4.10.2012

Beyond Knit and Purl: Review and Giveaway!

"Every week students ask me the same questions: What’s easy to knit? What’s a good first project? Where can I find good patterns? And inevitably:I’m tired of scarves. What’s next? 

This book is my answer to all those students, to help them find their way once they know how to knit and purl.  All new knitters have run headlong into the same challenge that I did when I first started knitting: there’s a big gulf between knowing how to knit and purl and knowing how to choose and successfully work a pattern." Kate Atherly
Beyond Knit and Purl fills a gap in knitter's knowledge.  Often times knitter's take a beginning class on knitting and then are let loose into the knitting world, unsure of how/where to go next.  Unless you have a network, or mentor, choosing your next projects and understanding how to read patterns can be a huge obstacle.  In her new book Kate breaks down all of the skills you will need to be tackling knit patterns independently.  

One of the things that Kate does in this book is not make any assumptions (and  you know what they say about assumptions) about your knitting skills.  This means she explains EVERYTHING you need to know to tackle the patterns in the book.  The first section on choosing appropriate patterns is brilliant, there are charts to help you match your skills to a patterns included techniques.  There are fabulous sections on chosing yarn, swatching, joining yarn, weaving in ends, increasing and decreasing, and so much more,  The goal of this book is to ensure that you experience SUCCESS with your  knitting.  How can that be a bad thing?  The book is chock full of basic patterns that will help reinforce the skills she explains in the first half of the book.  Want to see them?
Reading through Beyond Knit and Purl the last few days I have learned many tidbits that will only add to my knitting/teaching arsenal.  I especially love all the Knitterly tips contributed by Kate's colleagues and students and her Dirty Secrets that are spattered throughout the book.

It's no secret that Kate has been my technical editor for the last few patterns I've released... working with her has been such a treat as she makes sure I don't make assumptions about your knitting knowledge base in my patterns.  I'm honored to be on Kate Atherly's Beyond Knit and Purl blog tour, Thanks Kate and Shannon!!  Stop by Marnie's blog tomorrow to learn even more about this great publication!

So, would you love to win a pdf copy of this book?  Share a funny assumption or mistake you made when you were first learning how to knit and a way to get in touch with you.  Leave a comment below by April 16th at noon for your chance to win.

Want to hear/see my first BIG mistake?
I decided to knit my honey a lovely BIG cardigan in worsted weight superwash at a loose gauge... without understanding anything about gauge, the effects of yarn weight, and the characteristics of superwash.  By the time I finished knitting it, sewed in the zipper, and got it on his body it had GROWN.  I don't think he'll ever let me take a pic of it for you to see.  I should have knit the gauge WAY tighter and chosen a smaller size and probably not used superwash.... if I only had had this book back then!

52 comments:

  1. I am still a new knitter. I find that I stay away from some patterns as they seem too difficult still, or that the pattern looks complicated. While I have made lots of mistakes I have yet to find any of them funny. Talk to me after I finish the cardigan I am knitting. (tonight I'll be ripping back sleeve #2, which I had to do with #1 also)

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  2. Well, when I started knitting socks I knitted them with the needles furthest away from me. So basically I was knitting backwards. Guess what the socks still came out beautiful. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  3. I am a still a new knitter as well and could really use a book like this. It sounds like it is absolutely chock full of great info.

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  4. When I started I was afraid of making scarves too short. Because of that my very first stockinette scarf ended up being over 5 feet long and super heavy because I used a bulky yarn on small needles. What seemed like a ton of yarn and months later, it was too heavy to wear so it is now my emergency scarf stored in my car.

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  5. Most recently...I just finished knitting a beautiful ruffle scarf from lace weight yarn. After all the increase rows it ended up with 1600 stitches on the needles, so needless to say, it wasn't a quick knit. It turned out beautiful, but when I put it on it made me look like Bozo the Clown! I guess it will make a lovely Christmas gift for one of my size 4 friends!

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    1. @Susan, I can't believe you counted all those stitches!

