When I first learned to knit, I was a stick-to-one-project kind of girl. I knit, knit, knit until I was done. As I learned new techniques and was exposed to the wide world of patterns, I started having Knitter's A.D.D. I couldn't stick to one project until it was finished. I was always itching to start something new. Quite often, I had three or four projects going at once. My mother, who knows a lot of stuff, gave me some advice. She told me that I shouldn't leave any knitting project on the needles for more than a day or two without knitting at least one row. The row of stitches that sat on the needles would appear stretched out and and make a visible line across the fabric. It's not that I didn't believe her. I do believe most of what my mother has told me (although I still have no recollection of sitting on the edge of a small cliff with my legs dangling over the side while on a vacation as a child, falling off the cliff and a having a kind stranger rescue me - but I do believe her because my sister has told me that she used to have nightmares about it). It's just that I kind of forgot. No. It's really that I just hoped she was wrong.
I had started to knit a pretty tie-front cardigan from the book Knitting Beyond Scarves. It's an ambitious project for me, because it forced me to knit a swatch to check my gauge (which is torture to someone like me who just wants to dig in to knitting the real thing). I got started, but then got sidetracked by baby kimonos and miters. I picked it up yesterday, after leaving it on the needles for, um, weeks, and started knitting. I watched the first few rows and thought it might be okay. After knitting about an inch, I realized that it wasn't okay. The row that had been sitting on the needles was stretched and very obviously different from the rest of the piece. Crap. Crap. Crap.
I didn't take a picture of it then, but I should have. It looked pretty bad. I decided to steam it with my iron, because in the reading I've done about blocking, I learned that blocking can help to make stitches look more even. Exactly what I needed. I filled my new $9.49 KMart special iron with water (ironing is against my religion, so there's no way I'm spending money on an iron) and got to steaming. I think it helped. It's not perfect, but it's better. Here it is:
I can still easily pick out the offending row, but I'm hoping that IF I finish this sweater, and IF it fits me, and IF I wear it, people won't point at my back and laugh. IF.
Listen to your mama. Mama knows stuff.