Published on April 13th, 2017 | by Eric


10 things that will make knitters scream

There are countless things that will make a knitter want to bang their head against a wall, but these ten are surely some of the most aggravating! 


Looking at the clock and realizing you’ve been knitting until 4:00am.

knitting until late in the evening


Someone asks you a question whilst you’re counting.

knitting granny


You suddenly realize that your yarn stash has gotten a little out of control.

yarn stash, photo by distelfliege via flickr



The cat has gotten into your yarn.

cat yarn, photo by Kara Michele


You’ve dropped some stitches.

dropped stitches, photo by kibbles_bits via flickr


 Your newly-knit sweater has shrunk in the wash!

tiny shrunken sweater, photo by Star Athena via flickr



You need to frog a whole project.

smiling frog knitting, photo by Samuel Sharpe via flickr


Your friend asks you to make a simple cardigan for her…

cabled sweater jumper, photo by Mr.TinDC via flickr



Your tension hasn’t worked out exactly how you thought it would.


Yarn chicken!

yarn chicken, photo by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby


What knitting nightmares make you want to scream? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

is a photographer, copywriter, rock climber, skier, traveler, and aspiring knitter. His work has been been published in many international newspapers, magazines, websites, books and even a billboard in Brooklyn. Crochet is the best.

Last updated: May 23rd, 2017.

68 Responses to 10 things that will make knitters scream

  1. miss agnes says:

    Ha, ha, these are good, except frogging! For me, it is the promise of a better knit. The real nightmare: realizing you’ve knit a cable on the wrong side after ten or twenty rows !

    • Valerie Banton says:

      Ditto. I now call it the deliberate mistake, and make the family live with it!

  2. CraftyG says:

    Definitely knitting until 4am seems to be my regular ‘doh’ 😀
    Just have to say… Love, love, love that cabled cardi/jacket – WOW

  3. Anne H. says:

    Having to knit a second mitt right after the first one is finished!

  4. Carla says:

    I washed my beautiful knitted blanket. And it was still full of water so I did a rinse and spin again and the spin speed was too high and felted it. Looks like a toddler blanket now.

    • Ellen says:

      Oh no! I feel your pain!

    • Janice McKinnon says:

      I feel your pain, I did that with a Christening shawl, it was fit for a doll when it came out the machine!

    • Teresa Johnson says:

      Whenever I’m asked to make something for a friend I reply ” Good, of course I will. You get the wool, pattern etc and I will teach you how to do it” maybe adding ” Okay only you knit rib and the bits before the cable: or fancy stitch, then watch me do it, We’ll repeat this a few times then I’ll watch you do it till you get it right. Then I’ll show you how shape it then join all pieces and you sew it up, ” Now that I come to think of it I usually don’t hear anymore about it

  5. Lyn says:

    Mine is when you have spent time making beautiful white baby cardigans as a gift and when you see them they are grey

    • Hazel says:

      I sympathise; I knitted a lovely white ballet cardigan in pure merino and nearly wept when I saw that it had turned grey – I supply washing instructions. Acrylic ballet cardigans from now on!

      • Teresa Johnson says:

        oh I know! ditto on a cardi I did for Granddaughter. I used Debbie 100% cotton. You know the price, nearly £5 per ball, well I actually apologised for the garment when I handed it to my daughter! It looked like something out of the rag bag that could only be worn around the house. I was hopping mad. little one has bad wool allergy so I always buy good cotton. Like you I will be switching to Acrylic in future.

  6. Barb says:

    Working to get 5 pair of double thick mittens done before Christmas; then a friend asks if she can have a pair, but can you make them fingerless?

  7. Deanna says:

    Back in the 60’s I washed all the Baby jackets and laid them to dry on a veranda and forgot them !!!!! The wool changed to cream…. I reknitted some more and used the first ones “indoors”.

