1. Playing yarn chicken..and losing. One of the things I'm still learning about designing is exactly how much yarn a design will use. When I set out to design my East Farleigh Bridge shawl I intended it to use one full skein of Wollmeise Pure. What I like about that yarn is the generous yardage. For starters you get 150g in each skein, and then each one is often overweight, giving you between 550 and 600 yards of fingering weight to play with. Unfortunately I cut it just a little too fine on my sample shawl and ended up having to cut off my cast-on tail and use that to finish my cast-off when I ended up with about 30 stitches left to cast off and about two inches of yarn left to do it!!
2. Calculating yardage using the wrong brand of yarn. This one is related to the last one. Not wanting to run out of yarn for a pair of socks I was making from leftover yarn from another project, I weighed what I had. I had 80g. Popping the figures into a calculator I reckoned I had just over 300 yards of fingering, which should be enough for socks for me. I have small feet and I don't like long legs on my socks. So I just couldn't understand why I got to the end of the first sock and found I'd used 50g of the skein, leaving me with only 30g and not enough yardage for the second sock. And then the penny dropped. 300 yards is only the length of 80g when you've got close to 400 yards in 100g. It's no good calculating the yardage you have based on the yardage of yarn you're not actually knitting with! When the yarn you're using is advertised with more like 340 yards in 100g, you're not going to have enough.
3. Not swapping the needle size where indicated in the pattern. Last year I made a pair of beautiful colourwork mittens. They begin with a ribbed cuff in a smaller needle size before moving up a size to work the rest of the hand. I had done that correctly on the first mitten, but I only realised when I tried on the second mitten and found it to be noticeably smaller than the first that I had forgotten to change the needle size all the way back at the cuff second time around. Luckily I was able to "grow" the second one a little by blocking and they do both fit, just one more loosely than the other. Read the pattern, people!
4. Not fully appreciating the qualities of what your yarn is made from. I made the same mistake twice in two cardigans in the same year. In my defence, one was actually made using the recommended yarn for the pattern, and both contained an amount of silk which I hadn't worked with before, so I hadn't realised how much silk relaxes once it's washed and worn. I also concede that the swatch I knitted clearly wasn't big enough to allow for the effect of the weight of a cardigan in wear. However, I wasn't expecting that the cardigan that started out as a UK size 10 (and fit well) would end up a generous size 18 (and would have allowed room for a second person in there with me!). I somewhat optimistically tried blocking it back down (nope!), tried stabilising the shoulders and across the back with crochet chains (nope!), and in the end donated it to my size 18 sister - and it has now grown further and is too big for her as well! What makes it worse is I made the same mistake on another cardigan (different pattern, different yarn) not long afterward, and have been sworn off both silk yarns and cardigans ever since!
5. Biting off more than I could chew. Last September I got a notion to design a headband. I'm not usually a headband wearer but it seemed like fun, and it was. By the following day I had a second headband design finished too. By the third day I not only had a third headband designed and finished, but I also had the idea for an entire collection of headbands. I would use different construction methods, different yarn weights, different stitch patterns, and I had already thought up six so I thought "why not make it seven, one for each day of the week?" I set up the ebook on Ravelry, put up the first three patterns, and set it so that customers could buy the individual patterns, or the entire collection which would be at a reduced price while the collection was still incomplete, increasing gradually as the patterns were added until the final price when it was complete. It went really well until I got the fifth one loaded up and then I hit what I can only describe as "headband fatigue". I still had a sixth idea but was drawing a blank on the seventh. I didn't really want to make up the sixth one there and then as there are other things to knit in the world besides headbands. Problem being, I had already had two customers buy the complete collection so I had to go ahead and finish it. It was a month before number six went in, another month before the seventh and final pattern was added, and now I think I'm going to take a rest from headbands! I only have one head, after all!
And finally, while I'm talking about errors, I'm going to include one near miss as well. This was only last month and I can't believe I nearly managed such a rookie mistake! I was going away for a knitting weekend with friends which we had been planning for literally months. The weeks and days before departure had been filled with online chat about which projects and yarns people would be bringing to work on and to swap with one another. I had narrowed it down to three projects (bear in mind, this was only for one weekend, but it's good to have a choice, right?!). I'd packed my yarn, I'd packed my patterns, I'd checked my notions bag for tape measures, scissors, stitch holders, markers, pen, post-its, safety pins, darning needles. I'd packed the yarn I was giving to a friend to finish off her own project. I'd packed clothes, toiletries, food. It was only as I was about to set off and made one final check of my "things to pack" list that I realised I hadn't packed any knitting needles!! Not one! I had no works-in-progress so wouldn't even have had needles in those. I'm sure it wouldn't have been a disaster, as when you're going away with 12 other knitters, surely one of them will have a pair you can borrow, but really?! That would have been an epic mistake!!
What's been your funniest knitting mistake?