Friday, January 22, 2016

Scarlet Billows Start to Spread... So Throw Yourself a Lifeline!

Scarlet billows really are starting to spread. It's much neater than it looks though.
This is a cautionary tale.

I've been drawing up a design - inspired by Mack the Knife - for a lacy red dress using a variety of red yarns from my stash (hurrah stashbusting!). Now, lace isn't really my thing; I mean, I love it, and I love working with it when they're other people's patterns, but I've never designed with lace before. But I understand how pi shawls work, so I figured that as long as the stitch counts match up, I should be fine. And in theory, I really was. Only, the first ring of lace is a 12-stitch repeat. The second one was a 20-stitch repeat. So the numbers didn't quite match when doubled, but all I needed were a couple more stitches, so add them I did, and proceeded along my merry way halfway through the stitch pattern or so, willing myself to ignore all the while that the lace doesn't match up with the first ring of lace that well... it was just a little off, every time I looked at it, but a little off enough to matter. And because I knew it would bother me endlessly, relentlessly, I ripped back. I hadn't put in a lifeline, but I've messed up enough on other projects to know how to read my knitting here! (A simple lace, thank goodness. May I tell you the secret to becoming a great knitter? Or maybe just tell you to make a million mistakes and learn to fix them all, as I've been doing and continue to do.)

Why you should put in a lifeline
White buoy of hope.
I proceeded to look up a 12-stitch repeat lace to replace that second pattern and forged right on ahead after doubling my stitches... without putting in a lifeline. A repeat and a half in, I knew I would have to rip back again: this lace was a simpler, smaller-looking version of my first lace! (And because I'm either hopelessly optimistic or an idiot, I refused to swatch that lace beforehand also, which is why I had little clue what exactly it looked like in comparison to the first.) I knew I didn't want the outer rings to be denser than the inside one - this would make no sense in terms of practicality, the inside ring being the part that would provide cover from my waist down - so hi-ho, alas, and also lackaday, this just wouldn't do! And so I tugged and pulled and silently hoped the yarn would hold - which it did - and placed all those loose stitches onto my needles again.

(Shibui Knits Sock, it's been a real pleasure working with you so far - you're a real trooper. I'm sorry to see you're discontinued. Oddly enough though, considering you're a superwash merino, I dry-felt-joined you just fine.)

I then cut some yarn, threaded a needle, and pulled that needle through all my stitches. It took all of a minute or so, if that, and if I need to rip out again, I'm more prepared. Third time's the charm, though, so here's to hoping I won't even have to use it.

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