Monday, September 9, 2013

Of Lace And Lies

I love knitting lace.  It doesn't matter if the pattern is plain and simple or elaborate and detailed.  I trust that all I have to do is follow the instructions - yarn overs paired with just the right increases and decreases.  Sometimes knitting lace is like wandering a labyrinth, and I follow along blindly.  In the end, I'll have a nondescript blob of knitting that will be transformed through the magic of blocking into something wonderful.

The beauty of lace is that it never lies.  That's one of the things I love about it.  Lace knitting is precision knitting.  I follow the pattern and, if it's written correctly and I follow the instructions, my knitting should work out stitch for stitch at the end of every row and every section.

It's ironic that what I most admire about lace knitting also annoys me the most.  It never lies.  If I work to the end of a row and I'm off by a stitch or more, it's time to backtrack, count and recount.  Either I'm wrong or the pattern is wrong.  When I check online for pattern errata and don't find any, the burden rests on me to find the mistake.

Even if I'm off by just one stitch, I will find the mistake.  Yesterday morning I had some productive knitting time while waiting for my daughter to complete a fundraiser walk.  Things were moving right along until I can to the end of a section and realized I had an extra stitch.  One extra stitch.  I dissected the pattern, counted and recounted.  Somewhere I was off on the math, and it became a personal challenge to sort it out.  

Sorting out often leads to ripping out.  I found my mistake.  If I start a section with one extra stitch, that extra stitch will come back and bite me.  I assumed my stitch count was on target heading into that section.  Had I taken ten seconds and counted my stitches, I would have realized I was off by one.

Back on track and ready for the next section.  

Yes, my stitch count is correct.  I've counted.  And recounted.

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