On Giants' Shoulders

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh, No, A Huge Frog!

It was going so well.  I had over 200 stitches on the needles, the end of the Elfin lace was in sight.  I had two carefully placed lifelines in case something went wrong, but it was going swimmingly.  Then I paused to take an admiring glance at what I'd done.  I stretched the work out trying to see just how big it was apt to be and then I saw it.  There were two dropped stitches way, way, way down towards the bottom of the triangle (like over 100 rows down!).  At first I couldn't believe it.  Then I was totally perplexed.  My stitch count had been spot on, how could there be dropped stitches.  I finally figured out the how anyway.  Row seven has a bunch of slip, slip, knit, pass the slipped stitches over.  Clearly at some point the two slipped stitches got dropped out of the resultant stitch (i.e. the knit stitch didn't get properly passed over).  Hence the stitch count was right, but there were these two dropped stitches sitting there making a hole that wasn't supposed to be there.  Now if this were just stockinette stitch knitting I'd take out my trusty crochet hook and ladder them back up, no problem.  If it were cables I might still (with a lot of time and patience) be able to do likewise (with the additional help of some dp needles).  This is lace though, so the only answer was to frog it.  The mistake was below the lifelines, so I had to carefully make sure I went back only the the row where the mistake was, pick up the stitches, tink back another row to get to a secure place and start knitting back up again.  I've now reknit 16 of the 100+ rows, but I think I showed great restraint to just sigh when I saw this particular mistake instead of throwing the whole thing on the floor and lighting it on fire.

I'm sure there's a lesson here somewhere.  I thought I'd been looking at things carefully all along, I can't understand why this didn't show up earlier.  I'd even stretched the piece out to show it to other people (including the lady at the yarn shop) and none of them saw this one either.  Clearly the biggest lesson I'm learning is to be patient and persistent.  I actually don't hate the pattern even now.  The positive side of it is that I get to knit the pattern I know for rows and rows and don't have to face that border anytime soon.  I've also figured out a better way to do the make one at the ends of the rows, so maybe the ends will have less of a tendency to go askew on me.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Making Progress

I've made about every boneheaded mistake possible in knitting, but I've finally gotten more than halfway through the Elfin lace pattern.  I've figured out a few things in the process, like it makes more sense to put in markers that you have to move every other row because it does alert you to problems.  Counting stitches at the end of each row is not a waste of my time.It also is very important to put a life line in at least every two repeats, because it's a lot easier to reknit 16 rows than it is to tink 16 rows before reknitting them.  The pattern is now burned into my brain!

I went to the yarn shop today to buy more markers (because safety pins are not a good idea with lace weight yarn!).  I showed the lady in the shop my knitting and she was impressed.  All the shawls they've got up for examples are with heavier weight yarn than what I'm using.  So I guess that perhaps I really was tackling a pretty challenging project.  I'm actually falling in love with shawls these days.  I see examples in the shop of easier shawls and think that perhaps I'll do one of those next.  I don't know that I'll every try another one on small needles with lace weight yarn.  I might use lace weight with larger needles sometime, and I might even (gasp) do this pattern again with heavier yarn and fatter needles. 

I love the looks of the lace shawls in the video, but I'm not sure that I'll ever have the nerve to try to knit anything with that cobweb weight lace.