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  6. 'When I first learned to knit' ,meant a trip each evening after school to my Granny's house ,just after the war , things were still scarce ,so I was provided with two very thin guauge needles(part of four sock needels used for making socks for soldiers ) ,and some khaki coloured wool ,(I am left handed just to make things more fun !)I would get my lesson ,then go home and do abit more erm knitting ,and at School play time knit a bit more !my knitting got tighter and tighter ,so I had to force the stitches along the needle with my teeth ! back to Granny's after school where she promptly ripped it all out and we started again,Grr thanks to my Gran's determination ,I finally got it ...and went on to make baby clothes progressing to fair isle and arran,for my four children ...Well you did ask ..hee hee ..love Jan xx

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  7. When I very first started knitting, I assumed that you had to pull the yarn after each stitch to make it look tighter. When I had trouble sticking my needle into the stitch on the next row, I switched to smaller needles... because that made sense to me.
    In the end, I had a garter stitch scarf that was practically unbendable!

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  8. When I very first started knitting, I assumed that you had to pull the yarn after each stitch to make it look tighter. When I had trouble sticking my needle into the stitch on the next row, I switched to smaller needles... because that made sense to me.
    In the end, I had a garter stitch scarf that was practically unbendable!

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  9. Ha! My first cardigan was a superwash cardigan, too. I knew enough to swatch, but I couldn't imagine why on earth you would have to wash the swatch. :) One of these days, I should frog the thing. I can probably get a sweater AND a scarf out of that yarn!

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  10. im a self taught knitter and in the beginning it was a bit rough..i twisted all my stitches on the purl side for quite a while until i realized my mistake :) raineoc@yahoo.com

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  11. I taught myself to purl. This was before youtube. I did it wrong and for YEARS all of my purl stitches twisted. Knitting in the round, you really didn't notice, but the ribs were a little tighter. Knitting flat, the stiches looked off, but I never noticed. Until I almost had a cardigan done, and was showing it to a friend and she asked how I got that great twisted stitch look... I still have the cardigan, I haven't frogged it yet to remind myself that it's okay to ask smarter people for help :)

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    1. I'm a fairly recent self-taught knitter, and I TOTALLY did the same thing until about four months ago...and didn't realize it until I was done with the first side and two-thirds of the way through the second side of a friend's overdue baby blanket. I don't have the heart to frog it after working on it for a year in total (and yes, it's huge, roughly 40"x40" pre-blocking.) Thankfully she doesn't knit (yet), so she doesn't see the difference in stitches on the second side...but even when she does, it'll still be nice and warm, and the story is worth a good laugh! E-Mail is cgbaileyAThotmailDOTcom.

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  12. My very first cable project was a bit of a 'miss'. I was using different colors (not sure why) and so was having difficulties with this one giant cable and the extra strands. I took it to a guy I worked with, he was a fabulous knitter, and he turned the sweater inside out and under all those strands was a lovely cable. ha ha. Funniest thing I ever saw. I never did finish that sweater and it was a really nice silk blend. But I will always remember Randy chuckling over my innie cable.

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  13. My first attempt at a vest for me was a disaster - I didn'[t really know about gauge in the sense of the fabric that would be completed - shall we just say the vest was not fitted right and also rather see through! The book looks great. Many thanks C

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  14. When I was a real beginner, I was making a ruffle scarf and without knowing it, I knit going in the wrong direction, basically doing a real long short row. I looked really lopsided! I would love to win the book. thanks!

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  15. When my Mom first tried to teach me to knit it was a disaster. At first my stitches were so loose the needles kept falling out which was very frustrating. Mom suggested I snug the stitches up a bit so I did that .... so much so that she had to use a razor blade to get them off the needles. They would NOT move. Her solution to my problem? As your grandmother! lol A few years later, my first "real" project (beyond garter stitch scarves) was a fisherman knit sweater ... cables (which I had never done before) and all. My Mom chuckled but I had the sweater done in about 6 weeks! And that included having to keep ripping out 'cause it wasn't right until I realized it was the pattern and not me so I had to rewrite the directions.

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  16. For my first project without Mom's supervision, I knit up a wonderful oversized pullover with a super intricate cable pattern up the front, on the sleeves, even in the ribbing. It took weeks to finish. It was a little big - even for an oversized sweater, but I figured I'd just dry it a bit in the dryer after washing and it would tighten right up. I washed it and dryed it - then did it again and again and again. There was no difference in the size, but the yarn melted. I had bought acrylic instead of wool. It turned into a melted pile of plastic. Yup, I can finally laugh at that!

