Thursday, July 19, 2007

my new worst enemy: lace

Ugh, what was I thinking with this project? As it turns out, lace is kind of hard. It was hard before I even started--trying to wind 440 yds of lace weight yarn into a ball is no easy task!

I started this project 2 days ago, and I've frogged it 4 times already! I was saved from a 5th frogging because I got a clue and put in a piece of waste yarn so I would only have to unravel to that row and not the whole thing should I run into a problem--which I did, of course. The problem being, the person who transcribed this patten left some crucial stitches out!

I gave up reading the chart early because it's cut off on the website (and I hate charts anyway--who doesn't?), so I was going just by the written pattern, which says:

For the k3 to k8 section: k2, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo, [ k1, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo ] 1 time, k1, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo, ssk, yo, k2.

But, oops, following this pattern (tried it twice!) left me with an extra 3 stitches. I compared it to earlier rows and identified the part where the author left out those 3 stitches. Tried it again, and there weren't enough stitches for the next repeat--must've left some YOs out too! Finally got it all figured out; this is the correct pattern:

For the k3 to k8 section: k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo, [ k1, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo ] 1 time, k1, yo, k3, sk2psso, k3, yo, k3, yo, ssk, yo, k2.

Gah! This shawl better turn out damn pretty for all this work! Here's what I've got so far:

This certainly won't be a quick knit either; it's not the kind of thing you can work on while watching TV, it requires a lot of focus. The problem with lace is, you can't fudge anything. For most patterns, if I find myself short a stitch or with an extra stitch, I can do a quick increase or decrease and go along my merry way, with a negligible impact on the piece. Unfortunately, an extra or missing stitch in a piece of lace will throw the whole beautiful pattern off. Fortunately it won't be shawl weather until October, so there's no rush.

I'm anxiously awaiting my KnitPicks order. I think it's great that you can track your shipment online, but doing so always upsets me. I become very impatient and find myself muttering things like, "If it arrived in Ohio 2 days ago, why is it just leaving Ohio this morning?!?" As if talking to myself will make my yarn arrive any faster.


yazipengyou said...

My first cable project back in January was from "Knit Scarves" (the books you see in the shape of whatever is being made at the craft stores). It had a cable on each side and a braided cable in the middle. I couldn't figure out why the last part of the braid came out wrong every single time. By the time I finished the skein (the average Red Heart yarn), I finally figured out the misprint in the pattern. Frogged the whole thing. I couldn't just leave it looking wrong to me, even though no one else could really tell. Sometimes you just have to keep trying until the pattern makes the most sense to you. Keep it up because your lace work so far looks awesome (I have not even thought of venturing to something that challenging yet...maybe eventually)

Olga said...

I have to say, you are brave, brave, brave to tackle a lace shawl with laceweight! What you have so far looks really beautiful, so stay determined.

I'm knitting the Sweet Mary Jane cardigan with KnitPicks laceweight, and I thought my arm was going to fall off from winding it by hand! Also, I frogged that piece several times before I built up some steam.

When I first started knitting lace (somehow for one of my first projects I picked an easy lace baby blanket and have been hooked ever since) I used sportweight, which made the lace knitting a lot easier. I've also done the Flower Basket Shawl with DK, and a cowl with fingering weight. When you knit with heavier yarns, it's a lot easier to see the pattern grow and learn how all those yos and k2g build on each other.

I say this because it *is* possible to fudge lace to fix mistakes, and honestly, your finished piece will be so beautiful that the fudged parts will be difficult to see. Once you get a better sense of how the lace is designed, you'll see where the fudging is possible.

Good luck!

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