Monday, February 05, 2007

In which I must add "crapademics" and "when knitting goes awry" as blog post labels.

Hrmph. Ever have a day when you wish you had just stayed in the safe, comfortable, and WARM confines of your bed? Okay, that's a rhetorical opener, because I know that you have. Everyone has, and I have, too. Today, in fact.

The universe appeared to be in proper working order upon my exiting the bed this morning, despite the freezing cold that is my apartment. I forged the cold, which was expected, albeit unpleasant, and since it was expected, it was handled with a long, hot shower and wrapping myself in a suitable number of clothing layers. I was looking forward to a day of working at home in the blissfully quiet confines of my apartment. In reasonable comfort, considering my layers of clothes. Before settling into a long day of productive work on studying for my imminently approaching preliminary exams (that qualify me to begin my PhD), I sat down for a small bit of knitting. Just a little. Just to give my fingers a little taste, finish off the back panel of my cable and rib jacket, and then get down to the business of boring-but-necessary school work.

As you may glean from the above photo (not the most stunning of photographs, but suitably so, as you shall see), I came oh-so very close to finishing the back panel of row after row after row of ribbing. Now, if that above photo appears to you as if I might have succeeded in my pre-work task, you might want to take a careful, close look at it again. Focus your attention to the left side of it, particularly the last few vertical ribs...

Yes, there it is. Right there. A HUGE mistake. A twisted rib that should, in fact, continue in twisted rib all the way up the back. Not stop half-way and become regular rib, as it, in fact, does. Right. Well. The options are obvious. 1) Rip out half of the back panel and re-knit it. Um... no, thanks. Do you know how much I hate knitting ribbing? Let's just say that it's enough that thus far I have only managed to knit two pairs of socks. Because I hate the monotony of ribbing. (Don't ask me why this sweater seemed like a good idea to me, because I have absolutely no logical response). 2) Subscribe to the "Aw, fuck it" school of knitting and move on with my life. And continue the cable and rib jacket, without any re-knitting. Just a little forgetting and being glad that the mistake rib is on the back and on the edge, likely to be mostly unseen. Too bad I'm an insufferable perfectionist. Who, it will surely be the case, will obsess over this mistake. Though I do like to blurt out a good, aw fuck! every now and again. And as impressive and joyful as Cara's miraculous cable-fix was, I'm afraid that kind of fix just doesn't apply here.

At this point, the back panel remains unripped.

And so, I resigned myself to doing my work. As part of said work, I contacted the appropriate persons in my department in an attempt to schedule my preliminary exams for late April (ack, ack!). I soon after received an email from the department secretary stating that I was not eligible to take my prelim exams this semester. Huh? (Can you sense the impending disaster-of-the-day part deux?) I quickly responded, asking for more information, unable to fathom what the bloody hold-up could possibly be. The response to my response was, well, disaster part deux. I had, it seems, missed the deadline to apply for PhD candidacy, a small bit of paperwork that is required in order to take the preliminary exams. Aw, FUCK. How this small but ├╝ber-important detail slipped my mind is beyond me. I have not yet related this little development to my prelim advisors yet, but it would seem that my prelim exams will not be taking place at the end of April. They will, instead, be happening, I am supposing, sometime at the end of summer or next fall...

So, tell me, do I rip or leave it as is and just live with the mistake? The cable and rib jacket, that is. The prelim fiasco, unfortunately, cannot be ripped, and I will, indeed, have to just live with the mistake.

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Blogger Carson said...

Oh Argh!
Arghey arghey argh argh...

I'm not sure I can offer a suggestion for either misfortune.

But you have my sympathies.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

You can drop back just those stitches--it is possible. Pain in the ass, but possible.

As for the prelim exams, urgh. But, if it helps, I did the same thing for my defense ("What do you mean there's a paperwork deadline?") and ended up defending the first day of the summer semester rather than the last day of the spring. In the long run, it all came out ok, although there was some wrath on the part of my advisor.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

I would reknit, or at least give laddering down and fixing a good try. Of course, that would look like crap, so then I would reknit. Others will try and sell you that galloping horse nonsense; I don't buy it.

