back down.

10. Skip questions 3-9, turn paper in to your teacher.

I hated these, but luckily I was accustomed to the stupidity of the instructions and knew to read to the end of each worksheet following this pattern in order to ensure that I did not make a public display of foolishness in the classroom, which would be counter to my Life Goal, which was to become Invisible.

It was a good thing I had that goal, because I can sure be dumb--or rather--Dumb. It deserves the capitol letter.

I cast on for my second front panel on Monday night, watching Cranford on DVD because I love that sort of thing.

In my pattern's instructions (Manos' Boston--a vest thing with such an ugly picture on the front of the pamphlet that I will refrain from linking to it), it tells me to work 4 rows in double seed stitch. Then it tells me to knit the five last stitches, turn it around, knit them again, go on to the end in double seed stitch, then turn it around, double seed, knit five, turn around, knit five, double seed, turn around, that's what it's all about.

On the first panel, I failed miserably for the first six rows by not knitting those five stitches, but instead working them in double seed stitch. Then I had to rip back two rows before I could do what the pattern intended me to do with those five stitches, which was to take them and place them on a safety pin where they would wait for me to be ready for them.

I corrected this mistake while watching No Reservations with Jennifer. Then I did what I ought to have known better than to do...I kept going, confident that I knew what was going on.

And I did. But I hadn't fully grasped what those five little stitches meant. Not yet, at least.

Suddenly, I realized what they meant, and I turned the page of my booklet to observe the cover, the picture of my vest-to-be, and a sinking feeling developed within me, as the full weight of those five stitches fell upon my shoulders.

I was to take the stitches off the holder and knit them back and forth until I decided I wanted to die, then I was to continue until I had the stitch panel, now the button band, the full length of the front panel. Then I had to sew the two together.

Why not knit them together? I asked dolefully. What possible reason could there be for seaming? Why would someone do this to me? I railed against the injustice, waving my knitting at Jennifer, who ought to have been terrified at this point, but she was more worried about her sock (Jennifer is a Knitter-In-Training).

My logical Brain-Half told me that this might just be to grant the knitted button band a little stability, or maybe it was to better allow for the torture of furry woodland creatures in some Hell-Dimension where button bands are knitted and seamed instead of being picked up and knit like in this dimension, where things sometimes are known to make some kind of sense.

I knit the first front panel of my sweater. I cast off.

Then I started the second. When I started, I did what a normal person would do. I followed the neat, happy directions, and I knit and knit, putting my five little stupid-I-hate-my-life-why-must-I-suffer-someone-please-make-it-stop stitches, blast them, onto a safety pin, and I knit.

At knit night, I did waist shaping, I ribbed, I seed stitched, and then I went home (after discovering that an Elmo band-aid had the power to send me to hospital, if I had not taken it off).

I reached the arm-hole shaping. At this point, nearing the end of my sweater, I felt the urge to lovingly arrange the elements of my vest in the positions where I would soon sew them.

This was when I discovered a little. Something.

You see, when you knit a sweater, a cardigan to be precise, you are given instructions. Back Panel, Front Left Panel, and--let's not forget this, folks--Front Right Panel.

Front Right Panel.

This is so that your sweater has its front panels the opposite of each other, not identical to each other, because if they happened to be identical (unless your sweater panels are reversible) you will end up with your armpit arranged over your sternum and your button band in your armpit, with the other side positioned as it ought to be. You cannot button buttons onto the side of your sweater, onto the back button-band-less panel. Because then you would have nowhere to put the buttons on the front, except for in what would have been the armpit but is now your sternum, a place that also has no buttonholes.

In short, you knit them differently, because if you don't, you're screwed.

Now. What had Laura done?

She had lovingly knit the front left, then (because that was so much fun) she had knit a second front left panel.

Laura's five measly stitches were on the wrong side of her sweater. This was the only problem. But there was no way to correct this, except to--

Tear the front panel out and knit a right panel instead of the second left, so that there would be a left and a right. Like there should have been in the first place.

And now, those five stupid stitches that will cause such future ragings and torment, those stitches that will make me want to use my knitting needles like implements of torture...those five stitches...

Will cause me to knit the second panel twice, which is really like knitting three panels.

Those five stitches make me so angry I want to light the whole mess on fire. But it's wool, and wool doesn't burn well.

Rachael! I know you have 380+ stitches of your own to despair of, but those five stitches! Why?


  1. Leave it. fix the rest of the front so it's correct, run over the edge with a sewing machine a couple times (like reinforcement with a steek) and cut that sucker off! You'll feel so gratified, I promise!

  2. Having not taken Rachael's glorious advice due to the lack of a needle for the sewing machine, I have now knit one side of the buttonband/collar nightmare...