How to Knit. Really. Part 2

Ok, so we’ve left our heroine having knitted and sent off the flubberbuff. How did she (I) get that far along?

Well, I started off with ordering the yarn the customer picked out and getting it in the post. Then…. well, the yarn wasn’t quite right for the pattern, too thin. You can double up yarns and knit or crochet with 2 strands held together.

But the yarn for the flubberbuff was then too thick and came out too stiff. So…. off to the local shops to find a thinner yet yarn to match up. Then off back home to knit up a swatch. For those of you that don’t knit, a swatch is a square/rectangle you knit in the pattern needed to see if you knit to the same size as in the pattern. You need to match the “gauge”, usually marked out as a 4″ square – XX rows by YY stitches = 4″. This needs to be bigger than 4″ – some knitters knit a 8″ square. If you don’t, you could end up with an item that is too big or too small. Sometimes it doesn’t matter too much – for a simple scarf perhaps, but usually it does, even a small bit out on a large item can mean it’s inches too big or too small…

These can take several hours to make if the pattern is complicated.


Then depending on the yarn, you wash it as you’d wash the item, then pin it to a towel, wait until it’s dry and then measure 4″ across and 4″ high to see if you’ve got the gauge you need. This can take a day or so to dry. If it’s right, you thank the knitting gods. If it’s wrong, you decide whether you need to try again with larger needles or smaller ones. Too many stitches in your 4″ square = next size up, fewer stitches = next size down. If using acrylic or mostly acrylic yarns, you can skip the washing step and just pin it out to measure.

Sometimes you just can’t get the gauge, so you have to regauge (rework) the pattern to fit your swatch’s gauge. This is when you need a clear head, a coffee, pen and paper, a calculator and a swear words box. Or you can google (like I did) and use this page: Sweater conversion Page I’ve used the top 2 sections, and ignored the bottom part as I don’t usually knit sweaters.

So once you’re happy you are going to knit in the right size, however you’ve got there, you start on the item! To get to this stage took me several days. I had knit up 3 swatches in the right pattern, washed, pinned and let dry. It took me 2 1/2 days to complete the flubberbuff, staying up late, to get it off to the customer as quickly as possible. Then I packaged it up, praying it would fit, as I never got proper measurements, and sent it off.

I moved on to other orders. 9 days after sending it, I got an email from my customer….

They say: Hi there! How’s the flubberbuff coming on? If it’s not done yet, can you send it to another address?

I say: It was sent off 9 days ago, you should be getting it soon. Please let me know when it arrives. Give it another 10 days and if it hasn’t arrived, I’ll make another or send you a refund, whichever you’d prefer, and claim off Royal Mail.

They say: Oh, OK, you didn’t tell me it was sent already!

I say: I sent you a dispatch notification, did you get it?

They say: I saw an email from you, didn’t bother to open it! What do you mean by Royal Mail?

I say: I’m in the UK and post out with Royal Mail.

They say: OH! I didn’t know you weren’t at the South Pole! I’ve never had anything come from the UK before!

I say: Please let me know when you get your flubberbuff.

3 days later:

They say: It’s arrived! It looks like it will fit! Thanks so much! My son will love it!

I say: Great, thanks very much for your order.

Another 5 days later:

They say: I gave it to him, it’s lovely, but the flubberbuff too big! What can we do?

I say: I’m sorry it doesn’t fit. I’m happy to make another flubberbuff and send it to you once I’ve received the bigger one back, if you are happy to pay postage to return the one you have and for me to send you the new one.

They say: Thanks so much for being understanding. How long will it take for the new one to arrive?

I say: I can’t send it until I get the bigger one back and receive payment for the postage. Here is the link for the postage (inserts link here)

4 days later:

I say: Here’s the link for the postage: (inserts link here). Thanks very much.

They say: I’ll pay for the postage when the new hat is ready.

I think, ‘Hmmmm…… ‘

And then wait for the flubberbuff to arrive back. A month later it does….. smelling of Febreeze/aftershave/perfume/dirty socks….

What do I do then? Well, let the customer know the item has been returned but smells…


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