As far as the PhD thing goes, I'll share my tale of woe (stupidity). Maybe a bit of comiseration will help. I sent in my little "final semester" card to the Registrar faithfully for 6 or 7 semesters running with the full intention of finishing each semester. If I didn't send the card in, I didn't have to pay tuition. I was also working a full-time job at that time; and so, each semester, although I made progress, I never actually finished. I paid several thousand $ of needless tution before I snapped out of it and finally got the beast done.

Now, suck it up and fix your sweater.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Laura B said...

Oh no! Oh no! I have nothing to add about the exams except sympathy.

I would drop back only the offending stitches on the sweater.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous brooke said...

I wonder if you left the mistake, do you think you would wear it a lot knowing it's there? From your post it sounds like you want it perfect and so I would re-knit it.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous naomi said...

Paperwork? You have to submit paperwork for your prelim? Ick. (I guess all they wanted from me was a list from which they would pick my committee.) But you should be able to have your prelim in mid-May, at least. Or can you maybe have your prelim when you'd scheduled it but then just not officially be a candidate until the summer term?

7:19 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

ya gotta rip it :)
Well if I have to rip out my completed tweedy aran cardi then you need to rip your too :)
Did I help??? *insert evil laugh*

8:21 PM  
Anonymous anne said...

You've already heard some commiseration to this effect, and will likely hear much more: EVERY grad student has a story like this about errant paperwork. I always find it unbelievable that I'm capable of the complex thinking required for a PhD yet can't be bothered to pay attention to deadlines or procedures. It sucks, for sure, but please don't beat yourself up thinking you're any stupider than anyone else about this sort of thing!

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Mintyfresh said...

oh man, that really sucks. So sorry you'll be unable to do the prelims. That is completely something I would have done.

As for your sweater--I, too, would rip back and fix it. There's uneven socks, and then there's a sweater.

Remember that frogging is actually kinda fun to do--it feels good, etc. Hold onto that and channel your frustration at crapademics (awesome coinage, btw) into that.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Liz K. said...

Oh, a healthy stream of profanity is required here! Shit! Piss! Ass!

My advice? Knit something else for a bit, and think about it a bit more. Step away from the rib and cable.

I've been wondering the whole time you've been blogging about this -- why not add some of those cables to the back of the sweater? I mean, if you have to rip it anyway, why not make it interesting in the re-knitting? I tried to find a decent pic online but I imagine you could do it. Especially now with the extra time you have with prelims being delayed?

Just a thought.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Nora said...

By the end of your post I was on the edge of my seat, both hands covering my mouth as I repeated these words: "Oh no, oh no!"

As for the sweater, I'm with Ashley and Michelle - don't rip, just drop those sts. Sometimes the dropped sts look like "crap" (as Michelle said) but you can 'fix' them - somehow.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

I really think the sweater is fix-able by just dropping the rib and knitting back up in a twist. Try it, please.

I just took my prelims, and... ugh. Don't worry about taking them in the fall, the little bastards aren't going anywhere. But perhaps when you talk to your advisor you might be able to squeak in past the deadline-- I know that some people in my department signed up a bit late.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Specs said...

I very nearly missed some paperwork this semester and had to face the grad program secretary being snotty with me. (It's so hard to be apologetic and groveling when people insist on being mean and difficult. Grr.) At least you can just defer to the next semester, which shouldn't affect going on the job market or anything dramatic.

As for the sweater? Well, it's going to be under your arm, right? So you could probably get away with it. I mean, if knowing it is there won't drive you crazy :)

11:22 PM  
Anonymous nova said...

Rip the sweater. Consider it a cathartic release for the misery that is errant paperwork. The pre-lims scheduling can not be made perfect but at least the sweater can... just my $ .02....

Good luck dealing with your advisor!

