Monday, May 11, 2009

Full Disclosure

Just because I love to knit lace doesn’t mean I do it right all the time.

In fact, sometimes I knit lace in a way that is the complete opposite of right, and then I do it again and again before I notice.

Case in point, the way I messed up one of the cables in the Ancient Woodland shawl… more times than I feel like counting.

The cables in this design are a very important element. They make the branches at the top of three enormous trees, and they pull the center of the shawl inwards.

They’re simply crucial, not something to be taken lightly.


Imagine my irritation and annoyance when I spread my work out over my knee and saw that I had crossed one of the cables the wrong way… not just once but manymanymany times.

Just in case you can’t see it right off the bat, here is my Ritual Moment of Public Humiliation.


See the blue needle? The cable that is just above it is the one I’m talking about. There are at least six examples of what happens if you knit merrily along doing the exact opposite of what the chart tells you to. Basically, I moved stitches to the front instead of to the back. Or to the back instead of the front.

Or something silly like that.

It wasn’t one of those mistakes I could just shine on, telling myself that it would all work out in the blocking. I fully endorse the wonders of water and blocking wires, but no amount of blocking is going to suddenly correct mis-crossed cables.

At this point I feel that I should get a certain amount of credit for the fact that I neither a) wept nor b) threw the knitting across the room.

No, no, I was very calm about the whole thing. I sat in the break room at work, slid the work off of the needles, set my stitch markers aside, and frogged 18 rows. A co-worker sitting across from me got very big eyes, but the look fierce concentration on my face was enough to keep her from asking me what in the name of all that is holy I was up to.

After 18 rows, I picked up my 24-inch US 0 (1.75 mm) needle, and removed the last errant row a few stitches at a time. I’d pick up the live loops, remind myself to breathe out, and repeat. I didn’t concern myself with whether the stitches were twisted or not, just with getting every single one of them back safely on the needle so they wouldn’t run for their lives.

There were a few sticky moments, and my crochet hook came in rather handy more than once, but I did get them all back on the needle. I counted them five times, and always came up with the magic number of 114.

Then I went for a nice relaxing walk.

I’ve since completed the first chart. It looks like this when you do it right.


Onward to Chart B!


Anonymous said...

I saw what you meant when I looked at the second picture. Good for you for not taking a pair of scissors to it!

marycatharine said...

Wow! You deserve some sort of award for lack of weeping and gnashing of teeth alone. It does look so much better in the second picture.

m1k1 said...

There are usually audible sobs in my house when I do that sort of thing. I'm not saying how often.
You are a very growed up sort of knitter, and I hope empowered by the knowledge that you win at knitting.

Bells said...

ah yes, the case of the miscrossed cable. Been there. I may have sworn. I probably didn't cry. But i might have felt tempted.

Caffeine Faerie said...

You did all that without killing anybody? I am in awe of your discipline and nerves of steel! (Its looking great, by the way.)

Anna said...

My colleagues are getting so used to me frogging in the lunch room that they hardly bat an eye anymore...

Sometimes the best thing is to just make up your mind and DO IT.

I love your work on the shawl so far! Looks very pretty!

Rose Red said...

I didn't see it in the first pic until you showed the second! Good for you for doing this. I discovered miscrossed cables in my second Buried Treasure sock, and I just left them where they were!!

It's such a gorgeous shawl that it was worth the pain.

Anonymous said...

Gads. Isn't that your favorite moment in any project? (I don't think I've done one yet that didn't need some frogging.) Rip rip! It's good to be an expert at something. :rofl:

teresa said...

that is freakin'gorgeous!so worth the momentary frogging!

Cathy said...

ripping out stitches in the absolute worst--great you were able to do so without losing stitches or your mind!:)

Alwen said...


I always used to tell new tatters that they weren't a real tatter until they'd thrown shuttles, thread and all into a corner and called the whole mess bad names.

Does the same hold for knitters?

Dizzy Spinster said...

Knitting the same Woodland shawl, I totally feel your pain! I've made similar mistakes...though my most recent was just doing the last cable on Chart A to B - backwards! It was easily fixed though, thank goodness. I could just drop the stitches down, pull them so they were behind and not in front of the shawl and reset the knit stitches back up. All things considered - it wasn't that bad, but wow - even though I count every 10-20 stitches, I still find myself backing up a bit. It's a fun project though and is beginning to look like the picture! (Just started Chart B for the first time yesterday - yea!)

Best of luck with yours!

Donna Lee said...

The corrected version looks great. What a job that was, to rip all that out. I could never bring something like that out of the house to work on. My lace knitting stays inside. I take socks or something less stressful....

Kathleen Taylor said...

oh my. You're a very brave and wonderful knitter. I would probably have found some way to fake it that would never have worked and the finished trees would have always looked horrible. So much better to bite the bullet and rip.