Thursday, November 02, 2006

Swallowtail at loose ends

On the flight to Arizona, I cast on Swallowtail. After spending a couple of minutes reading then faking the cast-on, all went swimmingly. Before we left Arizona I had finished the first lace section and was ready for the lily of the valley section. The silk yarn was heavenly.

On the flight back, I started the complicated business of trying to purl 5 together. I began thinking I should have put in a lifeline--something I have never done before. I always panic when learning a new skill, then get a few rows in and everything clicks, nothing seems hard. You'd think that would give me confidence when I approach that learning curve on a new project--but it hasn't. It did, however, make me feel OK about the lack of a lifeline.

So forward I went. I pulled out the extra sock needle to help me and kept dropping it underneath the seat in front of me. Very frustrating. Finally, I started getting the rhythm down. Finally, I started to gestalt the whole thing.

And I realized I had made a terrible, terribly stupid mistake. In my panic about the p5togs, I had neglected to notice that the two sides are not identical. The lilies tilt in to the center to make them symmetrical. How had I not seen that, or just plain known that of course it was true?

Purl 5 together is hard to do. It is even harder to undo.

Cobwebby-laceweight silk yarn does not allow one to see what one is doing well, either.

So I ran a lifeline, at least as well as I could, through the end of the earlier section. And I frogged. And I stuck it in a bag and left it to meditate on its misdeeds for a couple of weeks.

Last night I tried to get it back on the needles successfully--but such was not to be.

In a fit of frustration, I frogged the whole thing.

* * *

A book of patterns sitting on my lap,
Fresh ball of silk, a pair of needles-—and Thou
Beside me knitting on the couch.

with apologies to the Rubaiyat


LizKnits said...

ahh swallotail... it's my first lace and I've been putting in lifelines every 2-4 rows. I admire your skill and bravery in getting through the first section without trauma. Jump back on the horse I say!

Kate A. said...

AAAAAIIEEEEEEEE!!! That was a scary story, more appropriate for Halloween, I think. Poor Swallowtail. That looks like beautiful yarn - maybe it just wants to be something else?

Sheepish Annie said...

I love knitting with silk...until it is time to frog. Then I curse it's very existence!

Hang in there! Knitting success awaits, I can just feel it.

mrspilkington said...

that yarn does look gorgeous. this time it's going to be great! i can feel it.

Lolly said...

Sorry to hear about the ripping! I hope it goes smoother this next time!

Will I see you at Stitches this weekend? I want to meet you once and for all!

Liz K. said...

Consider frogging a meditiation on impermanence. That's what I did on Wednesday when I frogged a finished top-down raglan back to the armpits.

The Tell Tale Heart said...

Another example of your inner knitter's strength. Congratulations on taking the plunge.

May 'Thou' be with you.

Missing you -- Me

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to sound negative...but I'm glad I'm not the only one having problems with this pattern! I'm not in the KAL...I found your blog while searching for possible errata out there for this pattern!
Last night I was up till midnight knitting up the lily of the valley 1 chart for the 3rd time (from the lifeline of course) this morning I tried again...and frogged it completely!
Good Luck...I'll give it a go again, just not right now!

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Wow. That took guts! I'll see you tomorrow!


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