A Mistake in the Stars (and what I did about it)

Note from Sandi: Welcome to my little corner of Knitting Daily! Every Thursday, I'll be sharing stories of my knitting adventures, as well as some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. Thanks for coming by!

Today continues my story of the Star Light, Star Bright Baby Blanket, a free pattern from Knitting Daily.

My favorite reader email this past week on the subject of mistakes came from Linda H., a quilter and a knitter. Her teacher had suggested she ask  this question when contemplating what to do about a mistake in her quilts: "Is this visible to someone going by on a galloping horse?"

I like that. Perhaps I will take my little star blanket and go in search of a few helpful Mounties, and ask them if they will gallop past and tell me if they can see my mistake.

Mistake? What mistake?

The first row of stars was perfect; the stockinette between the rows was flawless. But midway through the second row of stars, I knew something was wrong: I was supposed to be on a wrong-side row, according to the chart, but the right side was facing me. At first I hoped it was just a row-counting error, so I carefully counted…and discovered I had added an extra row in the middle of the star.

Considering that this pattern has pattern stitches on both wrong and right sides of the fabric (instead of patterning on the right side and all purling on the wrong side), adding that extra row was not an obvious mistake to make. (Clever me!) It took me quite a bit of careful examination and comparison to the chart to figure out where the actual extra row was: between rows 8 and 9.









Looking at the row of stars-gone-wrong (sounds like a bad reality show), I figured they would pass the Mountie-on-a-galloping-horse test; however, if I was not going to rip back and correct the mistake, I was going to have to make an adjustment somewhere before the top of the star in order to get the top to look right. In other words: I was going to have to add another extra row to get things back on track.

Rip back or add the extra row?

Oh, c'mon. This is me we're talking about. You've probably already guessed what I did: I added the extra row, between rows 14 and 15, working the new row so that it followed the lines of the star and wouldn't stand out. In fact…I liked the end result so much that I went back and carefully studied the stitches of my mistake row ("Row 8.5") so that I could duplicate this version of the stars in the rest of the blanket.

Why not just rip back?

Knitting patterns, like cooking recipes, are not written in stone. If you're a beginner, or if messing around with patterns isn't your thing, then by all means, knit the pattern as written and enjoy the heck out of yourself. But if you're feeling a tiny bit adventurous, a mistake can lead to some interesting lessons in stitch reading, stitch architecture, and pattern construction. While studying my mistake in the stars, I learned a ton about charting lace patterns, lace structure, and how all the different sorts of decreases are used to get a certain effect.

I'm now done with the third row of stars. Do I care that the rows of stars won't match each other exactly? No…first, because it's a baby blanket, meant to be drooled on, and second, because the stars in the sky are all different from each other anyhow.

Knit with joy,
– Sandi

Next week: I'm moving house again, this time to a small town a short distance away. Thus, I am packing madly and will be using the little Bolero project to console myself between boxes. Unless I can't put down the starry blanket, that is… Stay tuned and together we'll see what I end up working on!

P.S. Let me know what you think! You can leave a comment below or even email me at sandi@knittingdaily.com.

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