Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Setting yourself up for failure

Some days, you just can't get it right.. and while it was entirely my fault. Well. It wasn't my fault!

Okay. It was all my fault.

I took lace knitting to my Monday night group. This was, of course, a minor risk. Lace takes thought and attention. Chatting it up with a half-dozen knitters (or more, but summers are pretty light in attendance) isn't exactly conducive to either. But the shawl I'm working on (with my own handspun, I might mention!) is a very easy "leaf lace" pattern I've done several times before and hardly have to think about now. The only trick is remembering the center-line where the pattern starts over.

We set the scene on Monday night amidst several happily knitting women. I knit along on my project and at some point I spread out my stitches at the end of the row and frowned. Things didn't line up right and it was very odd. So I spent an hour over that small section, figuring out what was wrong (which I never quite did) and finally fudging the stitch count back into shape so I could continue. But it bugged me. I'm pretty darn exacting about my knitting and even small errors gall me.

Then, near the end of the evening, I stretched the whole thing out to admire my work and noticed an oddness near the center. Oh, sure enough, in that one tricky spot where I've debated every row that I ought to put in a stitch marker to remind myself that HERE is that tricky center stitch... I'd missed it. I'd shifted the whole thing over (by an increasing number of stitches each row, due to the way the lace is put together). It was a mess.

I will admit that I used some fairly strong language (greeted with much kind laughter by my friends). I scowled at it for a good amount of time as one of our more accomplished lace knitters packed up to go home. I was advised to let it go and look at the whole thing with fresh eyes in the morning. But fresh eyes would be at war with two children. I just don't have the ability to drop back lace AND properly take care of things around the house. Monday nights are my best bet.

I took a deep breath. I could see what the issue was, and I could see a plan to fix it, so I dropped back those dang stitches and proceeded to knit them back up again... wrong. At this point it was 10pm, and everyone else was packing to leave, so I did as well. But I know myself well and I muttered about it all the way home. There was no way I was going to get to sleep with this looming over me.

When I got home, I dropped those stitches down again and this time fixed the persistent error. I was rather proud of myself for it. I went to sleep a happy woman.

This morning, bolstered by my success, I resolved to do the same with the other problem. Only, I just couldn't find the root of it. After dropping more stitches than I like back more rows than I like, I finally admitted defeat. I pulled my circular out of the knitting and several rows of yarn were wound back onto the ball before I carefully picked up each stitch in the next row down as the yarn popped out of it.

Foliage Shawl
As I began to re-knit that "first" row, the first row of my evening out, I was happy to have erased my error (even if it did mean loosing a fair amount of progress). I once again got to the end of the row and couldn't help but notice that things weren't matching up. So I stopped, counted, and scrutinized and found the one stitch I'd dropped into a yarn-over.. and realized that because of this I had decreased incorrectly in three different places for the rest of the row. There was NO WAY I could have fixed this by dropping back stitches in the middle of a supermarket cafe with women chatting all around me (and certainly no way I would have noticed it in the first place, chatting back as I was doing at the time). And once I noticed the error it was much too much to fix easily. I would defy any but the most accomplished (and OCD) of knitters to be able to drop back that 20-some stitches in any circumstance.

But now that I had frogged back, fixing just the one row below was quite simple. And now I'm back on the right track once again.



Geek Knitter said...

The dreaded dropped stitch running into a yarn-over. GAH!

Good job getting it all fixed up.

So, you've got that stitch marker in place now, right? And maybe a lifeline?


Anonymous said...

Yay! I salute your persistence. Glad to hear it all worked out... eventually... and that beautiful yarn deserves to be knit in perfection. I am in awe of your 600 yards of glistening 2-ply.