Oh, how I wish this were a pair of socks!

Even though I have given in to the brainless joy that is “using markers in your lace knitting,” and the lace repeat in the Meadow Flowers Shawl is not so very big, I am still taking every opportunity to have a learning experience. And by that, I mean I. Am. Screwing. Up. Right. And. Left. The 12th flower lace repeat has become a tiny and very cute version of Dante’s Inferno – a lacy hell in which I feel as if I have always and will always be knitting the same eight rows of flowers over and over.

I would feel differently about my learning experience had I not said two things to myself: first, “This is the only thing I’ll work on until it’s done.” and second “I want to wear this shawl for Halloween.” Eagle-eyed readers will hear the sound of New Year’s knitting resolution #4 breaking: Ix-nay on the deadline-oriented knitting. I know that was technically meant to stop me from a frenzy of Christmas gift knitting in the wee winter hours, but this feels the same – I have too much left to be knit (the shawl progress calculator tells me each row equals approximately one percent of the total shawl), and too little time to knit it – there is no effing way I will possibly be finished by October 31. As an added bonus, I’m almost positive I’ll run out of yarn before I’m done too.

Oddly, I find the surest thing to jinx project progress is talking about it. As in “I think I’ve got the hang of this now” or “It’s getting easier” or “I’ll probably make another mistake before I’m done.” Approximately 39 seconds after I said that last one to my husband the other night, I saw that the top petal of flower 12 was off by one stitch across an entire row – three rows back. To make matters worse, my husband had said “That shawl definitely looks bigger” not an hour earlier.

[Imagine picture of shawl here, mid-rip, with knitter in background soldiering on but losing will to live, bit by bit. Reconstituted shawl is alarmingly similar to this picture taken weeks ago – ed.]

On the bright side, I am a champion lace ripper now. In all seriousness, I don’t know why I expected anything different. I have not knitted lace before, and much as I’d like to be, I am not really an intuitive knitter – I often have to circle around a technique several times with information from different sources before I can read my knitting or I get it. So I’m in the holding pattern that constitutes my learning curve. My lesson from all of this? You can knit something new to you, or you can knit to a deadline, but trying to do both may require a sense of resigned inevitability and the liberal application of curse words.

But if this were a pair of socks or a cabled hat? You bet I’d be done on time. Damn.

4 thoughts on “Oh, how I wish this were a pair of socks!

  1. terby

    I have the same problem with the lace knitting. I’m so close to being done with a shawl – but I made a mistake near one of the last row repeats, and have made negative progress since then. For some reason, the edging became an impossible task, as the pattern then changed. Hopefully this last attempt will solve the problem. As frustrating as it was, I really enjoyed it.

  2. susan

    Well, if you want to fly out here some time this week, I’d be happy to finish it for you. And if you still think you’ll run out of yarn, leave off the last repeat. Just make sure the top edge is a multiple of 6 (I think it’s 6) or the edging won’t fit.

  3. Barbara

    Oh, I sympathize. Lace requires so much concentration, at least for me. I’m working on a simple lace scarf right now and I have learned I cannot reliably count to 7, 8, or 9. I’ve become expert at tinking back. I think I have spent as much time tinking as I have knitting. And if you want to sip a glass of wine while you’re knitting, forget it. And forget any movie watching if there is any action at all as well. 8 of 25 lace repeats are done. A nice pair of socks would have been finished long before now. Sigh.


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