The return (and exit) of Miss Q

The Q is back!


Although I’ve been devoting a lot of my time to a secret sewing project, I have squeezed in a few repeats of the Curlicue here and there.

But I’m feeling really down. As more and more sections are attached to one another, the puckering along the middle “star” portion is impossible to ignore. I mean, impossible to ignore. Betty (en español) noticed it, too!

While you look at the following photo, keep in mind that pictures of handknits tend to flatten and smooth the fabric, okay?

GAH! I’m not sure what to do. It’s not pretty and I would be embarrassed to give this as a gift.

The other frustrating thing is that I can see exactly what’s wrong with the pattern, what needs to be changed to make it flatter. However, this is a 100% inflexible pattern, there’s no wiggle room whatsoever, so changing it would involve completely and totally reworking the directions, from the first row to the last, and test-knitting a few big-ass blankets in the process (and no one is paying me the big bucks to stay home and do that).

I’m THIS close to switching to a different pattern while the baby is still in the mommy’s belly.

What a disappointment and waste of time.

Edited to add: Since the yarn is cotton/acrylic, and since I don’t expect the mom to do anything other than throw the blankie in the washer and dryer, I have no hopes for any sort of blocking miracle. Also, there is no hope of additional sections helping matters because the puckered sections (5, for example) already have all the other sections around them attached.

Well, I’m off for a long weekend sans internet access – see you all on Monday!


51 thoughts on “The return (and exit) of Miss Q

  1. Kathy

    I take it the bulk won’t come out with blocking? What a dissappointment after all that diligent work. You could make it a design “feature” – what, these puckers? It’s supposed to do that…

  2. Diana

    Maybe once the other sections of the star are in place, the puckering will stop? This could be wishful thinking, but is it possible that it just needs those final pieces to pull out the puckering?

  3. Liz Cadorette

    I know you’re a perfectionist and that you will probably feel compelled to ignore this, but seriously? That is a HUGE, incredibly loving gift to create, and it will get used for a drooling, pooping, peeing-on-it-sometimes-during-diaper-accidents, spit-upping baby — they will LOVE IT, puckering and all. Don’t give up! Keep going, block it within an inch of its life, and give it as intended!

    That would be my advice, anyway — and of course free, unsolicited advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. 🙂

  4. Stephanie

    I don’t have anything additional to add. I think you have to go forward with it on the chance that finishing the other sections will fix the puckering. You won’t know until you try (and of course you know why it’s puckering – that’s just who you are). Ok, just saw your edit, so I don’t know what to tell you. Sorry it isn’t working out – so much work and it’s so pretty (even with the puckering)

  5. Laura

    I’m so sad to see that! I was planning to knit the blanket for my still-a-bun-in-the-oven niece/nephew. I guess I’m not entirely surprised to see SOME puckering (that’s what you get when you force straight things into curves) but the puckering seems excessive. 🙁

  6. Peg

    I am a non-blogger who found your site via Mag Knits (great socks by the way). I have seen this pattern before, and if I recall it was drapped over a chair in the photo. I think you have discovered the reason. I agree with those who say keep going. This is an heirloom treasure even with puckers – as a mom of small babes i would have been honored to have such a breathtaking gift bestowed upon one of my loves.

  7. Rosa

    As a mom to 2, I love receiving handmade things. The use that it will get as a blanket is immeasurable. It will probably develop its own quirks after delivered to the recipient. Don’t frog! Don’t give it up. Finish and give it with the love that you are making it with. Good luck. It truly is looking beautiful.

  8. Melissa

    So it looks like there’s too much fabric where the edges of rows meet up with ends of rows (I really can’t think of a better way of phrasing that). What kind of fix were you thinking? Row gauge/stitch pattern?

    I went back to look at the pattern shot, and it looks like there’s hardly any scallop to the edge, like the leading edge of 3 (etc) was pulled out as much as possible. Have you considered blocking what you’ve got?

  9. Wannietta

    If blocking does not help, then you need only come up with a story that explains (in great detail with no verifiable elements) why The Blanket must never be seen laying flat. It can be tucked bunchily around the baby, artfully (yet casually) laid to rest on the floor/bed/chair, or cleverly folded to hide any offending puckers (provide a diagram to recipients with vague references to consequences if the folding instructions are not followed to the letter). I know that if we (the Royal We that means “you”) give this some thought it will be the start of the Knitted Q Blanket Urban Legend, putting the “boyfriend sweater” legend to shame.

  10. Zarah

    I feel your pain — how frustrating to follow a pattern “to the T” and then have a problem like this? Especially when you don’t discover the problem until there are sooooo many stitches under the bridge.

  11. Cara

    Ugh. I am so sad. More for you than me, but still. I loved this blanket. Thank you for your efforts – whatever you decide to do with it.