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  17. When I was 14, I learned to knit from Debbie Stoller's Stitch n Bitch. She wrote a pretty compelling paragraph on blocking, and so when the scarf I made refused to lay flat, I drenched it in water and pinned it out to dry.
    The next morning I woke up, unpinned the scarf and- aslas!- it still curled up! I scoffed at "blocking" for months before realizing that 1) my scarf was in stockinette stitch and 2) 100% acrylic yarn.
    Le sigh.

    grandmastatus on Ravelry

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  18. When I got back into knitting I wanted to knit a scarf. I didn't believe the lady at my LYS when she told me that if I knit a plain stockinette scarf, that it would curl. I did end up following her advise and knitting a ribbed scarf, but in the back of my mind, I didn't think stockinette would curl. Now I know better! Thanks for the chance to win!
    marilynknits on Ravelry

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  19. marjieonsabra on RavelryApril 10, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Many years ago I wanted to make a Fair Isle type ski sweater for my husband. (My first project had been a similar sweater in much lighter wool that worked out perfectly). The moment of truth came when he tried to put it on -- just one row in the yoke was too tight, so much so that he could not get it past his neck! We were afraid that he would have a high pitched voice had he been able to get it on. Time has a way of lessening the sting of this mishap and we can now laugh about it, but I was devastated at the time because I was so pleased to have made something just for him.

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  20. My first sweater was an Irish fisherman's sweater. I didn't understand that ribbing is fewer stitches per inch than cables on a reverse stockinette field. I intended the ribbing to draw in, but instead it flares out. Oh well, still love and wear the sweater.

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  21. My mom taught me to knit when I was 5 yr. old. She is right handed. I'm lefthanded. I never knew I was knitting righthanded til I was an adult and was preparing to teach a friend to knit. She said "you can't teach me to knit you are left handed!

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  22. Like most knitters I started off with scarves. Scarves are easy and really don't have to fit. When I felt like it was time to try a sweater, I asked a customer (who said she knitted all the time) if she would help me. I cast on according to the pattern and went to town knitting. I had it made up to the underarms and thought to try it on. It was tight, and I wanted it to be a little looser so instead of continuing on, I took the whole thing out. When I asked my "knowledgeable" instructor how much I should add, her advice was to double the stitches. Having never tried a sweater before, and being a total sweater knitting novice, and thinking she knew what she was talking about, I said ok, and got after it again. I finished the sweater and needless to say, my husband and I could have worn it....at the same time.

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  23. The biggest knitting mistake I ever made happened when I kept clicking on links about knitting and having to sign in to a webiste. I didn't feel like signing up to be able to download patterns so I refused to do it that for a few months. I eventually did sign up. That site was Ravelry...

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  24. I, too, have a story about a wonderful sweater I knit for my husband. It was my first sweater. We raised the alpaca, Traci, from a cria. Her first shearing, I took the fluff, spun it into a beautiful worsted weight yarn, and started merrily knitting away! I kept "trying" the sweater on Tim by holding it up to him, thinking, hmmmm, something's not right, it's too small! So I kept knitting, spinning more fluff as I ran out of yarn. It took me over a year to get the thing done. When he tried it on, it fit him like a dress and the arms came down to his knees! Needless to say, he fell on the floor rolling in laughter. I was so po'd that I threw it in the washer thinking I would shrink it a bit. It now would fit a 5 year old but it would have to be a very STRONG five year old, as it probably weighs about 40 lbs! I keep it as a reminder of what temper can do. Oh, yeah, and I cut a piece out and made the cutest dog sweater for my sister-in-laws puppy after her first haircut, so not a total loss!

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  25. A funny assumption when I was first learning to knit....The funniest assumption was that K1, P1 ribbing meant Knit one row, purl one row. Yup! That was a funky looking scarf.

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  26. I taught myself to knit from a leaflet many, many years ago. The subject of gauge never came up, so I never understood why my knits never came out to the size I was expecting. Even though my knitting has progressed since then, I can probably still use the information in this book.

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  27. I learned to knit when I was a child and I don't remember I ever made big mistakes, at least until I had to make cardigans for my newborn son ... too narrow neck, armhole sleeves insufficient ... a disaster: )

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  28. I assumed that I should slip stitches knit-wise. For a scarf, I was to slip every third stitch for three rows. Man those twisted stitches got tight! It still looked good though.

