28 January 2013

Well, this is embarrassing...

I'm going to share something immensely embarrassing with you all today.  I trust that you all will laugh along with me because it's pretty funny.

I've been knitting in the round the wrong way.  For years.

For a little bit of background to build suspense: 
My city does not have a yarn store, a fact that I've moaned about several times, and I really want some sort of community with other knitters and crocheters beyond Ravelry.  I have been lucky enough to meet the oh so wonderful and inspiring Liz at Carolina Knits (lets take a moment to grumble at her for getting to go to Vogue Knitting Live this weekend).  But Liz lives a little too far for weekly knit nights and she is also very busy being superwoman.

I found a few other knitters and crocheters in my area and we are slowly but surely building a knitting group.  One of those knitters (a hilarious woman who is always knitting a new pair of gorgeous socks every time I see her) asked me why I was knitting in the round like this:

With my right side on the inside of the circle...Yes, I kid you not.

I was embarrassingly indignant about this fact and suggested that she was the one in the minority, knitting away with the right side out.  Then my mind went through one of those "world views crumbling" moments as I realized, that she was right and I was very, very wrong.

I thought back on all those years of having to laboriously turn my socks in progress inside out to show a curious person the stitch pattern and how the sock was constructed.  Knitting whole sweaters inside out even.  Oh dear.

I just never thought about it, I got so used to seeing knitting that I was blind to the mistake.  This is actually a really fascinating neurological phenomenon, like how only 25% people know where the fire extinguisher in their office is located even after working there for years.

Needless to say, I now knit in the round like everyone else:

Turns out my knitting didn't spontaneously burst into flame, in fact...my laddering problem vastly improved!

So that is my hilarious knitting blunder, surely I'm in good company: have you ever made a strange or comical knitting/crochet/spinning error?

Oh and thank you for everyone's helpful suggestions for the sweater pilling problem, I had no idea such tools existed!


  1. Oh wow, that is an interesting one. I never realized you did that! I am trying to think of a blunder I've had, and believe me there were many. I guess the first one coming to mind was my first class at Wildflower when I was still a newbie and I didn't know how to cast on correctly, Kennita had to teach me long tail like 4 times that day.

  2. Don't lose that skill! Knitting on the wrong side in the round is useful when doing stranded knitting. It helps keep the stitches from being too tight.

    I'm a self taught knitter and for years I knit through the back of the knit stitch, which twisted it, before someone showed me the right way.

    I've also learned to make sure my knitting was tucked securely in my purse. I've walked down the hall at work with my yarn trailing behind me. Everyone was laughing about that one!

    Never stop learning.

  3. We are all guilty of of something! Glad you had someone to get you turned around, lol!

  4. My s-i-l phoned one day to ask for my help.
    Why, oh, why is her knit stitchrs showing as purl stitches.
    I asked her numerours question about her method
    Each of her answers seemed to coincide with what knitting should be.

    Hubby suggested we use video chat
    It took twenty seconds into the video chat to see she was doing the very same as you.

    Problem solved. One picture worth 1,000 words.

    Knit on, Ivy.


  5. It isn't wrong if it works! I agree with Lisa, it's a very useful skill to have when doing stranded colourwork. Sometimes it's easier to start knitting in the round inside out for the first couple of rows and then turn it the right way out. Don't worry about it too much, unless like you say, your laddering improves.

  6. I'll share your embarrassment, as I knit like this on my first pair of hand-knit socks. It worked until I got to the heel turn. I switched and haven't done it since.

  7. I think we have all done that, and if it works for you then fine. Anyway, you learned something and gave enjoyment to others!!

  8. This is a totally understandable mistake! But I'm glad you've got it figured out and that it improves your laddering issue. That is going to be such a gorgeous sweater... and I even like it in reverse stockinette! :)

  9. I've heard of alot of people who knit in the round the wrong way - maybe you could start a trend?? Ok mistake of my week - I tried to knit socks, using the magic loop on a circular needle that was JUST too big..... it was a giant mess!!! But you learn from mistakes and having a regular knit night always helps!

  10. I have something even more embarrassing and really shows how dumb I can be sometimes...

    When I first started using DPNs (in my defense, I am a self-taught knitter), I didn't really look up how to do it and just did what I thought was right. Boy, was I wrong!!!

    I would knit with the next needle in the round (not the empty needle), cramming a bunch of stitches onto one DPN. Then I would transfer the stitches from the first needle to the empty needle. I can't believe that I knit entire pairs of socks, hats, etc this way! Then it suddenly clicked on day that I could just knit onto the empty needle, so have been doing it the right way ever since.

    The worst part... I taught my boyfriend at the time's sister how to knit. Then we broke up. I know that she's still at it as I see her on Ravelry from time to time. I only hope that she figured out how to do it the right way (or someone showed her)!

  11. Hehe! Sorry, I know I shouldn't laugh but that's really made me smile. I'm very impressed at you knitting sweaters inside out though! I'm now wondering whether I do any silly things that other people would notice :-S

  12. Oh gosh this really has put a smile on my face! I worry that I'm doing something drastically wrong too, but like you I don't have anyone to correct me!

    Oh well as long as I get there in the end haha.

  13. LOL! And I am only laughing because I have caught myself doing the very same thing--and now I am really careful when first starting a project to make sure I am doing it right side out. And boy, a whole sweater that way? Impressive. I am sure it is so nice to find some irl knitting friends--I know I treasure my little band of Monday night knitting friends!

  14. Aren't our brains utterly fascinating!?

  15. I was doing this for my first pair of socks, and I was getting just AWFUL ladders. I didn't think of the possibility that I was knitting wrong, but after trying all the other suggestions on the internet I finally stumbled upon a forum post that explained it.