    For the record, I agree that the recipient won’t care about the puckers, but like you, I would care about the puckers.

  12. Angela

    I agree with the others. I think you should just finish it off and see what it looks like. If it still puckers, then block the bejeezus out of it so at it’s at least presentable when you gift it. And then any pucker that occurs after use and washing.. technically can’t be your fault. I mean what are the chance that the blanket will be laid out totally flat anyways, right?

  13. Agnes

    Well, I was disappointed too … as I have thought all along if there is anyone who can work this one out, it would be you! But perhaps some miracle would happen at the end … so keep going!

  14. caitlyn

    I’m so sorry that you are disappointed with how it is turning out. I agree with Angela’s comment — when the blankie is in use, it won’t be lying flat anyway. I think it would still make a truly *beautiful* gift. I vote for continuing!

  15. freecia

    Don’t forget that this will be thrown over a piece of furniture, baby, mommy, and etc. A little pucker will be a perfect place for the baby to put a foot or grab ahold of.

    As a knitted item, this too would drive me a bit loco, but as a person who has held onto her blankie, I think it really adds to the handmade touch! (come on, if you had wanted it to be perfect like a machine, you could have just paid $30 and saved yourself some major agony)

  16. Kate

    Honestly, it’s still so lovely that I would also go with finishing it. Your hard work and talent will definitely show through in this blanket!

    If I were the mom or baby I would be so very happy to receive this gift. I do understand your concerns, but I think the points everyone has made are great ones.

  17. Diana

    Geez, after all the comments on blocking and finishing, I really have nothing more to add. It would be a shame to let this project go after all your hard work. But, sometimes, that’s just what needs to happen!

  18. Judy

    Finish it, block the bejesus out of it, and give it. Then if the mom can’t get it straight again, well, it’s not your fault, is it?

    Honestly, while I completely understand your point of view as the gift giver, as the mother of former babies, let me tell you it would never stay nice and flat even if it were perfect when gifted. It will be dragged and squashed and loved (yes, and spit up on and all those other things listed above — babies are not fastidious critters).

  19. Kim

    *sigh* What a bummer… and to think all the cheering and excitement : /

    I still think it looks nice..but I think the designer/seller of this pattern should be ashamed of themselves.. They know about this problem too.. quite obviously… what deceptive little %&*%#s.. Grr to the extreme.

    You should write them a Grumperina letter.. I would.

  20. Nancy J

    Don’t give up! I think the problem has to do with your connecting too tightly and remember that usually when you pick up or knit up it’s not a 1:1 ratio (if you do it 1:1 you WILL get puckers for sure.)

  21. lynda

    I know it’s sooo frustrating when you don’t feel it’s perfect – but I’m with the rest of them, it is just so beautiful, even with the puckers, and it’s gonna be wrapped around a baby, drooled on, etc, and I think they will just treasure it. It really is beautiful.

  22. Jennifer

    I don’t think the recipient will care about the puckering. I agree that the baby will be hard on this blanket and that it will be washed frequently. I’d finish it off and hope the puckering will smooth out some.

    I see why you’re so upset and frustrated though. I would be too.

  23. Rachael

    I know that you want perfection, but before ripping the whole thing why not knit a swatch in pattern and block the swatch vigorously. A gauge change or loosening/tighening might be what is needed to smooth the puckers.

    I’m not sure how you could convince yourself that puckers are a design feature, but I liked the above comments about artful draping.

  24. yasmin

    I had a thought ~ this is called HAND KNITTING for a reason it is NOT meant to be perfect ~ it is in the creating of each stitch ~ with love and care ~ some perfect, some wibboly, some puckering you know STUFF. If we wanted perfection we would MACHINE KNIT! OR just go and buy a blanket! What you have created is perfection! And this blanket will be cherished forever!

  25. Christie

    DON’T STOP! Regardless of the puckering, it’s going to be wrapped around a baby, not laid flat! So maybe the puckers will hold the baby’s legs and tooshy!

  26. Genny

    Grumperina! These are simply shapings to fit the natural curves of a baby’s bottom – how clever you are! There is nothing worse than flat blankets which slip off a baby’s shoulder all the time, this special moulded shaping will sit nicely on the shoulder.

  27. jo

    Oh NO! But seriously I agree firstly with Cara that surely you can at least block it flat for the gifting? And as the mother of a small babe I SO would not care about the puckering both because I would be so awed by the blanket AND because no one would ever get to see it flat anyway.