11:42 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I agree with Laura B., Michelle and several others who suggested dropping and laddering down only the affected stitches then reknit them. With a little tugging, prodding, and good blocking, the stitches will settle in where they are supposed to. That's been my experience, anyway.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Wow, that really stinks about the prelims. I probably would have cried in the office or something. Is there really nothing they can do to help you? Can any of your advisors help you out?

as for the sweater, put it a way for awhile, then rip it. After the sweater is finished with nice, perfect ribs, you'll be happy for it.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Elli said...

I would drop those stitches and hook them back up correctly. They'll probably end up a bit tighter than you'd like, but it'll look better than leaving them and you won't have to rip back half a sweater-piece!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't even talk about my comps without ranting. (zipping lips)

As for the knitting - oh, don't frog! Like Ashley, I totally think you can drop those two stitches and fix it with a dpn (and perhaps a crochet hook). If you are nervous, practice with a can do it!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

oh no!! (on both counts!) luckily, one can be semi-easily fixed....I'd just ladder down those stitches and re-twist them the way they should be - no need to rip the entire thing!

that is too bad on missing the PhD deadline - I can only imagine how many different pieces of paperwork is required for it and it was probably easy to overlook!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I'm so sorry for your crappy week! That totally sucks about deadlines and then top it off with a muddled rib! UGH!

I would frog it. I'm a totally frogger when it comes to botched knits. If there is an imperfection that is going to make me crazy then I fix it. You could try dropping just those stitches first and see if that works.

Good luck with it! I'm sure it will work out beautifully!

11:48 AM  
Blogger JulieFrick said...

Aw, darlin! I'm so sorry. I really appreciate all the "fuck" in this post, though. I'd been holding back on mine, and it's great to get a vicarious fuck now and then. HA! Just wait til you hear what I let pass me by! There must be some kind of forgetfulness bug going around. Seriously.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

You know you could try to ladder down first ... then if it still looks like crap you can aways rip!!!
Sorry about the blasted paper work!!
Let me know what your advisor has to say.
Hug & Kisses

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ugh. it's so not fair how paperwork can ruin everything! so sorry about the prelims (is that what they call qualifiers over there?), but on the upside, now you have more time to study.

as for the sweater, i agree with ashley: drop those suckers all the way down and pick them back up the other way. but i'd try dropping down & picking up only five rows or so first, just to make sure it's not going to noticeably alter the tension of the fabric.

2:51 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Too bad about your exams... My hubby is a PhD candidate... I know there is LOTS of paper work and deadlines for scholarships, papers, conferences etc... I stay out of it all.

For the sweater I think I would try to fix it without ripping first. I that didn't work I'd put it aside for a while and then come back to it.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I would rip it. But that is because I am crazy OCD knitter. Sorry though--that really really sucks.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous diana said...

Leave it. It's on the back and you'll never see it.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops! 2 ginormous mistakes in one day?!
hope the exam thing works out. i'll be praying to the study gods for you on that one.
as for the sweater, i don't even think that the knitting gods could help you. you know the 2 options, and i agree they are both tough. i am a perfectionist but also lazy {perhaps this is why i am in a constant state of conflict?} so i am struggling on your decision too. i would want to re-knit but am way too lazy to rip it all back. then if i think to leave it, i know the thought of it would haunt me everytime i want to wear it. perhaps just throw it at the bottom of the knitting basket for now? oh no, then you are just procastinating, and that won't do either. so now you know what to do, right? ;0)

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Personally, I would leave would just go with the mistake (trying to convince myself it wasn't that bad) then regret it every time I looked at the sweater.

You aught to rip it out - then take a break from the sweater and work on one of you other projects for a while.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Sybil said...

Sadness. I suppose the answer depends on how anal you are. Will it make you totally crazy every time you see that sweater? Or can you live with it? I think if it won't make you nuts you should let it go. It's quite probable that no one else will notice. I've been trying to teach myself to let things go. It's tough.
As for the missed deadline I suggest wine and chocolate. It won't fix it but you'll feel better.

4:09 PM  
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8:55 PM  

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