Confession 1: I check for gauge maybe one out of fifteen projects.
Confession 2: Sometimes, when I make a mistake, I keep knitting for a very long time, hoping the mistake will magically go away. This almost never works--but sometimes, it does. And that very small percentage keeps me in bad knitting habits.
Confession 3: I have been known to pull loose stitches tight on the wrong side, and tie a knot that no one will see so as to keep the stitches looking even.
Confession 4: I have made maybe three swatches in my life.
Confession 5: I do not know how to long-tail cast on.
This last is, to me anyway, by far the most embarrassing. The others can be explained away as sneaky knitterly tricks all-but-the-most-perfectionist-of-us do, or we all know nobody really makes swatches, or I do mostly get gauge usually kind of so why bother checking?
But I'm a fairly dedicated knitter. I have a blog with the word "knit" in the title. Sometimes I make up how to knit things--and people go ahead and do what I did. All these things indicate that I should have a fairly good grasp of the basic skills of knitting.
And I cannot long-tail cast on. Believe me, I have tried. I have studied written directions, drawn instructions, watched videos, watched friends (surreptitiously, because all those other ones I can do without having to 'fess up to my ignorance), and all to no avail. It simply makes no sense to me. (Don't even tell me go check out this tutorial or that one. Believe me, I've tried them all).
I was taught knitted cast-on when I first learned. Easy peasy. It's knitting. Cable cast-on came easily enough. As did turkish, provisional, figure eight--I can follow written and drawn instructions, people. This is what I do. I was taught to knit a stitch, and to purl a stitch. Everything else I plucked out of the internets.
Long-tail cast on is my nemesis.
Theoretically, I don't need to know how to do it. I've gotten along just fine. It's just one cast on among many. But I know that when patterns say "cast on ___ sts," they mean long-tail cast on ___ sts. And I'm betting that means there's something to this technique. And anyway I will never admit defeat. In the face of such a powerful villain, I will turn to the only weapon I have left--people I know who know how to do this apparently very simple thing. I will swallow my pride and ask them to show me. Slowly. And many, many times.
....Ten minutes later....
Pride dutifully swallowed.
It didn't taste as bad as I thought it would (it helps when your knitterly teachers are really nice and really patient and not at all judgy).
And I can do it! Long-tail cast on lies at my feet, writhing in the agonies of vanquishment. I almost want to take a picture to show you, but I imagine anybody who has made it this far into this post already knows what long-tail cast on looks like.
It's really not that hard. I don't understand why I had such a hard time figuring it out. And it's not even fleeting, this knowledge--I've already put the needles down, gone about business, and gone back to it--and I can still do it!
Just don't anybody try and get me to make swatches. I already know how, I just choose to knit on in ignorance.