How many posts have I written about putting a lifeline in one's lace knitting?
Maybe you could be gentle and just not answer that. Because I could go back and count the lifeline posts myself..I'm going to guess there's at least three of them, probably more like five. Could be more, who knows. (Eek. How many posts have I written over the years, total? The mind boggles.)
OK, so I've given the lifeline advice over and over and over again…so can someone please explain to me why I am now faced with ripping back not one, but two projects where I did not use a lifeline? TWO PROJECTS. No lifelines. Not in the cute little Bolero from Feminine Knits, not in the Star Light Star Bright baby blanket.
I am chastened. I am humbled. I'm tempted to say I grovel, but that might be a bit much.
Nevertheless, in the service of the Greater Good of Knitting Everywhere, I hereby do confess and explicate my sin, in the hopes that somehow, the gospel of lifelines will be heard all the more clearly.
(Heard more clearly BY ME, anyway. Earth to Planet Wiseheart. Important message coming through…)
In which I get very close to finishing the Bolero before splashing headfirst into the frog pond…
I've got two sleeves and two fronts done, and I had four inches of the back done. Thus, I was feeling rather smug about my ability to knit a simple (ahem) little lace pattern and watch TV and chat with my husband and pet the dog all at the same time. (You can see what's coming, can't you?) Halfway through a really great movie (Serenity, second time I've seen it, O how I love thee, Joss Whedon), I looked down at my knitting and swore rather fluently (sorry, Mom). Two rows back, I had gotten off by half a repeat, so that now the designs no longer "stacked up" properly.
And of course: No Lifeline. "It's such an easy lace pattern," I said. "The yarn is so nicely spun it will be easy to fix any errors," I thought. "I'm really good at fixing lace errors," I said.
Phooey. It is an easy lace pattern, and the yarn is nicely spun, and I do know how to fix lace errors, but phooey. This error was so big there was nothing for it but to rip away–not gently tink back stitch-by-stitch, mind you, but just whack those needles right out of the stitches and let 'er rip.
I ripped slowly. And I made sure no stitches got dropped…or so I thought. I put the stitches carefully back on the needles, started to repair stitch mounts…and found several dropped yarnovers and double decreases and oh…nevermind. I couldn't fix this mess to save my life. (I blame it on the black yarn being hard to see. Work with me here.) Now, I am tinking back over a hundred stitches, one at a time, carefully catching the loops of each stitch before they have a chance to get away from me.
If I had used a lifeline…I'd be done knitting the back by now, instead of starting at Inch Three. (Chagrin fills my heart.)
But wait. There's MORE.
In which I find a Problem in the Stars…
I was knitting along on the Star Light, Star Bright baby blanket, looking forward to having a fifth row of stars to show off to you today…and then I noticed a Flaw about 22 rows back (yes, I counted…EEK!). I'd never produced this particular mistake before (how ingenious of me!): In the midst of a stockinette row, as I whipped along, knitting without looking at my work as I am wont to do, I split a stitch. Not only did I split the stitch, but I knit the two halves of the split stitch as though they were two separate stitches…creating an increase right in the middle of the whole blanket. (Clever girl.)
There are no photos. I discovered this problem about half an hour before bedtime last night, and I was so annoyed that I dove right into Ms. Fixit mode before I thought to get out the camera.
Fixing the split-stitch increase: First, I turned the fabric this way and that, trying to decide if this was an error that could be Left Alone. I could, after all, simply decrease a stitch quietly near the edge before the next band of stars, and likely no one would be the wiser. (Meg Swansen does not show up at my house to randomly check my knitting, I'm sad to say. Or perhaps I'm glad to say. Tough call. I'd be thrilled to have Meg in my home, but not so thrilled to have her find all my silly mistakes.) However: The split stitch created a noticeable thin spot, which I worried might quickly become a hole in the hands of a toddler.
I tried dropping the stitches down to the split and re-working them with a crochet hook, but it left 22 rows of loose tension resembling a spider's web smack dab in the middle of the starry blanket. Not even blocking was going to erase that horror.
The end result, as you have guessed, was a late-night frog session, including a good 45 minutes or so putting 181 stitches in the midst of the lace star band back on the needles, correcting mounts and rescuing yarnovers and ssp stitches.
And the obvious omission? Ayup: No lifeline. My favourite lace trick and I forgot to put one in. Sheer laziness, no other excuse…and I paid for it with a lot of frustration (and loss of sleep! I love my sleep time…). All I can say is: Lifelines: Just Use Them. (Also: Do as I say, not as I do. Sorry about that one.)
And if you have any creative ways of remembering to use a lifeline, help a girl out here and leave a comment, pretty please?
Knit with joy…if not with lifelines
P.S. Let me know what you think! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave a comment.