  8. Judith says:

    Having knitted an afghan for a friend only to have her say she hoped if I made her one it would be WHITE

    • Sandie says:

      How rude and ungrateful of her. Bet there’ll be no more handmades for that “friend”?

    • Teresa Johnson says:

      Ohhhh yoikes! how awful to have that happen! I would have come back with ” Huh, if I ever did you’d have to be richer than you look “

  9. Janice McKinnon says:

    Even worse is when the cat decides to use your knitting bag, complete with almost finished aran sweater as a toilet! I think the whole village heard the scream. Had to bin the whole lot.

  10. Hazel says:

    I don’t mind frogging or feel guilt when I knit for too long and I am trying to ignore the giant stash guilt but I hate it when people ask you to knit them something but forget they asked you and get surprised when you present it to them. There should be a verbal contract recorder somewhere so that those moments of extreme embarrassment are turned back on them. It’s happened to me three times only but now I pretend ‘requests’ are just pleasantries if not from my family or close friends. Am I the only one stupid enough to have done this?

    • Shauna says:

      Last Fall made a sweater for my daughter (college age) that turned out to fit her exactly like model and … she asked if I could make it in a smaller size. Made a crocheted medallion afghan for my sister and she suggested I pull it out and use the yarn to make her a sweater instead. ….. Knitting a few things for myself at the moment and may take these ladies off the recipient list for good.

    • Sue says:

      No, you are not! I naively believed a friend who said she’d pay me for every pair of fingerless gloves I knit for her. The funds dried up after two pair–which I realized after the third pair. Thank God it wasn’t anything big!
      Also had a lady at work ask me to do an outfit for a baby. First she said the kid was due in two months. She picked out yarn colors and I started. A week later she asked if it was done yet because the baby was already two weeks old, and oh, she wanted different colors, didn’t I remember her saying that?
      I told her no she hadn’t, and by the way, the outfit she picked was beyond my skill level anyways, so she needed to find another gift for said baby. Finished the outfit and donated it to a charity.

  11. Elizabeth Wilson says:

    Don’t think you can ever have to much yarn lol my kids have all left home now I have a couple of spare rooms I could take over

  12. SherryG says:

    I left my knitting project in the car only to come back to find it GONE!!! That was a learning lesson. Bad part was it was almost finished. :((

  13. Mardi says:

    Knitting with the wrong size needles after doing the perfect test swatch on another size!!!!!

  14. Pat says:

    A knot in an expensive new ball of yarn. They always appear in the middle of a row!

  15. Melanie Jane Glover says:

    You are in the middle of knitting and come to the conclusion that there are errors in the pattern you are using. Someone in quality control should check the pattern over before it is printed.

  16. Marcia Gerrey says:

    After you have knitted the sleeve of a man’s jumper 25 cm and you discover you have been using a number 9 and a 8 all that work ,didn’t know what to do laugh scream or cry ,so just pulled it out and started again .Sure using a magfine glass from now on

  17. Mary Vaughan says:

    Love these comments! My moan is that I knitted a 6 foot long ribbed scarf with matching gloves for an acquaintance who lost them after a couple of weeks and has now asked me to knit another set. I am making them of course but complaining inwardly.

    • Shauna says:

      Using hand-dyed yarn for a scarf and hearing my sister say after a couple of weeks, “Is there any way to get the color back? I left it in the car and one side faded from the sun.” aaarrrghhhh

  18. Robyn Scott says:

    To reply to Hazels dilemma, if anyone asks me to knit something for them (apart from my children or my sister), I ask them to supply the wool & I would be happy to knit them whatever. Problem solved lol.
    As far as hair pulling situations – when you are in a hurry to finish a Cardigan for a grand child & find, when sewing up, that you have knitted to right or or two left fronts & have to pull one undone & complete correctly. Grrrrr. Only happened once but once was two many lol.

