On Giants' Shoulders

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Lace Saga Continues

I was doing so well, oh I'd had to tink back a few rows, but I had a nice life line in and things were going swimmingly well, until... Until that is I noticed that apparently when I came back after taking a phone call I managed to do a wrong side row twice.  I had blithely gone along with the pattern, I had the right number of stitches I was all the way up to 45 stitches on my needles (when you started with 3 stitches, and increased only two stitches every other row, and your knitting with lace yarn, that's a lot of rows, but not very many inches).  The mistake was below the life line. Which meant basically the only totally reasonable thing to do (and the thing that was going to take much less time than tinking all the way back) was to rip it all out and start over again.  Which I've done.  I've also now completed the pattern back to one whole repeat of the Elfin lace (I now have 33 stitches on my needles), and so far I haven't managed to mess it up too badly (just caught one mistake before it became necessary to tink!).

What have I learned so far?  Well I've learned which of three methods I prefer for increasing close to the beginning and end of the row.  I've learned that I absolutely hate working with Addi Turbo lace needles when I've got a long cord and very few stitches. The Addi Turbo is currently on the floor where I flung it after it dumped the end stitches off the needle one time too many. I've learned that I'm better off for the moment working with my double point size two needles with rubber bands on the end for knobs because I'm less apt to get tangled up and somehow the stitches aren't slipping off quite as badly as on the Addi Turbos.  I've learned that intentionality is pretty important, and that it's far easier than you might imagine to forget to put in a yarn over, but if you do you will spend much more time tinking back than you ever imagined possible.  I don't even like to think how many hours have gone into what has essential been one stupid mistake after another.  I'm realizing just how deficient my fine motor control and eyesight are when dealing with tiny needles and tiny stitches.  It's odd because I just finished a pair of socks on size ones and I knit with small gauge double points all the time when knitting socks, but this project is really kicking my butt.

I'd feel a lot worse if I hadn't read something that Stephanie Mc Phee wrote about in All Wrapped up where she was knitting a lace shawl.  This is the Yarn Harlot who's knit a shawl with sheep on it, who knit an amazing wedding shawl, but her explanation of this one lace project sounds almost, almost as frustrating as mine.  I'm beginning to think that perhaps I should have started with a lace shawl in a DK weight yarn and bigger needles,   When I realize that I have 23 more repeats of this Elfin lace pattern  (with translates into 174 more rows, and that's before  I do the border or the lace edging, I'm really wondering whether I can do this or not.  174 rows means many more than 174 times to forget a yarn over (since the number needed increases every other row). Since each row gets longer doing a single repeat is going to start taking more and more time.

Anyway, I decided to blog about it because I just had to walk away from it for a little bit..  At least five hours into it today I have made no real forward progress, although I'm 2 inches further than I was at noon.  I have managed to listen to one presentation of the Gold conference, and watch the latest episode of Bones.  It wasn't a totally wasted block of time.  While it's better that I found that unfixable mistake now and not another 30 rows down the road it still was a pretty demoralizing morning.

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