Saturday, April 07, 2012

That nagging feeling

Last night I frogged my lace knitting, I pulled the work from the needles and carefully frogged the last 11 rows of lace. I didn't do this lightly, for nine of the eleven rows something had been bothering me. I had that nagging knitting feeling.
Last Wednesday I worked the last of the small leaf repeats that make up the body of the Deciduous Shawl, then I started to work the Large Leaf boarder. I worked from the first edge to the central stitch and was greatly pleased to find that my stitch  count was perfect. Then worked the second half of the shawl and discovered that when I worked the decreases they lined up perfectly on on of the small leaf repeats. How odd I thought that had not happened when I knit the first side. So I put down my yarn and counted my way across the shawl - making sure I had worked according to the chart on the first row of the Large Leaf pattern. I suspected that I was a stitch or two out, that can happen sometimes with lace weight yarn, the yarn is so fine that two stitches cling together and trick me into thinking that they are one. I counted, and looked, and things seemed fine, so I decided I must have been mistaken and so I kept on knitting the chart. As I knit the rest of the chart there was an increasing sense of wonder that each row worked out perfectly, the decreases and eyelets all lined up with the first row - I was beginning to think that  maybe I was improving at this lace work, that I could read a chart and count and knit all at the same time.

On the left - my mistake, out by one stitch, on the right - well the right side of the shawl
Then as I finished working the eleventh row I realized that the leaves on the two halves of the shawl looked very different. The right of the image shows how the leaves looked on the right side of the shawl, when the large leaves were placed perfectly over the small leaves, and there was a perfectly positioned small leaf continuing up between each large leaf. The other side of the shawl was comparatively a mess, in that two strands of small leaves sort of mashed up into a hybrid leaf between the large leaves, and the large leaves were distorted. The distortion was a result of each large leaf not being centered over a trio of small leaves.I realized that not only was the lace not lined up but not being lined up was creating more mess than I imagined it would.
Each row that I knit confirmed in a small way that something was wrong with that one side of the shawl, and even more that the second side was perfect... and try as I might I could not continue to ignore it. I had visions of wearing the shawl and having to make sure that the 'perfect' side was always the one that that was wrapped on top so it would hide the imperfect side. I knew I could photographed and block the shawl and hide the mess from you all .. but I would know, and those who knit closer to home would know.

So I frogged, ripped it back, which is easy to say and type but much harder to do. Ripping took an entire evening, and had many moments where I wondered if I had stuffed up completely and would be frogging the entire thing. I carefully pulled out the knitting needles, carefully pulled back one row at at time until I was 9 rows back. Then I slid all the live stitches onto a needle, once safely parked I breathed a huge sigh of relief. At any point before that I was aware that had anything snagged the yarn, a loose movement of my hand, foot, cup-of-tea, or the cat, or the other end of the needle,  I would have had a sudden unravel of uncontrolled size and I didn't need that kind of drama. As worked from one end to the other making sure that all the stitches were oriented the right way, then I tinked the last 2 rounds one stitch at a time. At the end of the evening I was worn out, worn to a frazzle, but happy. I did one last transfer of stitches from right to left needle as I made sure that what I had matched the last row of the small lace chart perfectly.

The first time I knit the large leaf boarder it took two days, so the frogging and reknit will add 3 days work .. not much considering I cast on the day after Christmas and now we are in April.  Best think about all of this is that I had the Easter break to focus on fixing it, so I didn't have to abandon it and head out to work .... I had time to settle in and fix it.

Take care - hope your weekend knitting involves a lot less frogging and tinking than mine.
na Stella

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