    • Shauna says:

      I may or may not have rushed to seam up – probably in the wee hours of the morn – and sewn the armhole openings closed. OOoops

    • Sandra says:

      I always knit two sleeves at the same time, using two balls of wool. I also knit two fronts at the same time up to the armhole shaping. If it’s a small cardie I carry on with including the shaping, remembering to make decreasing changes according to the relevant sides. It saves a lot of time and effort

  19. Linda Smith says:

    Noticing that you’ve somehow managed to twist 2 cables the wrong way and you are on the last row, with the mistake way back at the start. Rookie error!

  20. Jill says:

    I don’t get the frog or chicken ones!!! Anyone???

    • Mari Adatha says:

      Frog is ripping out the whole thing. Didnt get the chicken one either.

    • Joy says:

      I think that chicken is when you are not sure you will have enough yarn, especially when you are getting very close to the end. I have done this many times! Have won more than lost but only play if prepared to lose!

      • Marion says:

        I have a fix for this, but you have to do it from the very beginning of the garment, and it doesn’t really work for sleeves unless you don’t mind adjusting the length, so you need to do them first.
        Assuming you are using a pattern, look and see how many stitches you should have just above the welt.
        Then cast on 2x that number of stitches, using the least conspicuous cast-on you know (I use 2 needle cast on, but knitting into the back of each stitch to make the next one).
        Thread a big darning needle with a length of contrasting yarn.
        Knit along the first row, putting every other stitch onto the yarn on the darning needle and slipping it off the knitting needle. Keep this on the RIGHT side of the knitting.
        Now follow the pattern to the top of the garment.
        Then pick up the stitches on the spare yarn and knit downwards for the welt; you can then make that as long or as short as the yarn will allow.
        The “join” does show slightly so is best camouflaged by a change of stitch, eg to ribbing, or a change of colour.
        I used this method to make a peplum-style top, and think it could also be used to make a frilly top for kiddies’ socks to use up your spare colours.
        It sounds complicated but isn’t really – I suggest you experiment first.

    • Joyce says:

      There is an American teenage male past-time where the males face drive at each other in the same lane. The first one who swerves out of the lane is the chicken. In the case above is where you buy x amount if yarn in hopes that it will be enough rather than buy one more skein to make sure. Invariably by the time you find out you need that extra skein the yarn has been discontinued or you cannot find the same dyelot.

  21. Paula Jowitr says:

    Where can I get the pattern for that beautiful cable cardigan.

  22. Rhonda Sabel says:

    I completed a sweater for my grandchild,taking me 4 months to do as I was working on other projects along the way. Constantly measured her as she was going thru a growth spirt….finally finished fit her to a tee!!! but…….allergic to the yarn, broke out in a rash along the neck line and can’t wear it 🙁

  23. Rose says:

    My habit of buying an extra ball of expensive yarn in case I run out before finishing the garment and being left with yarn I cannot bring myself to throw out and isn’t enough to make anything. Patterns for discontinued yarns which were not a standard weight. Finishing a garment and seeing my 30 years younger and 9 inches taller niece look so much better in it that I give it to her

    • Emjay says:

      Rose – a suggestion or two for the leftover yarns.

      Hats – most of them don’t use a whole ball. Have you seen the new ones with no tops made for pony tails?

      Scarves/cowls – They can be most any width and length. Some are made up of many yarns/colors and stitches.

      Afghan – Just pick a size square and use a gauge that makes up to that size. It’s a great way to try out new stitch patterns.

      Fingerless mitts – The patterns range from simple (a rectangle seamed along two opposite sides with a gap for the thumb to fit through) to very elaborate.

      I’m sure if you think about it, you will come up with an idea or two (or more).

    • Nel says:

      Beekeepers Quilt by Tin Can Knits! The best use for those leftover luxe yarns. You knit little hexagons, stuff them lightly and sew them together. The best part – both sides don’t have to be the same colour! Working on one with my leftover bits

      What drives me crazy is when sleeves end up being different lengths, and you’re not sure which one is right!

