Friday, June 16, 2006


Oh, what a sad, sad little man I am. I had no idea of the depths of my insecurity until I started knitting this wrap.

Now, I know that, until blocked, lace looks like a pile of canned ass. (See above illustration of canned ass.) SO I wasn't expecting the product as it slipped from the needles to look special. I expected to knit at a leisurely pace, chatting with my family, looking up on occasion to watch the cat bat playfully at a toy or the dog chew on a rawhide.


First, the chart, even blown up, was so hard to read it was useless to me. So I tried reading the written pattern, which worked well, if I managed to get through a whole row knitting only the instructions for that row... which didn't happen very often.

So I made this:

One index card for each row of the pattern (32 in all) written in thick black marker, with the repeat isolated with red asterisks. Punched and put on a big ring. (This card, and several others, got into the pile upside down, which I didn't' notice when punching. It was a blessing in disguise...notice how it stands upright! Woo Hoo!) It also is a really effective row counter! (I've always had trouble keeping track of what row I am on.)

Anyway, back to my poor self-esteem.

So I start knitting. And I rip back. And I learn my lesson about lifelines. And I start knitting again. I can't tell you how many times I've had to rip back rows. I think I must be closing in on a thousand.

Even though I've worked the 32-row repeat four times, every row is fraught with insecurity. I constantly doubting myself. If someone has the audacity to speak to me mid-row, Dog help them. "Can't you see I'm trying to RELAX?" I scream. Or I answer the phone with a very pleasant "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM ME?"

I've found it is better to knit this one alone. No Myfanwe, no Norbert, no TV, no radio, no music, no cat, no dog. I'd appreciate it if the upstairs neighbors could move out, just for the duration.

I'd ask my doctor for a Valium prescription, but I'm afraid it would make me drop a stitch.

Pray for me.


Anonymous said...

Looks to me like you're doing a fabulous job. I love it and hope to be inspired by you to try it myself!



Michelle said...

Dogspeed to you!

Elisabeth said...

It's going to be beautiful when finished--really!

Have you tried putting stitch markers between every repeat? This can help you figure out right away if a mistake is made because you are always supposed to have x number of stitches between the markers because x is the number of stitches in the repeat.

Alternatively, I have some ativan if that would help.....

HB said...

It looks fantastic! Keep up the good work.

I've been there and feel your pain. Lace can definitely be an anti-social knitting pursuit. Your written pattern booklet is a brilliant plan. May I steal that for my next project?

So far I've done three different "Branching Out" scarves from Knitty, but by my second iteration was ambitiously (foolishly?) adding my own variations. And I've never figured out a lifeline so just kept carefully tinking back from each space-out mistake; an incredibly stressful and painful way to learn how all those yo's and k 3tog's really work. I think lace disguises my mistakes pretty well... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm knitting this, too - same colorway. Mine looks exactly like yours so we must be doing something right! For my own sanity, I've placed a marker after the 8 garter stitches and after the last stitch of each pattern repeat (within a row). It is important to remember that the markers will move from row to row (except for the garter st markers). It helps me to see where I am in the row if, DOG forbid, I'm interrputed. Hope that helps - keep up the good work! Jes

Ted said...

Yea? So? You make some mistakes, you have to take it out. You learn by hard experience that lace needs to be paid attention to. That you will develop focus and discipline from doing it. Think of it as "inititation". (Or hazing.) You're right on a track as a novice lace knitter. Just keep knitting, you're doing fine.

Larjmarj said...

You feel worse for the wear and your experience makes me feel better. I'm glad that I am not the only one! I know what you mean about the teeny tiny charts. Sometimes I am able to scan them and then enlarge them in my photo edit program. Just a thought. Marj

Aidan said...

O. My. Dog.

Ted left me a comment! I am truly honored to have one of the finest knitters -- male or female -- drop me a line of direction.

For those of you who don't know about Ted, he is a legend in his own time.

And apparently he isn't one for mollycoddling. Oh well, I am being a bit of a baby.

But it's HARD!

Keep coming back.

Laurie (Moo!) said...

My thoughts are with you, as you go thru this difficult time of lace knitting.

But, might I add, the color of your "canned ass" is quite nice.

Aidan said...

Laurie: the yarn is Splendor (70% alpaca, 30%silk) from KnitPicks in Tourquoise Splendor. I like it a lot -- it isn't over-twisted, it doesn't split, and it is pleasant to the touch.

Ted said...

Pfft! No "legend" here, mister. I am the Epitome of Average.

One of the things I do when I'm having problems with a lace pattern is to write my own chart. Not those cue-cards as you have, but I take squared paper and draw the chart. That way I can see how its geometry works -- and Candleflame is just a bunch of diamonds. You can see, clearly, how many of those pairs of overs are at the bottom of the diamond, and how wide the diamond is before it starts to narrow, and so on.

Give it try and see what happens. You'll end up knowing your chart better than the one supplied with the instructions.

DianeS said...

I think my shawl-in-progress looks something like a cocoon that Mothra would break out of.