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Friday, May 26, 2006

How to pick up a billion stitches without suffering a nervous breakdown

Let's say you are working on a cute project like Ms. Marigold, aka Ms. Petunia. You are slightly fearful that you will run out of yarn, even though you bought the instructed amount.

Why not knit the neckline and sleeves before finishing the body, then pray there will be enough of the yummy yarn left? And why not decide this at 1 a.m., after a rough day at work while suffering from a severe head cold? Ok, let's go!

1. Recognize that when you pick up stitches, it usually looks like you hired a three-year-old to do it. Out of fear that you'll be accused of sweatshop labor, pull out a reliable book to receive proper instruction.

2. Read and re-read the instructions. Start following them to the letter, until you realize that you aren't going to break out a calculator and do math this late at night. Use stitch markers to divide up collar and do your best to pick up the same number of stitches in each section.

3. Become frustrated and decide that this is too difficult to do while watching an emotional episode of "Oprah." Tear up when she reunites two women from Rwanda with the family that they haven't seen in 12 years. Feel terrible that you aren't contributing more to society. Continue picking up stitches.

4. Sick of post-nasal drip, take a heavy duty cold medication that you needed to show photo ID in order to purchase. Feel slightly loopy and finish the task.

5. Photograph finished collar and pledge to find an apartment some day with more natural light.

Now for something completely different. Here's the painting my cousin's son made for his pre-school graduation. (If you've never gone to a pre-school graduation, please do. There's no pomp and circumstance, just songs about bugs.) Be sure to click on the pic to check out the title. Guess my entire family is morbid.


Blogger Chris said...

Haunted house that eats people... I like it!

I'm impressed that you finished the collar under the influence like that! So, um, did it still look ok in the morning?!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Sachi said...

I feel your pain about picking up collar stitches. Starsky had me positively cross-eyed.

Please tell your cousin's son that I want to adopt him.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Carrieoke said...

It looks really great from this angle. Sometimes being loopy is the best way to achieve knitting greatness. Hee.

That picture is totally AWESOME.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Karin said...

That picture is awesome!! I think the sweater looks pretty nice IMO. What's even worse than picking up stitches is sewing a neckband around a wraparound sweater!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I see nothing wrong with those picked up stitches. Perhaps the Nyquil type substance actually HELPED you pick up the stitches by making it so you were nice and relaxed, and too drugged up to panic.

Haunted house that eats people...NICE.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Your Ms. Petunia is looking pretty good. Its looking fantastic for not being blocked and for being finished very very late. I am of course totally curious about the amount of yarn you think you maybe short. Mine is sitting right there at section D, maybe this weekend I'll learn a few more abcs.

I love the painting. Imagination is always a gift. Even if its a little dark :).

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Skylar said...

Oooo, I like the looks of Ms Petunia. But why can't we devise a new trick so we don't have to pick up stitches? Ugh, it's my worst nightmare and, like you mentioned, my picked up stitches generally look like I hired a 3 year old to do it for me as well.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Picking up stitches is the bane of my (knitting) existence. Yours look good to me!

Love that picture. I've just bought new knitting bags--replete with a skull print--so I obviously enjoy things on the morbid side.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Great picture!! I love wee people graduations!

Sorry you have a cold & that you had to pick up stitches! I hate doing it as well!!

Feel better soon!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

Picking up stitches is evil (along with gauge, garter stitch, mohair....) but yours looks fine. At least from the pic you posted.

Nicolas haunted house that eats people! The boy has invented a new horror genre.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Very creative watercolor! He sounds like a fun little boy.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Picking up stitches is never fun. I have always knit neckbands 3 or 4 times before I get it right. Maybe next time I should try cold medicine. :)

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Kim Guzman said...

Hmmmm....this tip about knitting under the influence of cold medicine. Not in MY knitting books! I will have to pencil it in. :-)

*Love* the painting and the title! Fabulous!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Bronxie said...

I get post nasal drip also. Does that stuff work?

6:56 PM  
Blogger Biglug said...

both your collar and that drawing are awesome!

8:57 PM  
Blogger gleek said...

you had to show photo ID for that cold medication?! how bizarre.

the stitches look great! i feel your pain. i picked up over 200 stitches for my somewhat cowl. yikes.

8:57 PM  
Blogger *karen said...

Wow, I always have holes when I pick up stitches. Good job. Rest up (as much as your crazy job allows) and feel better.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

Haunted House that eats people!

I work in Preschool and we had a guy work on a drawing for about half an hour then he suddenly drenched the whole thing in red paint.
He called it: Blood Easter!

Yep he's 4 and a generally nice kid.

You just never know what they are going to do or say for the matter.

Nice job picking up those stitches on Nyquil!!
Definitely looks better than any 3 yr old I know!

9:01 AM  
Blogger lowercasecarmen said...

At 1am in the morning, I'm thinking all I could sucessfully muster is a good spraying of whipping cream directly into my mouth. You on the other hand are whipping up knitted garments. Yes, both involve something whipped, but yours is slightly more productive. Good job once again Carrie!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Ariane said...

Picking up stitches usually doesn't bother me. However on my latest sweater, I had to pick up nearly 300 of them and since it's my own pattern & I apparently like to knit dangerously... I just kind of winged it and picked up whatever felt like the right number. (Thankfully it worked out ^_^)

I can't wait to see your Ms. Marigold. It's definitely on my "To Knit" list :)

9:27 PM  
Blogger KnitPastis said...

Oh, that is something I am working on..picking up stitches but I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Your looks pretty good especially under the influence. You crack me up!

8:32 AM  
Blogger Kym said...

They carded you for faux Nyquil? Did they really think you looked like you were cooking up some crystal meth? So bizarre.

Cute picture from your cousin's son!

10:06 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

What an excellent subject for a painting!

Your tale of woe about picking up stitches was hilarious. I just started my first project that will require picking up stitches for the collar. Hopefully I will be able to remain in as good humor about it as you are.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Are you sure your cousin's son didn't get into your Nyquil?
The picked up stitches look good. I think that if we keep doing it enough, it will begin to grow on us. One day, we will like it.
If not, keep that cold medicine flowing (works well on waxing day too).

11:38 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

I always make my best knitting decisions late late at night with a cold too :) I think that's how I started using the wrong needles and am currently knitting a child size vest. Oops.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous julie said...

I looked at your site to help me knit my first ever neckband didnt help but i had a few laughs .Still cant do it!!!

6:10 AM  

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