  28. Dani

    Okay, I think it looks lovely. And, even though I am sure you don’t want to hear it again, it looks beautiful and anyone with a head on their shoulders would love this as a gift 🙂 So there!! Have a happy Friday 🙂

  29. kitty kitty

    I think we all know you are a perfectionist, and we love you for it. But I have to say I would go ahead and finish it and then block the heck out of it. You should be able to get most of the puckers out for the gifting event. Then once it is in baby’s hands I wouldn’t worry about it. I am sure the recipient will be touched you made such an amazing loving blanket and the child will well love it. The recipient probably won’t even notice.

  30. KatieLiz

    I have to vote for finishing the blanket, you’re so close and it’s beautiful. Who knows, maybe adding the final pieces, tossing it in the washer and dryer (or whatever the cleaning instructions are) will take out the puckers. I think it will.

    And, if it was total perfection when finished, it might end up folded in a drawer, never to see the light of day because it was “too good” to use.

    If you absolutely can’t finish it, it would make a beautiful shawl, as is, for a charity organization.

  31. LORi

    Grumperina, I read your blog regularly, love all of your original knitting patterns, and generally like you more than most people I’ve never met; you are an inspiration in many ways… BUT if you frog this whole blankie just because of a few puckers, well, I just may have to stop reading your blog for a day or two so I won’t have to witness it…

    In all seriousness, IF those puckers are ever even noticed, they will not be of any consequence at all… Most new mom’s I’ve known hardly notice dried spit-up on their own clothing or hair, let alone some “flaws” in a gorgeous handknit baby item. Though I really like Melissa’s idea, of sending “folding and use” instructions along with, just in case she is an obsessively avid knitter herself.

    Hang in there, it looks too good to give up on!

  32. betty

    Kathy, please don’t frog!

    I’m concerned about those puckers too, but as a mother, I tell you that if someone would have given me a Curlicue as a birth gift I would have been too happy to notice.

    The blanket will be wrapping a baby most of the time, so I don’t think anyone will notice.

    I will finish mine next week, I hope. And I was hoping to read your ideas on how to sew it… 🙂

  33. Ruth

    Agreeing that you should go ahead and finish it, block it sadistically, and gift it as planned, for all the reasons listed above.

    Have you contacted Oat Couture? I wonder what their response to this is … from the comments you’ve received, it’s obvious you aren’t the only knitter to run into this problem.

  34. Holly

    If I was a new mom (and I once was… a few times) I would be so thrilled with that thing that I wouldn’t even notice the puckers. It will get washed 100 times and with any luck turn into the “blankie” that the kid can’t do without. Puckers be damned! Finish it.

  35. Kara

    One more vote for finishing it anyway. Did you wash a swatch of the yarn you’re using? It’s been my experience that cotton blend yarns do unexpected things under the influence of a nice warm bath; maybe a warm or even hot wash will alleviate some of the puckering. But as a fairly new mom and knitter, the puckers would seem insignificant in comparison to knowing the time and care put into a blankie just for the munchkin!

  36. graylagran

    finish it and block it, and give it. inspite of the puckering, it’s soooo lovely!

    also, maybe knit a swatch to test, but as a machine knitter too, i know that often times machine knitters block 100% acrylic within inches of its life … you can “kill” acrylic with lots of steam — a rigid fabric knitted in acrylic becomes soft/floppy with a good blast of steam.

    so, maybe give that a shot … on a swatch first.

    the best things are made with love, and all its imperfections.

  37. Mary

    1) You’re the knitter, so you’re gonna see the “flaws” more readily than the recipient. The recipient is going to be blown away by the beauty of it and by all the thoughtful work you put into it.

    2) Perhaps machine-washing and machine-drying the thing when you’re all done will sorta straighten things out a bit – you know, sorta like felting heals all knitting hurts.

    3) Finish it. If you still hate it after you’ve washed and dried it, keep and use it as a tablecloth, and give the pregnant gal something rectangular and more forgiving.

    My three cents.

  38. Tracy

    I am also a very fussy knitter regarding things like that (I’m working on a stole and my cast on row is too tight….It’s only been less than 24 hours, and I really want to rip it all out, but I’m stopping myself this time).

    I’m also a mother (#3 due in 17 days) and would give anything to have someone make things for my baby! And, even as a fussy knitter, I would still be enormously thankful for a gift like that blanket! Sometimes details have to be overlooked. And I know that if it was wool/blend, blocking would have helped, but even as a knitting mother, I doubt I would be blocking the baby blanket with every wash!

    So, I see it from both sides. I’m no help!!

  39. Mer

    A friend googled and found your info which she sent on to me. I had just purchased the pattern and chose yarn to make it for a granddaughter-to-be. Now I’m thinking “why spend time and effort into something that will pucker and not be correct”….glad I read your information and saw the pictures. Also, I purchased another pattern “Prairie Blanket” from Oat Couture….I’ll think twice about this one too. Thanks.

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