A Cautionary Tale

Or, Why One Should Always Read the Pattern Before Forging Ahead.

Last night I decided that, since I was only 1 pattern repeat plus the edge chart away from finishing a certain Secret Project, that I would dedicate myself to finishing said project so that I would would get it over with and never have to knit with the vile mohair ever again. So between emails and web surfing and television I blazed through the last repeat and the end chart. I then looked at the instructions to see if it had anything to say about binding off. This is what I saw:

Rep rows 1 - 16 [of Lace Chart] 23 times, or as many times as desired, then work rows 1 - 8 once more. Change to Ending Chart and work rows 1 - 13 once...

That part in italics and highlighted in red? Yeah, I didn't do that. In other words, the last 21 rows were wrong.

Did I mention that this is mohair?

My fix:

Step 1. Since I don't use lifelines because lifelines are for wusses (kidding, it is because I am lazy) I have nothing to rip back to. What to do? Find the place in the knitting that looked like row 9 on the chart and impale it with a thousand pins or so (I only used 723). I figure that going not far enough is better than going too far. In addition, round 9 is easy to find (it contains the 5 into 7 clusters, which I vow to never ever knit again, ever.) Look closely at the photo and you may be able to see the pins. Also possibly some teardrops.

Step 2. Yank the needle out in one fell swoop. You have to do it this way - it's like a Band-aid. Try not to faint. Below we have 59 (that's fifty-nine) teeny stitches running free.

Step 3. Make yarn vomit. Since this is lace weight mohair it actually looks more like the structure of a protein, but I digress. If you are wise you wind the newly liberated yarn into a ball, or around the rest of the skein as you work. I was not wise. It was actually not that difficult to free the yarn, except in the knit-3-together stitches (sl 1, k2tog, psso). I found that with the mohair it was easiest and neatest to hold down the fabric with the palm of one hand and pull at the tail with short, sharp, yanks parallel to the direction of the fabric. In other words, pull away from the knitted edge rather than up at a 90 degree angle to it. Because that would just make a mess. This freed the stitches on the live row pretty easily and left the rest of the fabric in peace. The pins effectively stopped me from ripping too far. A little bit of alcohol may be beneficial at this point to calm the nerves.

Step 4. To remove the pinned row take the pins out one at a time as you work across the row. Then, very slowly and carefully, since you have no safety net at this point, rip the next row below. No rushing, no yanking, and no crying. This put me at row 8, which is where I wanted to be.

Step 5. Carefully thread the free loops (59 for me!) back on the needle and pray that there are the correct number of stitches available. I got them all on the first try! Don't worry about the orientation of the stitches on the first pass, just get them on the needle. You can rearrange them later if they are backwards (about half of mine were initially backwards. Celebratory drinks are now in order, as you have ripped back a piece of evil lace mohair and lived to tell the tale.

Step 6. Resist the urge to throw the project out the window and knit the Ending Chart. The astute observer will note that this will actually give me 22 pattern repeats (I think), since I did not reknit any of the Lace Chart repeats. I ripped the 13 rows if the Ending Chart and the last 8 rows of pattern repeat 23. It doesn't matter, the Secret Project is plenty big and besides, I am allergic to mohair remember and I wasn't going to do it anyway.

The evil Secret Project is now resting in anticipation of its big reveal:

What is the lesson we have learned here? We don't need no stinkin' lifelines. Oh yeah, and it would be a good idea to read twice and knit once rather than skim off-handedly once and curse a lot later.


At 8:15 PM, Blogger Veronique said...

Trellis scarf?
I know that you may be mad at your lace right now, but, oh!, it looks beautiful!

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Alison said...

It's beautiful, regardless of allergies and frogging! Good luck with the rest of it.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger schrodinger said...

It looks great, and congratulations on surviving the whole nerve-racking experience.


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