Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Originally published  Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Like life, knitting sometimes requires trial and error. I recently started a new project, a lace shawl designed by MMario called The Laughing Cat. MMario calls it a pseudo-Shetland shawls because it is similar to traditional Shetland shawls, but knitted in a modern way. The center, borders, and edging all contain variations of the traditional cat’s paw stitch–hence the name, The Laughing Cat. Being a cat-lover, I simply have to make me one of these. ☺

This shawl is still in the test-knitting stage. A member of MMario’s Yahoo! group knitted it as a baby blanket and I really liked it, so I decided to make one myself. But I decided to modify the pattern a little bit. The first change I made was to the center. I took out a stitch in the middle of the repeat and added one at the end. That adjustment worked out just fine, but I only decided to make that change after I had knitted over half the center following MMario’s instructions. I also changed the way the decreases are done on the third pattern round of  the cat’s paw itself.

The next change I made didn’t work so well. After picking up the stitches along all four edges of the center square, I did a round of  (yo, k2tog) to make a nice row of eyelets to separate the center from the border. Unfortunately, the holes in the eyelet round kind of melded with the holes in the cat’s paws and didn’t produce the effect I wanted and had expected. So, after having knitted a full repeat and another half a repeat of the cat’s paw pattern in the border, I decided to rip back to the picked-up stitches and start the border over. This time, I decided to put in a few rows of plain garter stitch before and after the eyelet round in order to provide a little more separation from the cat’s paw patterns. This entails making adjustments for the corner increases, but the math was pretty simple, even for a math eejit like me. The result was much more appealing, but somewhere along the line I miscounted the stitches and ended up with one of the corners in the wrong place. So I had to rip back to the picked-up round and start the border yet again. Twice. Yes, you read right. I had to rip back to the picked-up round two times because of a misplaced corner increase. If nothing else, I have discovered that Jojoland Harmony holds up pretty well to repeated ripping and knitting. Anyway, I am hopeful that the third time will be the charm. It isn’t astrophysics, after all, although I doubt the Neil DeGrasse Tyson can knit. LOL

As the pattern is written, the shawl will be pretty small using the yarn and needles I have chosen–Jojoland Harmony is a cobweb weight, and I’m using 2.75 mm needles–so I will have to knit more repeats to make it larger. I haven’t yet made up my mind about how to adjust the border to make the shawl bigger. I can lengthen each pattern section by knitting extra repeats, or I can keep each pattern section the same length and add extra sections. Any adjustments I make to the border ought to work out very nicely in the grand scheme of things. If only I can learn to count. ☺

A lot of people think it would be discouraging to rip out so many rows of knitting, but for me, it’s just part of the process. Sure, I wish I could always get it right the first time, every time, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Mistakes are part of the process, and sometimes when I make a mistake, I end up with an opportunity to make the knitting even better. When life gives you lemons, make whiskey sours. ☺



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