  24. Emjay says:

    That example of chicken would look great with a navy blue bottom (color blocking at its finest…).

  25. Linda says:

    When you take the time to lovingly knit 4-5 baby afghans for your first grandchild & 15 yrs later, instead of having packed them away for future generations, your child PROUDLY shows you their dog lying on them….some on a bed, some on a floor!

    Also, spending over a year knitting same grandson a sweater w/tractor on it, & although HE likes it, the only time he’s ever worn it is for a photograph you’ve taken of him w/it on!

  26. Genie says:

    Knitting a baby sweater for my granddaughter born in March in California that was too big for her in the Spring and too small for her in the Fall 😮 (

  27. Bad Girl says:

    Knit a beautiful baby sweater/outfit for a relative and get no thank you acknowledgement for it. Or never, ever get a picture of the kid in it. I did have ONE caring relative in Europe, take a picture of the unopened box, the wrapped items out of the box, wrapped items surrounding the baby, unwrapped items around the baby and child wearing the garments when they finally fit even months and years later. The Mama even remembered to thank me for the outfit I knit for her when she was a baby!
    If someone wants you to knit something for them, have them select the pattern and yarn and have them pay for it along with any needed items and provide it all to you before you ever start!

  28. della says:

    I always put in a lifeline when I am knitting especially lace. I was knitting happily along and discovered that I had made the same durn mistake again and the whole row of over 200 stitches was one stitch off in the pattern. I was furious and grabbed the yarn and started pulling it out thinking it would go to lifeline. After awhile I looked down and in my fit of temper I had yanked out my lifeline!! Now for safety measures I always leave in two lifelines.

    • Valerie Justus-Rusconi says:

      I do too; I put one in and then a second one after I have completed the next pattern repeat. Then after I have done another repeat I pull the first one out and put it in so they constantly rise up the project.

  29. Linda says:

    I spent soooo many hours knitting a sweater for myself, determined to get in every single complicated cable (which I hate doing), pinning it and trying it on many times, making sure it was just so, just the right fit, just the right length. Finally the day came when I stitched together my red and black tweed cable beauty, put that baby on and…horrible! It looked terrible on me. Oh, the humanities! Without a second thought, I dismembered my beautiful sweater, wound up the yarn in neat balls, ate three bars of chocolate and cast on for my next project. No cables.

  30. edzo says:

    ___123___10 things that will make knitters scream • LoveKnitting Blog___123___

  31. delilah says:

    Patterns that are chart only, no text.

    i don’t get why the author cannot do both at the same time.

    • Emjay says:

      As for patterns that are chart only, if it is in a magazine, it is probably a publishing thing. Written instructions for patterns that have a lot of rows in them take up way more room than a chart, so the magazine/book can include more patterns for the amount of pages they have.

      It IS nice to have both written and charts for patterns with repeats that are just a few rows.

      I have found that sometimes if there is a problem with one type of instruction (either an editing error or a problem interpreting the instruction) referring to the other type of instruction will help clarify what is needed.

  32. Joan says:

    I get really angry with knots in expensive yarns as I always make sure I join new balls at the end of a row.

  33. Rita says:

    I seem to pick patterns with many colors, only to realize that I have to sew in all those ends after I’m finished knitting or my self striping yarn pooling in awkward places instead of striping.

  34. Marion says:

    Love the actual knitting ,it’s the sewing up that i hate!!

  35. LaDonna says:

    Running out of yarn when you are almost finished and not being able to find the same color, brand, or lot number.

  36. Annemarie says:

    I knit a long sleeved garter stitch sweater for a little boy. When I came visiting I saw the washed sweater hanging on the line, pinned by the cuffs swinging in the wind.

  37. Joan Siegel says:

    I love all 10, have experienced all 10. Thank you funny.

  38. nannynette says:

    What does “yarn chicken” mean please?

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