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June 2023



The Knitting Shrink Hole

The Knitting Black Hole is a well understood recognized phenomenon wherein a knitter knits and knits and never seems to make any progress.  Generally related to large swathes of stockinette, the Knitting Black Hole plagues many a knitter, often causing severe emotional distress and consternation.

More rare, however, is the Knitting Shrink Hole.  This phenomenon is categorized by a section of knitting that not only refuses to grow with more knitting, but goes so far as to shrink between measurements.  Often, this shrinking behavior is in strict opposition to any swatches that may have been performed on the pattern before casting on for the actual project.

The Wedding Blanket is a prime example of a Knitting Shrink Hole.  When I swatched the center pattern, I ended up with something that told me that if I did 9 repeats, I would end up with 6 feet exactly.  However, 9 repeats later, I’m not at 6 feet at all.  I’m not even close to six feet.  After 9 repeats (or 500+ rows, or several thousand stitches), where am I?

I’m at 5’2″.  That’s 10 whole freakin’ inches short!  That’s very nearly a foot short!  Where did those inches go?

It’s unclear.

And don’t even get me started on width.  When I started the center section, I was sure it was at least 18 inches.  I measured it constantly, and I was always very, very sure that it was a foot and a half wide.  Dead certain.  I would have staked money on it.

Now that I’ve knit the entire panel?  Not so much.  Now it looks like it’s clocking in at 12 inches maybe, and that’s if I stretch it out a bit.

I’ve never experienced a Knitting Shrink Hole so extreme.  Sure, an inch or two here or there, but 50% shrinkage?  Without getting wet or felted?  What’s going on?

Luckily, I can still console myself with the fact that I haven’t yet blocked it.  Blocking will fix everything, right?  Right?  Hello?  Why are you laughing?

I’m kind of upset that it looks so gorgeous, actually.  If it were hideous, I’d contemplate starting over, but as it is I get lulled into a false sense of security looking at it and I feel like it’ll all come out okay in the end.  I’m not sure how it’ll all come out okay when I’m losing literally feet of knitting, but somehow I’m convinced that it’ll work out.

After all, maybe I was really knitting them a place mat.