Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Hereby, Solemnly Swear, Never to Knit Lace Around Small Children

Yes, I got cocky. I was feeling fine, knitting away at my Charlotte, groovin in the lace pattern, and I thought I could get in a few rows while in the company of my children. A couple of rows here, a couple of rows there, and it all adds up, right?!

Then, later that evening after the kids are in bed, I pick it up again I'm knitting away and loving life, when I notice a blob of knitting "gook" that shouldn't be there.

As you can see from my lovely visual aid (the black arrows), there are nice neat rows of knit stitches that form a line, every 8 stitches, that line up through the entire pattern.

The white arrow in the middle of the knitting, pointing upward, refers to one of those columns that has gone badly awry. The circle marks the spot of the mangle. The neat column of knit stitches takes a left hand jog amidst a clump of gook-y stitches that just aren't supposed to be there.

The thing I have discovered about lace, is that the key (for me, anyway) isn't to count the stitches after knitting a row, or even to memorize the pattern. For me, the key is to analyze what the pattern is supposed to "do", and watch every so often, to make sure that it is doing what it is supposed to. For instance, in this lace pattern, there are those knit stitch columns that line up every 8 stitches, all the way through the whole thing. So every time I get to that 8th stitch in the pattern I glance down to make sure it is lining up with all the others. Good.

So, why I wasn't paying attention to the 8th stitch, and how I could get four rows past such a mangle, I have no idea. (Well, I suppose I do have a good idea. Refer to the title.)

I analyzed the mistake for quite awhile and came up with a few possible solutions:

1/ Leave it as is, and fudge some yarn-overs to get the amount of stitches I need, and continue on.

2/ Run the offending stitch down a few rows, and try to knit it back up.

3/ Frog back about 4 rows, and put the whole thing back on the needles.

4/ Go back to my lifeline. In this picture, the black arrow on the right is pointing to my last lifeline, about 5 inches down. (At least 2 days worth of knitting.)

I put it down for awhile and came back to it later. I analyzed again, and realized that there were two clumps that threw off an area of about 16 stitches, that the problem was four rows down. I have heard all these horror stories about how it impossible to fix lace.

But it occurred to me that it might be possible to fix it by running that particular section down 4 rows and knitting it back up. This is what I have done with regular knitting, and now that I could see exactly what the problem was, if I was careful, why couldn't I do this with lace?

If it didn't work, I could always try to take the whole thing off the needles, frog four rows, and get it back on. Worst case scenario, I would have to frog it back to the lifeline. It would be painful to lose two days of knitting, but I wouldn't die.

I marked the area I needed to correct with the green markers. I secured some double decreases with the orange markers, in case things got out of control when I took it off the needles. Then I carefully slid the stitches between the 2 green markers off the needles.

Lace off the needles is a bit panic inducing.

Here is one row carefully unraveled.

Here we have 4 rows unraveled and the live stitches are put back on a third needle.

Here 2 rows knit back up.

Here are all 4 rows knit back up and all the knitting is back on my original needles.

And I am ready to knit back across the row.

Whew. It worked, just like it works with regular knitting. You just have to be more careful with lace, because of all the yarn overs and decreases, but it works just fine. Onward ho!


Blogger Lauren said...

Nice save!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Carla said...

Okay, fine! I just today finalized my #1 pick ( of 5 skeins of GU) (with the help of Jodee and Lydia ) and was thinking that I kinda sorta might give it a go....When EMILY posts that she screwed up! If Emily had a problem Oh my now I just don't know.
Hey are you using straights? Did you end up using the #6 called for???

2:42 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Extreme knitting at it's finest. You go, girl!

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Yes, you should always consult me first in such matters. I could've told you that it would only end with (you in) tears.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Phew! You had my heart pounding a bit there, seeing those loose yarn strands just hanging there. But you did it! Very impressive. You are totally to blame for the fact that I have a Charlotte pattern and Koigu yarn coming to me in the mail. Will you unknit and re-knit my mistakes for me?

7:34 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

heh... I learned just the same lesson on a lace cashmere scarf I made my mom for Christmas. well, I finally learned it after THREE bouts of "oh sh&%! what did I DO?!?" now I know, knitting lace requires total sanity, and we all know what small children do to our sanity.... nice save on your shawl! and now I wanna knit a Charlotte, too! it looks just beautiful.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Mel said...

at second MYSTIFIED

6:01 AM  
Blogger Diane D. said...

After finishing two mohair "lace" (much easier than Charlotte)scarves recently, I've come to the same conclusion as you. Mistakes around children - inevitable; ripping back mohair - not fun. I can't believe you were able to make that save.

11:20 AM  

Dear Emmy, I don't no how you do it all.Quite a juggling act going on in your brain.

Is it ok to call you Emmy?

9:50 PM  
Blogger FunkyC said...

Good grief...I was holding my breath through 2 thirds of the post!!

20 points for 'most suspenseful blog' and 50 for being brave and genius all at the same time. You Rock.

11:36 PM  

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