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  29. When my husband and I were first dating, I decided to knit an argyle pullover for him. It was done in the round. Up to this point, I'd only knit single color simple scarves where I never worried about guage.I made 3 assumptions - my guage(what ever that was) would be perfect, color work was easy, and men don't stretch the facts. I spent about 3 months on the project, including knitting through a bout with pneumonia. The sweater turned out beautiful! When it was done, I proudly presented it to him and he tried it on. Well that's when my assumptions got me into trouble. The argyles were beautiful and not too difficult after a bit of practice. But the sweater was about 10 inches too long and at least 12 inches too wide. So, I learned the 'check your guage' lesson, but that only accounted for a part of the 'over size'. My biggest incorrect assumption was trusting the chest size my husband claimed he had (48")! Needless to say, I was disappointed and I frogged it. We've been married for 30 years, I still have the balls of yarn, but haven't yet managed to reknit it. That'll teach him to misrepresent the facts.

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  30. My first knitting project was a sweater for my daughter. I followed the pattern and it came together nicely. When it was finished it fit her perfectly (I'm one of those fortunate people who get standard gauge without trying.) But I was really disappointed that the hem kept rolling up the first time she wore it (in family photos!) and didn't settle down until it was washed. I now understand all about blocking and how important it is to give that 'finished' look!

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  31. I am a beginner knitter. My grandmother taught me the garter stitch when I was a schoolgirl, and while I loved the feeling that I got when I was knitting, I was not committed to it as a hobby once summer was over. Last fall I picked up a knitting book, went to my LYS (although at the time I didn't know what those three letters meant!), and picked up needles and began my first scarf, to be followed by many more. I am now completely committed...for life! I "graduated" to a baby blanket in January, which was my first experience on circular needles and using markers. But one morning, on a day off, I decided to get some knitting done, even though I wasn't feeling well and a little voice inside said, "don't knit when you have a headache." I should have listened. I try to be consistent about counting stitches after each row, but that morning I wasn't. After four rows of 120 stitches, I decided to count...one stitch too many in one of the sections. I could not for the life of me see where I had added. I was in the last quarter of the blanket, with the Easter deadline looming. I didn't want to frog. I was too afraid to lose everything on the circular needles, all the little purl heads disappearing into one another, and the knit heads gaping. But once I calmed myself down and laid it flat on the table, I saw the error. When I joined the yarn, I had added a loop and it put the marker off. It was the marker that saved the day. The error occurred about four rows back, 4 x 120 or 480 stitches earlier. I was still too afraid to frog, so I worked backwards, undoing each stitch, from right to left. It took most of the afternoon. But good news is that I finished it on time. I have tried to choose my projects in a way that I build on skills and techniques acquired and that add new ones; in this way the project seems attainable but also challenging. This books sounds wonderful, and I would be grateful to add it to my library. Thank you for the chance! I am alaPenelope on Ravelry.

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  32. after years of self-taught knitting, I have only just realised there was such a thing as twisted-purl. and all my garments have been done that way! I much prefer the non-twisted... my 9yo daughter is trying to extend beyond scarves so this book would be wonderful for us both!

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  33. I learned to knit when I was 7 and after knitting for many years with one sweater under my belt, I decided to knit my fiance a vest for a wedding present. I picked out the yarn (green, my favorite color), the vest pattern, and the beautiful cable stitch pattern and went to work. For months I knit. We exchanged gifts and I found out he doesn't like green, no he hates green. He threatened to dye it brown. How dull! The vest survived 4 moves in 2 states over 37 years. It has a huge moth hole in the back and will be donated to a friend who makes jewelry out of felted wool. I am yarngirl52 on ravelry (Debbie)

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  34. I was taught to knit, just the knit stitch mind you, by my grandmother as a child. I hadn't knitted in YEARS. When I finally picked it back up, and took a class, I figured out the knit stitch I was doing was actually a knit-through-the-backloop. oops.

    What a great book!!! I am jhoops7 on ravelry.

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  35. I assumed - for years! - that "pick up and knit X stitches" meant that you shoved the needle through X stitches (or loops or whatever you could poke it through) and then you knit the stitches along the needle. It wasn't until I took a class about 4 years ago that I learned that it was a much more delicate (and attractive) process. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  36. Big ol' knots when casting on and off. I sometimes struggle with in when I'm anxious and in a haste but have gotten much better about it. Sounds like a great book! SudsyMaggie@gmail.com

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  37. When I knit my first sweater, I knew nothing about yarn substitution. I used an acrylic in place of the cotton blend called for in the pattern. That sweater could practically stand up by itself! It was stiff as a board.

