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Knitting Deadlines: An Oxymoron

As a former newspaper gal and a freelance writer, I pride myself on my ability to meet a deadline. Thinking back through all my years of writing and even reminiscing about high school (!) I don’t think I missed one due date.

For whatever reason, my knitting doesn’t seem to follow the same rules as my writing. It probably has something to do with the fact that I view knitting as a peaceful, calming thing, which to me is inherently the opposite of a deadline.

I was not even close to done dutifully working on a baby blanket when its recipient arrived. I’d like to blame it on the fact that the sweet girl came a few weeks before her due date, but that day came and went while I was still working away, needles whispering late into the night.

emmery knit sweater pattern

So when I told myself I would finish Jordana’s Emmery by a speaking engagement in November I’d agreed to, I knew I was pushing it. Well, November came and went. Then December. (This, my friends, is why Christmas knitting isn’t in my near future.) And finally January.

Wheee! It’s my first sweater! And it only took me six months! To be fair I did have a few other projects I did in between, and my torso is obscenely long, so the body took some time. I am absolutely thrilled! It’s only been off my needles a few weeks, but I’ve worn it four times already!

Jordana told me that in every project I should learn one new thing. If you have to learn too many at once, she said, you can get overwhelmed and give up.

There were a few new things I picked up in this project, provisional cast ons (crochet method worked best for me) and how to try on a WIP (take the needles out and use waste string), but what I’m most proud of was tackling my fear of using DPNs. Not as scary as they look!

The Emmery really is a great sweater for someone who’s never made one before. It’s all stockinette and the shaping is really easy. Because it was so simple, I started to understand the construction of a garment in general. Super helpful.

Every time I put it on and take it off I’m sooo careful, as if it’s going to fall apart or something. It’s really taken some getting used to, this whole wearing-clothing-I’ve-made thing.

emmery knit sweater first

I’m definitely hooked, already deciding what my next JP knit is going to be. I’m thinking either Cerie or Cadence. I love Cerie’s look but I wouldn’t mind some long sleeves. Although by the time I’m done it’ll probably be summer!

In the meantime I need some advice from the JP community. I’ve started on some socks with the yarn I got from Desert Thread in Moab. I love them but I’m struggling with something. See if you can see it.


Arg! Laddering! I didn’t have this problem with the Emmery, I think because it was all knitting. As soon as I started purling it happened. When I worked on the sweater I would pull very hard on the first few stitches and it seemed to work. Not so much here.

Any advice on how to avoid this as I finish this sock and immediately cast on the next? I’m all ears!


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7 Responses to Knitting Deadlines: An Oxymoron

  1. Katie Lynn /

    February 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

    The laddering is probably a product of having a purl be the first st on the needle. I always try to make sure that a knit is the first st, so the yarn is coming from the inside and will be tighter (though looking at the pattern that isn’t an option for you). You can always try turning the sock inside-out and purling the p rows that way (you will be able to pull the yarn tighter that way and it should decrease the laddering). Another common mistake is to bring the yarn to the front of the work between the needles, effectively causing a yarn over, which of course would lead to a ladder when you slip it off your needle. If none of these fix it, perhaps knitting on 2 circs would help you? You can pull the yarn tighter on the cord than you can on a dpn, which would also decrease the likelihood of laddering.

  2. Beth /

    February 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Congratulations, your sweater is great. I still haven’t tackled a full-on sweater, I have done shells and that’s it. I hope to try a top down raglan very soon. As for your socks, the yarn color is gorgeous! I make lots of socks, you get instant gratification from them. I usually will put a marker and move my stitches around from needle to needle so I am not knitting in the same problem ladder place all the time, does that make sense? It usually works for me.

  3. Tina /

    February 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Your sweater looks fantastic! I have yet to knit my first sweater or my first pair of socks since i just started knitting hats and mittens. I do believe that very soon though I will tackle both of the others on my bucket list. Congrats!

  4. Rebecca /

    February 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thanks ladies for all the kind compliments and comments!! I’m super proud of my sweater :)

    I think I might start with Katie Lynn’s suggestion of turning the sock inside out and purling…then maybe try Beth’s idea of moving the stitches around. I will keep you posted on the progress!

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  6. Liz /

    February 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    The sweater looks terrific! Great job!

    As for the laddering, I had this problem too when I first started working on dpns. Cat Bordhi recommends NOT pulling hard on the first stitch on the dpns. She says to work the first stitch, then on the second stitch, tug to snug up the fit between the other 2 stitches. She recommends tugging instead of pulling hard, because (if you can believe it) pulling hard actually CAUSES laddering. Oddly enough, if you don’t fret about laddering, it usually doesn’t happen. IF you just knit/purl the way you do on other needles, you won’t have an issue. This has worked well for me. I hope it helps you! :)

  7. Tracy /

    March 19, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Re: laddering on dpns… I do three things:
    1. I make sure the needle I’m moving to is over the needle I’ve just come from
    2. I use 4 needles to make a square out of my knitting (instead of 3 in a triangle) which minimizes the distance the yarn has to travel to the next needle
    3. I move 1 stitch per needle every time I switch. Meaning I knit all the stitches on needle 1 and then the 1st stitch on needle 2 onto one needle. Then all the remaining stitches on needle 2 and the 1st stitch on needle 3, etc. etc.

    Now, 2 & 3 are difficult (and possibly impossible) with socks that have a pattern that specifies how many stitches should be on each needle (ie. 20 on #1, 28 on #2, 20 on #3) but try it out the next time you’re working a stockinette sleeve or a super plain sock pattern.

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