So I finally made my foray into lace knitting. It really wasn't supposed to happen, you know. I was going to knit things I could use. Scarves. Hats. Socks. Especially socks. You know, MANLY things. Okay...the socks came out bright red and green striped, and there's that German Sock Yarn thing...okay, and the "Susan Scarf" I did for my mom. But Not Lace Shawls. Heavens no, that is just a Little Too Much.
And then you look at something, and the pattern, the structure strikes you, and you think, "I wonder how that actually goes together? How does that motif actually form?"
So, (all in the name of science, mind you), I decided I'd knit the Swallowtail Shawl. I have to admit it was really enjoyable, and interesting, watching what each k2tog does, what each yo becomes, how one "bud" closes as the ones in between are opening.
I even enjoyed the Lily-of-the-Valley border, with its profusion of nupps, which I'd feared at first. They'd started out being a bit tight and tortuous at the beginning despite my efforts to "keep it loose," and then (after I realized that because I wasn't anchoring that yo after the nupp wraps, it was pulling tight) became a piece of cake, and even fun to do.
I dutifully put in a lifeline before starting the Lily-of-the-Valley border (aka nupp-a-thon), figuring that it would be a great place to screw up. I didn't.
After the nupp-a-thon comes a straight knitting and purling row, with the exception of a yo after the border and on either side of the central "spine." Easy! I'll have this thing finished today! But I thought, "Let's not be too cocky, I'll put in a lifeline just in case." So in it went, I did the two rows (following my lifeline and feeling more and more confident as I went), then went for the first row of the lace edging, a very simple, repetitious pattern. And guess what! I got to the spine, and there were not enough stitches left for me to finish it. Arrrrgh..
So I counted. there were indeed stitches missing. Strange though, because I'd been using my purl rows as a "double-check" opportunity, and everything had come out perfect. Now it was difficult to check them again with two rows of knitting on them. "Wow," I thought, "Damn good thing I put in that lifeline!" I ripped back to it, re-inserted my circular. Before I started knitting again, I decided I better count the stitches. So I did...and found that there were stitches that I'd missed as I threaded the lifeline in, and they hadn't been knitted, somehow. (Why? Weren't they still on the needle? You know...thin cashmere-y yarn...it's all a haze). Thankfully the yarn was a bit sticky and they hadn't actually "gone" anywhere. My numbers were correct.
So, I knit my straight knit and purl row again, did the first row of the simple repetitious border, got to the central spine....and...one stitch missing.
I counted - right amount of stitches. Checked the knitting. I'd done it right. Could the pattern be wrong?
I was close to ripping back again, when it dawned on me - I'd been so gung-ho on the two simple knit and purl rows that I'd forgotten to add the yo on either side of the spine. Luckily I was able to do a little "surgery", pulling up a yo from the line below and adding a stitch with the already-in purl line.
Then took off again on the easy, repetitive sequence. A quick opening sequence, then k2tog yo k3 yo ssk k1. I flew along it, got to the end of the row...and....too many stitches for the finish sequence. Checked back...oops...somehow I'd done a k2tog yo _k1_ yo ssk k1 back there, in the second sequence.
Ah, the joys of tinking. 119 stitches. On the bright side, I did devise a new way to tink a ssk. One that is not in any way more efficient than the normal way. It's just different. I might need that information some day. Finally knitted back over it, and I've never in my life been so grateful to see 3 stitches waiting where 3 stitched ought to be!
Wow, thank God I put in that lifeline....
(The shawl really should be finished in a day or so, and I'll post it once I find a place to block the damn thing!)