Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Importance of Counting Twice

From the beginning of my crochet journey I have had a love-hate relationship with counting. While I would love nothing more than to never have to worry about the number of double crochets in a the start of a pineapple, this wish is simply impossible in the world of crochet.

More seasoned hookers can often get away with not counting every single stitch in every single row of a blanket. However, even the most veteran among us cannot escape the need for counting or the consequences when counting goes horribly wrong.

To stress the importance of counting twice (or in my case, often three or four times) I have two great examples.

The first example takes place a few short days ago:

Having recently finished an adult sized hooded cloak for my mother's birthday, I decided to make my niece one as well. I spent the better part of an evening converting the pattern to a child's size as I went along. Using my daughter as a sizing guide, I worked out spacing for the buttons, proper width,  and exactly how long to make the arm slits. When making the slits for the arms, the project is worked in three different panels and then brought back together at the end of the slits to finish working the length of the cloak. It was a few rows into the length I noticed something had gone terribly wrong!
I had only a few rows left!
I was almost done!
In, what seemed like, the biggest disaster in recent history I noticed that instead of being nice and evenly spaced, my arm slits were in two different places! Thanks to my rush to finish I had only counted once and unless my niece has an arm growing out of her spine (she doesn't, by the way) this simply wasn't going to work.
Needless to say I was furious with myself. More than that, I was furious at my project. I was so furious at it that I proceeded to stick it in a bag and refuse to think about it for several days.
I have since moved on from my anger with the poor bundle of innocent yarn and continued with the project. (And by "continued" I mean started over completely with a new color of yarn and some adorable new buttons. The hurt was still far to fresh to go through the heartache of pulling out all of my hard work. The offending original remains hidden for now.)
(A look at the first few rows of the offending cloak project version 2.0)

Example number two lives in the land of Christmas two years past:

As usual I had many projects in mind for Christmas gifts so as usual I waited until mid November to start them. (Please learn from my repeated mistakes. For Christmas,  start in January. ) Again, in a rush I only counted once. This time the gift was a beautiful oval, pineapple doily for my husbands grandmother. About 1/2 through I noticed something wasn't working out so I looked back through the rounds to discover the mistake all the way back in row 2! One missed double crochet deleted an entire pineapple which threw off the entire shape of the doily!
Again, the usual anger and hostility flared up but this time I didn't have time to let it sit. I pulled out the 23 offending rows and started over angerly mumbling and mentally abusing myself the entire time. Even triple counting I finished the doily in record time though it cost me the full use of my hook arm for a few days. (Again people, learn from my mistakes. January really is your beat bet for Christmas gifts.)

Moral of the stories: Counting can save you the loss of your hooking arm. (As well as needless anger, project loathing, and mental self abuse.)

Count twice and then count twice again.

Happy Hooking,

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