Thursday, July 20, 2006


I learned an important lesson last night. Knitting is like black magic sometimes, and can occasionally get a little out of hand and really mess me up. Maybe that's hyperbole. I haven't decided yet.

I worked a few more rows in Chart 2 (Peacock Feathers, of course) last night, and it's been pretty easy to see where I'm at because I have stitch markers between every "repeat" in the row. (There's a 12-stitch section that gets repeated 4 times on each half of the shawl.) Between those delineated sections, my middle stitches, and the end stitches, it would be pretty hard to make an accidental increase or decrease without noticing it right away. As long as I keep 12 stitches between each marker, I'm fine.

But I'm not fine. Something happened. Twice.

The first something that happened was that I was in a 12-stitch section and got to the marker with one extra stitch. I tinked 2 or 3 stitches and then just counted from the beginning of the section. Hmmm... I had the correct yarnovers, the correct decreases (including the double-centered decrease), and the correct twisted stitches, all in the right places... but there was still an extra stitch. How can this happen with just 12 stitches??? I actually think that I did something goofy on that double decrease, because when I tinked back to my stitch marker, I had 12 stitches ready to be worked, and when I worked the pattern repeat, I ended with exactly 12 stitches. Bizzare. I have no idea what I had done wrong, but at least it got fixed. The only thing is that I swear I did it exactly the same both times... so there must be some kind of supernatural force playing tricks on me. Knitting Gremlins?

The second something that happened looked the same. I came to the end of a repeat with one extra stitch. Impossible!! The same problem twice in a row? I don't normally mind tinking a few stitches, but I do not like doing it when there are decreases involved, so I tried to find a way to avoid it. I counted stitches in the section before - 12. I counted my stitches again - I'd already worked 11 and had 2 left. Ugh. How about the next section? I counted 11! Great! This means that my split stitch marker simply twisted around and somehow "migrated" itself to the next space! So I helped it back to its proper home and continued happily on my way across the row.

I have learned 2 things from all this. First - even if I think it looks like I worked a series of stitches right, I may be wrong, and I should not be hesitant to re-work them to double-check and make sure I've got it. Second - count, count, count everything in lace - obsessively! It does no harm, and can really help avoid bigger problems from being created by just throwing in a random increase or decrease when things look "off"... So I guess the related lesson would be to keep counting on the purl rows. In fact, I've been doing this anyway, and I'm even more glad now that I have been!


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