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  38. I learned to knit as a young child, but only the very basics. In college I started knittIng a simple garter stitch scarf, and finished it just after arriving in Norway for a study abroad... except I couldn't remember how to bind off! I had to call my mom back in the US and have her guide me through binding off on the phone. Luckily it worked, and during my stay there my knitting skill became much more advanced. :)

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  39. I didn't know there should be slack in the yarn when doing color work. Needless to say, my first attempts were VERY scrunched. But I never took a class, just had my mother or a friend show me something, and it was decades ago. It's a lot easier to get good information in the age of Ravelry and YouTube! ~Justine Lark

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  40. Well, my big mistake is similar to yours. Of course, I didn't realize what had gone wrong until years later when reading a Yarn Harlot book about the girl that keeps buying more and more yarn for a sweater while everyone in the group knows it's too big but her. Which is why, I have a GINORMOUS seed stitch sweater dress in cashmere/merino instead of a fitted little sweater that skims my hips. the yarn was too heavy, knit at too loose a gauge and then blocked aggressively (since that is what I'd done with a lace shawl). It's a $100 disaster... I've still never garnered the strength to rip it out since it was my first attempt at a sweater....

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  41. I knit a sweater that called for aran weight yarn out of chunky/bulky weight. I got gauge but didn't realize how thick and stiff the final sweater would be. Not really wearable. So I thought maybe I could lightly felt it and cut up the resulting fabric to use in another project. Well, this being my first time felting I overdid it. What resulted was a sweater shape in the dimensions that might fit a baby, but about an inch thick!
    naomil1@verizon.net

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  42. This is an awesome giveaway. Thank you for the chance to win!
    I remember knitting using wooden drawing pencils one time that I didn't have any needles available. Otherwise, one mistake that still happen to me often is finding myself knitting with the tail of the yarn.

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  43. I have made a lot of mistakes. My problem is that I keep learning some lessons over and over. I need a book to guide me as I rely on my Ravelry friends which is great. My worst mess was a felted pair of slippers. So cute, but end up 6 inces long and flat. I used the wrong type yarn.

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  44. Sleeves on a sweater. I read the directions and had a question. However, I just kept knitting and of course, it turned out very wrong. It took a long time to rip it out. Ugh!
    LynnIL ravelry

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  45. I knot a poncho for my daughter that called for a variety of yarn types, textures etc. I substituted a wool yarn with a chenille yarn - and I used some superwash, and some mohair, and some ribbon yarn - it was supposed to be FUNKY! But when washed, the Mohair felted, the chenille wormed all over the place and the superwash stretched out. It was a MESS! I still have it int he closet as a reminder of "what not to do!"
    SareBearKnits on rav

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  46. Mine were a pair of socks in Noro - I decided to splurge and decided to finally learn to knit some socks. This was before I knew anything about measuring feet, or superwash, or negative ease, or gauge. The socks fit, though a little baggy, so I kept going. And then I cast off. I didn't think to do a loose bind off and now it's too tight for a foot to go through. And I wove those ends in good, too, and felted them a little to make sure they wouldn't come loose. But now the lone sock is now used to store bits and bobs. I would rip back, but dare not do it with Noro, since it's not entirely tightly spun.

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  47. The first time I knit intarsia I thought I was being clever buy making my stitches tight and my floats tight. It looked great on the outside but was so tight it had no give at all, so it couldn't be worn.

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  48. I wanted to knit a T-shaped "Knit for Kids" charity sweater and convinced myself that I didn't have to waste time worrying about gauge, because whatever I turned out "would fit somebody somewhere!" But because I neglected to adjust the length in proportion to the much-larger-than-gauge width, I ended up with a front suitable only for an extremely squatty little girl with incredibly long arms. Frogged!

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  49. LaurelFaye@nodakyarn My first project was a color block sweater. Didn't really know how to put it together and put my sleeves in sort of backward.

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  50. Several years ago, taking up knitting again after not have knit in years, I started a blanket. I wanted a BIG blanket, so I cast on many stitches. Apparently not having any clue about gauge, just started knitting. It was on a circ so I couldn't see how big it was. I kept knitting and knitting and knitting, until my family demanded that I bind off, since they were sick of looking at this project on my needles. So I finished and bound off. IT.WAS.WIDE! Very.wide. I cut it in half and bound it all the way around with blanket binding. I had made two decent sized blankets. Yikes!

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