Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sore Brain Syndrome

I’m one of those people who is always early for any appointment, whether it’s an important meeting, a dental appointment, or a just a casual lunch with a friend. If I’m just on time, I find myself apologizing for being late. My parents were the same way when I was growing up, so I suppose it’s in my genes . . . or in my upbringing at least.

Knitting against a deadline is no different for me. Although I’m in good shape on meeting my deadline to complete the Print O’ The Waves Shawl in time for my niece’s prom in May, I still feel the need to push forward quickly.

Several days ago, I completed the second side of the center motif and then grafted the two sides together. I then firmly resolved to continue to motor forward and pick up and knit the dreaded 640 stitches around the perimeter to begin the inner edging. I really dreaded this task! Picking up stitches in any great quantity is definitely not high on my list of Fun Things To Do on A Friday Night, but the thought of picking up 640 stitches was enough to set my mind to busily concocting excuses. I really should vacuum inside my car first. You know. That sort of thing. But I overcame my own excuses and stuck with the plan and dove right into the dreaded task without allowing days of procrastination to pass, serving only to increase the magnitude of the task in my mind.

It turned out not to be so bad. I picked up the 640 stitches and finished up the four rows of inner edging in short order and set my project aside with the plan of beginning the outer edge border the following evening.

That’s when the trouble began. I think perhaps I was too tired and fuzzy-headed to knit more than simple stockinet that night.

The outer edge is a 17 stitch X 16 row repeat that undulates gently in and out, as many shawl patterns do. I knit the first 8 rows without a hitch, but when I got to the 9th row I had an extra stitch. I backed up, thinking I’d inadvertently added a yarnover or missed a decrease. I knit it again, but still came up with an extra stitch. Back, back, back I go. I re-knit rows 6 through 8 just to be sure I hadn’t made an error further back than just the previous row. Nope. Still an extra stitch.

This is where the sore brain syndrome came into play. Rather than stepping back and looking closely at the pattern, I just knit it again, ripped back, and again and again, four or five times total. Not much of a testament to my brain power!

By this time, I was muttering and grumbling quite a bit. I tore back the 8 rows of the outer edging and decided to try it without joining it to the main body of the work. I thought that perhaps it was the awkwardness of completing the first few rows of edging when the edging that was joined to the main body was so narrow and flimsy compared to the fairly massive overall piece. I cast on 17 stitches and knit away. Nope. One extra stitch.

At that point, I began to get irritated with my husband. How could he just sit there quietly watching television while I was on the verge of tearing my hair out? (I don’t know what I expected him to do. Perhaps he should have quickly learned to read a knitting chart and deciphered the problem for me?)

My brain began to hurt.

I set the knitting aside and decided that I was just too tired to deal with it. When I was feeling fresh and sharp the next day, I finally came to my senses and stopped trying the same thing over and over. (Isn’t that a sign of madness? When you do the same thing over again and again and expect a different result?) In the light of the day, when I looked at the chart, I realized that perhaps it was an error in the pattern and not my faulty brain that was to blame. Unless I’ve completely lost my mind, the chart in the pattern is wrong.

Normally, I would just pop an e-mail over to the address provided at the bottom of the pattern, but I still have this nagging doubt that perhaps it is in fact a problem with me and not the pattern. Perhaps I just have a blindspot about this?

I would greatly appreciate it if someone can verify for me that I’m not missing something. The pattern is a free pattern on Eunny Jang’s site, linked in a PDF document over to the right side. The chart in question is Chart B. If you look at the chart, you’ll see that it increases one stitch every other row for the first half of the chart and it should then decrease one stitch every other row for the second half of the chart. The problem is that the decrease rows on the second part of the chart seem to be missing one decrease. When I look at the number of YO’s versus the number of decreases, I get a balanced number. No net decrease. Am I insane or is this the case?

Please, oh please, some lace-knitting, chart-loving, kind-hearted, too-much-time-your-hands soul out there take a peek for me and let me know if there is, in fact, a problem here! Either way, it’s really not such a big deal, but I would like to know whether I am just a flat-out knitiot. I will, of course, let Eunny know about it if it's an error since I'm sure she would want to correct it, but I really don't want to bother her if I'm just misinterpreting something in my addled brain.

I finally just decided to add an extra K2TOG to each row that should have a net decrease and now I’m moving along swimmingly. But I still would like to know whether I’m reading something wrong. It seems clearly off to me, but at the same time I find it difficult to imagine that nobody has pointed out this error yet. The pattern has a 2005 copyright and there’s even a gallery of photos of shawls folks have knit from the pattern. Did everyone revise Chart B as I have or am I just making some type of rookie error in reading the pattern?

After all this rambling, I wish I could reward you with lots of photos, but at this point, with the outer edge in progress and most of the main body still crowded onto a long circular needle, it’s rather difficult to get a shot that looks like anything more than this:

I can spread it out a bit and focus on one side, so you can see a bit more of how the edging is progressing. It will take some “aggressive” (that’s the word used in the pattern) blocking to transform into its final form but you can get a little of the idea of how the edge will look from this shot.

Overall, despite my sore brain, I’m now progressing well and have little fear remaining about making my deadline of completing this in plenty of time for my niece’s prom. Hallelujah!


Micki said...

Yep, the error in the Print O' the Wave chart B is documented by Eunny herself here.

I'm so sorry you had to rip it out so many times! That's totally something I would have done. BTW, I'm always early too. My twin sister is always late, so somehow it evens out.

Katinka said...

My head hurts just reading this! ;) I'm glad micki had an answer for you, though.

Lynne E. said...

In a Stitches West class on fixing mistakes, Sidna Farley gave some of the best advice ever: "Never rip after midnight!" :D Actually, I'm impressed that you figured out the solution.

anne said...

i looked at the pattern too, and eunny's correction on the forum. but i also noticed an error that she did not document. on row 15, right at the beginning, it seems that the chart SHOULD say sl1, k1, yo, k2tog in order to continue that little ladder of YOs that travels straight up the side of the edging. this would make row 15 match all the other odd-numbered rows . . .

anne said...

oh! and i forgot to say how very VERY gorgeous the shawl looks in that yarn! just SO frothy and gossamer . . . more like wave froths than anything i've seen out there. really beautiful deb! makes me want to pull your laceweight out right now! but i have to get the starlight pattern done first. and it almost is. this weekend, FF merino swatches here i come

~Tonia~ said...

It looks so lovely. Sorry you had so many problems. Glad that all is well now and everything is going smoothly.