With the Damson shawl complete, I have become utterly obsessed with another project on the needles: Melvie.

The last time you saw Melvie, it looked like a scarf. The latest manifestation of my Knit American project, Melvie is made out of Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn. After a short hiatus, I turned the scarf into a hem, and for the past two weeks, Melvie has looked like a skirt.

The pattern, from Sweatshop of Love, is simple, and as the designer promises, knits up fast. However, my heavy worsted yarn turned out to be more of a bulky, which knits up to a stiffer fabric than the worsted recommended in the pattern. The first time, the decreases were too sharp, so it looked like I was wearing a turnip. The second try, the side decreases were happening gently enough, but I was not decreasing enough stitches and the dress was baggy around my waist.

I was pretty sure I nailed it the third time: decrease gently at the sides but add a few extra decreases in back to pull the waist in and keep the dress fitted. This plan would have worked perfectly, if I had any ability to combine arithmetic and logic.

Problem: if you divide 180 stitches by two so there are 12 more stitches in the back half than the front half, how many stitches will you have in each half?

I divided 180 in half, took twelve stitches from the front and added them to the back, and took off. It occurred to me that 102 stitches for the back seemed like a lot more than 12 greater than the 78 stitches on the front, but I didn’t stop to count out the difference.

That might have been good, because 102 is actually 24 greater than 78. I considered my choices: rip out and get it right or fudge it and keep going. The Beaverslide yarn is remarkably sturdy for a Merino, but after two rippings, it was looking a little more frayed, and I was feeling even more frayed, so I fudged it and am proceeding.

People sometimes ask me if I would want to become a knitwear designer, now that I’ve gotten he knitting part down. The thing is, every time I reinterpret a design for a yarn other than that it was designed for, I am becoming a designer. A clumsy, accident-prone designer, but really, that little bit is more than enough to give me my fix.

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