Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I should not be trusted with small children or houseplants

I am an idiot. Rather a spectacular one, too, for someone with my education and supposed intelligence.

I decided it was time to tackle another lace project - specifically, a shawl. My two previous attempts had most definitely bombed, but I did learn a lot in the process. I came across the Tuscany shawl in No Sheep For You, and fell in love. I read the instructions carefully, and raided my stash. I thought about using the Sea Silk I've been saving for something special, but the colour of the skeins were just too different for me. I do, however, have 3 skeins of lightweight Socks That Rock in Midsummers Night that had been earmarked for something else, long since abandoned.

I poked around on Ravelry for hours, reading people's notes on the pattern, on different yarns, on needle sizes, on how to best work with skeins of variegated colours...I even swatched. I established that I needed probably a 4 mm needle for this yarn, and though it would make the shawl bigger - that would suit me just fine. In fact, I'd like it a bit longer, and that's what the swatch was suggesting would happen. (And yes, I know that they lie, which is why I didn't take it as gospel truth.)

I trekked up to the yarn store through Saturday afternoon traffic, made much worse by street closures due to the Jazz Fest, the Dragon Boat Festival, and more new construction that also altered the bus route. The yarn store only had 4.25 mm needles, but I figured - what the hell! It's lace, it's not like it's going to turn into a rhino-sized disaster of a sweater. It's a shawl. It will fit.

I took my needles home, soaked the cable in hot water to loosen it up, went through the pattern again and made copious notes. I tried three different cast-ons to determine which one I liked best. I started and frogged the first lace repeat about 4 times before I finally got it. I figured that this was definitely a "slow-and-steady" kind of scenario...I am in love with this shawl like no other knitting I've done for a long, long time. I want it to work. I want to walk through crisp autumn sunlight, wrapped romantically in it. I want one of my nieces to borrow it for her wedding. I adore it, hopelessly and helplessly, with all the frenetic passion of a first crush. (OK, I might be exaggerating just the teensiest bit, but you get the idea!)

I put it away when I'd successfully finished the first repeat...carefully counting the number of stitches three times to make sure I was on track. When I picked it up again yesterday, I was a little concerned with the drape, but I figured that would work itself out - I was only 2 inches into the thing, after all. I had got all my housework and errands done first, clearing up some quality one-on-one time with the shawl.

I got through most of the next pattern repeat...was 4 rows from finishing, in fact, when I realized that my stitch count was off. I looked at it really closely, couldn't quite figure it out. I had an idea where it was, just not why. I started tinking back...and back...and back...until I had undone everything I had accomplished yesterday. I had dropped the very first yarn over, two damned stitches into the first row of the pattern repeat.

I didn't scream. I took a deep breath, chalked it up to a learning experience, and put it away for the day. I did hope that the denseness of the stitches would work out a little in the blocking, it was making me a little nervous. I have been looking forward to getting back to it tonight...but trying to finish the to-do list first. Which included tidying up my Magic Room, and sorting out what I needed to take for knitting this weekend (road trip with the Infidels, another post!) I picked up the second package of circular needles on my desk, trying to decide if I needed to bring them or not. Decided not - what for?

Took a closer look at them as I was about to put them away...and realized that these were the 4.25 mm needles I was supposed to be knitting on. I'd started the shawl on needles two sizes too small.

Glad I never did recover that lost ground. It'll hurt just a little less when it goes to the frog pond tonight.

'Scuse me while I go smack myself in the head. Again.


Jelaina said...

OI!! And how 'bout them life lines too eh? BTW, I just tinked back the sweater.. apparently I'm supposed to actually put the stitches on scrap yarn and not re-knit them (after some logical thinking about how the sweater was going to go. Logic eh? who knew.. heck we were even drinking coffee at the time....

Miss 376 said...

I think I would have cried! Actually I have a bit of a baby jumper back, been knitting all evening then realised I used the wrong needles. I just cut the yarn and started again. Not sure I would have been so calm with something large

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain...

wenchlette said...

Dude, give it another go!
I'm doing Kiri right now and I'm so addicted.

Rebecca said...

Oh, can't wait to see your shawl - you can do it! The pattern is beautiful, I can see why you are enamored.