Have you participated in a Knit-A-Long (KAL) before? On Thanksgiving Monday, I began my first KAL – Cableship by KnitPurl Hunter. Actually, back this story up. I tried to start my first KAL the Thursday before Thanksgiving, unsuccessfully so. Here’s what happened.
When I saw the Cableship KAL pop up in the Ravelry ‘Hot Right Now’ patterns, I was rather excited to try it. I had no idea what the pattern was going to be, what the sock would look like, but I had the right yarn and thought it would be fun to participate in, to make this pair of socks along with hundreds of others from anywhere in the world.
The first part of the pattern was released October 6. Great! I downloaded the pattern and later that evening sat to cast on. A toe-up sock! I’ve never made one before, so this was a great chance to try something new! It called for Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Well, I thought, I’m loyal to the end to my long-tail method, I’ll just use that. Cast on the prerequisite 24 stitches and immediately saw the problem. Long tail and other standard cast ons are great for knitting something open or flat, like a dishcloth or, say, the cuff of a sock. Not so great when you’re knitting a toe, something that needs to be closed in. Well, that’s why they’re calling for this Judy’s Magic Cast-On, I thought as I ripped off my 24 cast on stitches.
Open up Youtube, search Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Lots of videos available. Great! I start watching a few and after a while I get the hang of it. Each knitter in their videos have their own variations to JMCO, but they all have the same idea – you’re looping stitches onto two needles. I have my 24 stitches on my faithful DNPs. Great! Time to knit the first row. All of the top videos for JMCO use cable needles. Cables can’t be that different from DPNs, I thought. Wrong. Sigh.
New search: Judy’s Magic Cast On DPNs. The first video was very helpful, but right at the outset, this knitter warns viewers that while it’s not impossible to do this cast on method on DPNs, it’s a harder way to do so. Trust me to try this new method on the more challenging tools. Of course. The knitter must have apologized for how awkward her method looked at least a dozen times. After watching this video, I cast on my prerequisite stitches (yay!) and awkwardly knit the first round (yay!). Time to start the increase rounds. “K1 M1R.” I look at my awkward tangle of stitches over four DPNs and I try to start. I knit 1 stitch… I look at my yarn… Make 1 Right… I look, I fumble, I try… I get frustrated, rip everything out and put it into a time out.
This is where I should add that not only am I trying the new method of JMCO, I’m doing it the more challenging way on DPNs, with black yarn. Seriously, what was I thinking?!
This project stayed in time out for three days when I revisited it on the holiday Monday. I sat in my kitchen where I get very bright sunlight at all hours of the day, queued up the helpful JMCO DPNs video and cast on 24 stitches (yay!), knit the first round (yay!), and then successfully knit the increase round with the help of wonderful natural lighting (YAY!), and continued working around! After three increases, this is how my toe was shaping up:
Lessons learned in the first steps of my first KAL:
- Follow instructions; if a pattern calls for a certain type of cast on, there’s probably a reason
- Have patience (but really, this is an ongoing self-bettering challenge for me in all facets of my life)
- Sometimes things look better in the light of a new day (rather poetic but really just a literal statement)
- When you remember the above, you can succeed.