I feel as if I have been doing lots of knitting with little to show for it, so I am very pleased to have finished my Asterope shawl. I use the word “my” loosely because I knit this for a friend. Come to think of it, once I give it away I won’t have anything to show for this knitting, either. Oh, well! As I said in an earlier post, Asterope was designed by Romi Hill, and is one of the shawls in her 7 Small Shawls to Knit book. I made mine my friend’s out of Madelinetosh Merino Light (420 yards to 100 grams) in the Tart colorway. It took about one and a half skeins for the larger of the two sizes.
I find it difficult to photograph shawls, and it is especially difficult to capture the rich red/black of this color. But here are a couple of photographs to give you an idea of what it looks like before it is sent on its merry way.
I make my share of mistakes while knitting. Sometimes I misunderstand directions. Sometimes I miscount. Sometimes I think I’m smarter than I really am. And sometimes I get caught up watching Jeremy Irons in The Borgias and just don’t pay attention.
For example, the other day I randomly threw a p2tog into my pink Japanese cardigan. (I can’t even blame Jeremy for that one.) I figured it out four or five rows later when my stitch count was off. I came to the end of a section of traveling stitches and instead of two purl stitches remaining, I only had one. It wasn’t difficult to fix that mistake — the hard part was finding it. I looked and looked at both sides of my knitting until I realized it wasn’t a dropped stitch, but a “gee what was I thinking” decrease. I dropped down a few rows, undid the p2tog, and laddered back up, adjusting the tension of the surrounding stitches to have enough yarn for the stitch that had been decreased on the rows above the mistake. Here are a couple photographs of the fix.
That wasn’t so hard, now was it?
I’m also working on a lace shawl — a gift for a dear friend. It’s a beautiful but relatively simple pattern (more on it at the end of this post). That’s where Jeremy Irons comes in. I was working on the shawl the other night. I glanced down at the pattern repeat, memorized it, knit that row, and kept going while Jeremy did things modern Popes just.do.not.do. In the light of day, I noticed something wrong. The pattern has lines of stitches that converge. Left leaning decreases (sk2p — slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over) are paired with right leaning decreases (k3tog). I know this. I had already done these decreases on other rows. This time, however, I did the left leaning decrease across the entire row, and by the time I noticed I was five rows along in the pattern. Rut roh. The mistake is shown below.
So, to fix it I was going to have to drop back, and then recreate the intervening rows. (Did I mention there were fifteen repeats of this mistake?) The key part of the five rows (from where I was down to the mistake):
1. Current row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo
2. (WS): purl back
3. (RS): yo, k2tog
4. (WS): purl back
5. Mistake row (RS): yo, k3tog, yo (instead of yo, sk2p, yo)
I chose to work the next wrong side row and correct as I went along. I worked to each mistake, turned the knitting so that the right side was facing, and dropped down to the mistake. I only dropped down those stitches that I absolutely had to. Because I was correcting just a few stitches, I didn’t pin out the running threads to keep track of them — instead, I used a different wooden (non-slippery) needle for each row. After fixing the mistake a dozen times, I had it down to a science. It suddenly occurred to me that I should try to demonstrate what I was doing for the blog. That was harder than I thought it would be, even with a tripod. But here it is. (Disclaimer: I hate my voice, and I know this is not going to win for best documentary short at next year’s Oscars.)
Here is a close up of the repair.
Whew! That was one of those mistakes that I could have left — it didn’t change the stitch count. I obviously kept going without noticing it. I am making it for someone who doesn’t knit, and so I doubt she would have noticed. But the overall effect of the pattern would have been diminished.
As for the shawl pattern, it is Romi Hill’s Asterope, from her book Seven Small Shawls to Knit. The photograph below is from the book (I hope Romi doesn’t mind!).
The Asterope pattern is very clear, as are the charts. I cannot blame Romi for my mistake. I blame you, Jeremy.