    So don't feel embarrassed! You're definitely not alone!

  16. How funny! Although they do say that as long as you are producing fabric you're knitting the right way...

  17. hey, that's how I do it!

    I put it down to being self taught, sounds like a bit like yourself! If you haven't seen it done how are you supposed to know!!

  18. Woah! Did you turn your sweater inside out for the last post? Having fixed hundreds of knitting projects, this actually isn't as embarrassing (or wrong) as you think. :) At least you never forgot which side was the right side and suddenly switched directions or something crazy like that. :) I mean, hell, look at all the AWESOME STUFF you've knitted inside-out! It still works! I'm glad your laddering cleared up, though. That can be a tough problem to fix.

  19. I am with you on the whole having to teach yourself to knit. When I knit with DPNs at my LYS for the first time they were shocked at my horrible form. It works for you thing you have knit some amazing sweaters inside out!

  20. I always knit inside out! I find that it prevents ladders, especially with DPNs and I feel like I'm going faster, zooming around the inside track :O)
    I think that whatever works for you is the right way to knit really because I'm not going to change ;O)
    your sweater is looking like it is coming along nicely... yay!

  21. Well I live in the middle of nowhere with no knitting shops or knitting groups at all. Just a lot of wild life so Lord knows how many things I'm doing wrong. You're lucky to be starting a knitting group.....that sounds so fun! I find the internet to be quite helpful when I'm trying to learn new techniques but a knitting group sounds way more fun. But it's pretty impressive that you have turned out all that beautiful work while doing it the wrong way! :-) Makes you wonder if there really is a wrong way or maybe just different strokes for different folks!

  22. I don't think you were knitting wrong. I don't believe in "wrong" knitting. It was just different and maybe a little inconvenient at times.
    I believe that Peruvian knitters doing circular color work knit the way that you had been. I've heard that it makes their stranding more even.
    I would say that knitting with the right side out is a bit more fun when you have patterning going on, especially on a sock.

  23. OK, honestly by looking at your picture I couldn't tell what you were doing wrong. But once you explained it, I saw right away. I'm sure I do a lot of weird things, though not necessarily wrong. I never really learned to read pattern when I learned to knit, so it is very hard for me to understand things. I'm more of a visual person, so if I see someone doing it, I can usually follow. I guess my philosophy is if it works...

  24. Ah, but as far as I'm concerned there's never really a right or a wrong, just what you find works, and in the end you produced the same knitting :)

  25. I stared at your first picture for a long time before realizing what the problem was, because I used to do the very same thing! I'd knit several hats in the round just like that, until one day I decided to try it a different way, most likely because I saw someone else doing it was curious about it. I think they're both perfectly fine ways to knit in the round, though: it all comes down to preference. :)

    For what it's worth, when I first started knitting, I knit through the back loop for almost a year before realizing that my stitches looked oddly twisted compared to the pictures in my knitting books. The realization was definitely humbling!

    (Also, your sweater looks amazing!!) :)

  26. Lol, thats not so embarrassing, pretty cool actually! sometimes when I am knitting the start of small things (socks/mitts) they end up inside out while I knit them too!

  27. It's okay honestly. The thing about knitting and crochet and the like is that if you are happy then it doesn't matter. If the correction helps then great but your other technique still got you to the right point.

  28. Nice you found out, haven't knitted in the round in awhile, and can't even remember which way I saw it.......but you've got me curious.


  29. when I first learned continental knitting, I wrapped the yarn the wrong way and it made my knitting VERY VERY tight! took a cable class at a LYS and got the matter sorted out. You're not alone.

  30. I did that at first - are you left handed? When I first started socks they were all inside out and I had terrible ladders between my dpns. Don't feel silly! I showed two women how to turn their tubes the right way out at my last knit night :)

  31. I love this post. It made me smile. When I first started knitting socks, I knit them inside out. I thought the bumps were supposed to go on the outside, because who would want to walk on bumps (purl stitches).

  32. It's all good, Mama! I heard/read knitting inside out was great for Fair Isle b/c one would have better control over the floats.
    When I was learning how to knit a baby sock, I realized I was knitting backwards in the round, altho nothing I had knitted in the round was affected by it so far. I had issues reaching the heel turn section. The sts would be reversed. Then I found very pink.com's sock video on the heel turn and I realized I was joining in the round backwards and knitting in the wrong direction!

  33. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments and link. I'm sorry I haven't been reading blogs lately. I think I overdid it in NY and ended up with a bad bug or bout of the flu. Between work and trying to write posts about my trip, I haven't had time for much else.

    When I learned to knit I purled wrong for about two years! I even made sweaters. I was happy to learn how to purl properly, as my method made my knitting rather tight. I had a student who constantly turned her circular projects around each time she picked them up. She created some unusual-looking items!

    I've also made some sewing blunders--sewing things on backwards, cutting out too few items, etc. I think it's a spacial thing--I have to turn maps to face the directing I am going when I read them.

    Vogue Knitting Live is already scheduled for next year in NYC. I don't know if I'll be going, but I'll keep you posted.

  34. I'm finally learning how to knit. After getting my yarn cast on the double pointed needles I just set to knitting in the easiest way possible. After all, managing all those needles is hard enough for a crocheter! Anyway, about an inch or so in I realized that I too was "doing it wrong!" I can honestly say if I hadn't recently read your post I would never have known that I was doing anything wrong. Only one of the five books that I've been referencing even mentions working inside out, and when you're a beginner it's hard to make sense of the instructions!
    So thank you for sharing. Because of you I forced myself to turn it around so that I'm learning the right way from the start!
    By the way - you do beautiful work no matter if it was done wrong!!
    Take care!


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