With this needles… is it possible to commit Seppuku with knitting needles? Probably not a good idea. I’m venting right now, but I will tell the story of my recent travails with lace. Please excuse me for I’m aware that a slightly nutty side of myself is manifesting itself. I love lace but I cannot imagine people who do this.
I purchased the tantalizing book of patterns Lace Style and a few skeins of Merino Lace yarn and long length circular needle. I thought I was up to the challenge (and I probably still am, I just need to take a breather from working on this project). The stitch pattern itself is called “Lily of the Valley.” On paper, on the chart it looked… fairly straight forward, and as I have knitted more complicated lace patterns I thought. I can handle this.
Bear in mind, I have never really knit with yarn as fine as lace-weight yarn. It took me three attempts to effectively master the crochet strip cast on so I wasn’t twisting the crochet chain. Now I was able to do the half of the stitch chart with some success, though one or two of my bobbles or nubs was a little funky looking. I didn’t fret over it too much because all in all the pattern was working out nicely. I was quite excited and felt a strange feeling of kinship with spiders as I worked on forming the lace.
All the while in the back of my mind rested the horrible self-fulfilling prophecy: what would happen if one of the stitches fell of the needles? Would it all just suddenly come apart and melt away? I shuddered every time this thought resurfaced . Then I pushed the thought back. Nevertheless, each time I had to move this project from one place of the house to another, I would carefully push all of the stitches down past the needle far, far down the cable. I don’t have stitch protectors yet, but now I’m thinking that they might not be such a bad investment.
Okay, so I completed the first repetition of the stitch chart pattern and am about 1/4 the way through the second. I laid my work flat out on the table to admire it. It was actually starting to come together and look beautiful. It wasn’t as perfect as the stitching on the image, but I’m using a dusty-plum lavender color and I could envision the shawl laying softly on my shoulders like a true gossamer web.
So feeling pleased with what I had accomplished on I knit.
An hour later I looked down at my work and realized that two of the knitted yarn overs or lace holes looked suspiciously larger than the rest. I don’t know what I did, perhaps I did a double yarn over instead of a single for these two stitches. I was crest-fallen but not defeated. However, I did one thing that I should never do again. I acted without really thinking and taking account of the situation.
I tried to repair my mistake without really figuring out what I did wrong. So I tried to tighten the hole by making a stitch from it and knitting it together; however, I only succeeded in making another smaller hole on top of the larger one. As you can imagine it was a slippery slope from there on.
Essentially, the last four rows of my work looked like crap… the rest looked fine. All the nightmares I had about the lace coming apart manifested themselves in a disaster of the lace being pulled together into an ugly tangle. Sometimes when I come to problems in a project I act rashly and pull the entire thing apart and start over again. After all with this piece I’d only knitted 10 inches of it? What was 10 inches? Only the labor of the past two days of my free time?! You can only imagine the see saw that worked up and down in my head:
- It’s only 10 inches I can start again.
- What are you nuts?! Just think of how long it took you to master casting on correctly. Do you want that effort to go in vain?
- Yes, but knitting ‘backwards for these six rows and untangling all of this will be a royal pain?
- But just look at the work you’ve done so far… it looks wonderful. Do you really want to waste the efforts you put into that?
- But what if I just bind this off and keep it as a learning experience. Then move on to something else.
- Arrrgh…. you’re driving me nuts! Why can’t you just go back and fix this, think of the fixing of the thing as a learning experience.
- Because you’re smoking crack… I’ve got better things to do.
On the dialog went on until I nearly acquiesced and decided that I would have to unknit 6 rows of 100 stitches (600 in all). But now even as I read what I’ve written I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do. Most likely I will undo the thing and start again, but not for a while. I should have started with a very thin scarf.