Sunday, December 8, 2019

Meltdown City

I told you that knitting has become an anxiety coping mechanism for me but recently it turned into THE MOST STRESSFUL THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE.

I guess I thought I was the world's greatest knitter. Unstoppable. No pattern too complicated. That's why I didn't even bother looking at this one pattern before purchasing it to verify whether it was within my skill set.

I downloaded the five or so pages, a little surprised that it was five or so pages because most patterns for scarves are only like two pages and most of page one is just giant pictures of some woman's kids modeling the finished product in front of a barn.

But then I got it home and pulled it out and this is what it looked like:

And that was only step one!

But I went to the mirror and looked into it and I says to myself I says "Eli. This knitting pattern is not better than you. You are a strong, independent grandmother."

I enrolled in my local higher ed institution that goes by the name "Youtube University" and began taking advanced calculus until I thought I mostly understood every abbreviation and wildly complicated stitch in the pattern, and then I got started.

Over the next two weeks I knitted and unknitted and knitted and unwound over and over and over. Usually when I make a mistake in a knitting project I can just undo my knits until I get back to the error and correct it. But this pattern is so complicated for me that I am wholly unable to undo a single stitch so when I mess up I just have to pull the needles out, unravel it, and start all over.

At first this was no big deal. I would just be like "THAT'S OK BECAUSE EVERY TIME WE MAKE A MISTAKE IT'S JUST AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIX A MISTAKE!" but then after several days of this I started losing my mind until I had a full on screaming meltdown last Tuesday at 11:30 PM.

I had made it like 30 rows and was finally getting the hang of it. It had taken me hours to get to this point. And then suddenly I accidentally pulled a needle out and lost several stitches at once. I froze and stared at the project, realizing I would have to unwind everything and start. all. over.

The next thing I knew I was screaming obscenities so loudly I'm surprised the neighbors didn't call the police, throwing my knitting project across the room.

Skylar came home from school or the casinos or affairs during the middle of this. He walked in, looked at the 12 feet of yarn that was basically wrapped around all of the furniture, saw my bright red face, and said "so I see this project is still going well."

At the end of each night I make a note in my phone about where I left off so I can pick it back up the next day. If you look at the below, it should be obvious which days were Tuesday and then Wednesday.

I am sorry for the profanity, but also you should know that I edited that crap before I posted it here.

I caught back up over the next few days and things were going pretty well when I brought the project to a little get-together with Skylar's classmates on Friday night.

A few hours into the wild party wherein I was sitting in a corner, knitting, with my glasses all the way to the end of my nose, sipping red wine, and chatting with a lovely woman named Emma, it happened. I made a mistake.

Y'all. I was on like row 35.

Every muscle in my gorgeous body flexed at once and I felt all of the blood rush to my face.

As luck would have it, Emma is an expert knitter. Like, the knitting store I go to displays her projects in the windows. Literally.

She recognized my panic, and in a moment of pure sainthood, took the entire thing from me, went to another room, sat on the floor with all five pages of pattern, and tried to figure out what was going on.

Eventually she came to me and said "can I take this home and spend some time with it when I haven't just been drinking wine?"

I told her she could keep it forever and immediately summoned some adoption papers for us to both sign, but she said that wasn't necessary.

The next day she came to my house and handed me the completely repaired project, giving me several tips for avoiding the problems going forward.

I am naming all of my children "Emma." I'm naming all of you "Emma." I'm going to call every single one of you Emma for the rest of your lives. I'm writing her in for every election I vote in as long as democracy exists. If she ever starts a cult I will immediately join it and give her all of my money.

God bless you, Emma. You deserve happiness.

And now, please enjoy Rebbie's story from Strangerville Live:

This time in Strangerville, Meg and Eli are apparently unsanitary–don’t eat at their houses. And a woman takes the Strangerville Live stage to talk about her infertility.
The Woman Who Got Me Pregnant, by Rebbie Brassfield
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter
Strangerville is a production of The Beehive

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. One word....lifeline. It has saved more than one knitter from falling on their needles.
    Or be like me and make a life-long commitment to knitting only straight, flat stuff.

    1. So I've been trying to use lifelines but they end up getting all jumbled and when I try to go back to them it just turns into a huge mess and I can't tell what my stitches are. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

    2. You’re using a contrasting color of yarn for the lifeline, right?

    3. Yes--On this pattern I'm doing *TONS* of brioche increases and decreases in various forms, plus cabling and slipping and it just seems like every time I put in the lifeline the lifeline yarn ends up getting all jumbled in that mess.

  2. I’m crying laughing. I’ve been knitting for almost 15 years and this is still how I am with even a basic pattern. I need to start reminding myself that I’m a strong, independent grandmother.

  3. Oh, I feel your pain! This was me trying to knit a hat for the first time using double point needles. Self-taught knitter who figured I was ready to level up ... I finished the hat, but not before unraveling and reknitting it 4 times. There may have been some tears and some swearing involved, but I did get it finished. We all need an Emma...any chance she has a helpline number or consulting services? #notkidding Maybe we need a support group #strangerswhoknit

  4. My grandma taught me the very basics of knitting when I was a kid. I knitted like four feet of magenta scarf for my mom, didn't finish before Christmas, and handed her a paper grocery bag with the ongoing project inside. Never finished it. Years later, I tried again, learning from YouTube. Completed a MUCH skinnier scarf for a friend. Every stitch of that scarf was wrong because I learned at the end that I was doing something backwards, but I successfully turned a long piece of yarn into something shorter and cozier. You are a very impressive internet grandma.
    Love, Emma

  5. Frogging is the worst. A few years ago I made a jumper for my dog. I couldn’t find a pattern that I was completely happy with so I decided to tweak a few and add them together. This required me to learn several new skills and I had to rip certain sections out several times. It was a miserable process (and explained why there were no patterns for what I wanted to make - everyone else went the sensible, easy route). I hated that jumper as I made it. It was torture. But now, looking back, I am so proud of it. Those challenges taught me so many new skills and I am a much better and more confident knitter for sticking with it. It will be worth it in the end!

  6. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has to completely start over at the beginning when I make a knitting mistake. I am currently working on a sweater that I somehow thought I was capable of knitting. I've knitted the collar about 4 times already and need to start over again....