Every pattern starts with a reminder to us, the knitters, lest we forget: "Take time to check your gauge". Today, I share with you something even more important than gauge *hears a collective gasp across the knitti-verse*. Perhaps it is the naïveté of being a beginner in a craft where so many have gone before that I dare even suggest that this one thing is more important than gauge. Perhaps I will go down in history as being wise, and brave enough to exclaim "The emperor has no clothes". I will take shelter in the relative anonymity that is the internet and forge on. I will open myself up for potential finger-nibbling by gremlins. Heck, I'll just say it:
Reading a pattern correctly is more important than making gauge.
*looks around the room and notes a distinct lack of gremlins*
Well then, I guess I am free to explain myself. Knit something to gauge, and whatever you knit may fit, but it could be non-functional or unwearable in public. Your sweater may have sprouted a third arm. Your glove may have forgotten your opposable thumb. None of it really matters if you can't read the pattern correctly. Why then, don't pattern makers also warn "Take time to understand the pattern"?
Now, I realize in posting this that experienced knitters will get a good chuckle at this. But beginning knitters out there may learn a good lesson from my misfortune. My pattern, for a pair of Mary Jane Baby Booties read as follows:
Cast off 9 sts (1 st remains on needle), k2, slip these 3 sts onto a safety pin, cast off 3 sts...
So, I did the following:
I cast off 9 sts
I knit 2
I moved my NEXT 3 sts to the safety pin
I continued casting off 3 sts.
This produced a bootie with a very inconveniently placed strap:
Cast off 9 sts (leaving one on the needle)
Moved THOSE three sts to the safety pin.
In the end, all was right with the world. The resultant bootie looked like this:
That is why I kept that first, failed bootie. I will put it in a box somewhere, and when I feel like taking a trip down memory lane, I will find it (probably under a Vanilla Ice cassette tape), laugh at it, remember lessons learned, and I'll realize just how much I've learned and how much is left to know.