Skyscraped off
Thursday July 26th 2007, 11:41 am
Filed under: Knit

Now, back in the day, when I had no clue how to make, much less purl into, a yarnover, I photocopied a number of lace patterns out of various books in the library that I thought were beautiful and that I wanted to make someday. I felt that by having them on hand it would inspire me to persevere in my efforts to figure out how to do this.

This was a goodly while ago.

So. I found this one page the other day. Don’t remember it. Nice pattern. No idea what book it came from, and no way to know. Clearly quite old. I translated it into the abbreviations I’m more comfortable working from, and set to work knitting it as the main body of a circular shawl I’d started.

Our friends Nina and Rod and my hubby and I were once in San Francisco spending the day walking around playing tourist, and at the achingly gorgeous Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, you get a lovely view of the downtown skyscrapers. There is one odd one (not in those pictures; I haven’t found one of it quite yet) that has what looks like layers of ladyfinger cookies around the bottom part of it, a bit of whimsy amidst all the metal and glass. I always wanted to knit that; at the time, I was thinking Kaffe Fassett style in multicolors. I later saw I think it was a Horst Schulz modular knitting pattern that pretty well captured it–cool!

And here it was in lace. Perfect. Barbara Walker has a simplified version, but this one had the width and the heft to it that I wanted.

I did just a few rows, with an increasing sense of dragging my feet that just made no sense. You know, dear, you really should swatch that before doing 400 stitches per row across. Get the feel of it, at least, right?

Like I don’t know how to knit lace already?

I finally gave into the insistence, set my shawl aside, and did that silly swatch like I knew I should have in the first place. There were 20 rows in the pattern. At row 12, all hell broke loose. I doublechecked–no, I hadn’t changed anything in my rewrite, I was knitting exactly what it said. Whoever had transcribed that thing from her notes must have been interrupted by a small child falling down the stairs or by her elderly husband having a heart attack, or something–it would have to have been something drastic like that to have had that kind of a result: there is no connection between the first half and the second half of those instructions. No connection to the picture. No connection to the stitch count. What on earth? She must have mashed two totally different patterns together?

The end result is I spent three hours swatching, trying, tweaking, trying to redesign the thing, because as long as I was doing that I might as well make it the 20 stitch repeat I wanted rather than the 19 it claimed, right? (The obvious thing would have been to reknit the shawl yoke to match the other versions of the pattern I could find or easily froggedmake, but I didn’t do that.) I frogged, I knitted, I frogged, I knitted, and in the end, the frogs won this round because I can’t stand to look at it anymore for now.

To misquote Dorothy Parker, this xerox needed not to have been set aside lightly, but to have been hurled across the room with great force. Watch out for that paper airplane, here it comes.

(p.s. You know, I probably ought to delete this post so as not to scare off laceknitter-wannabe’s. Go with Barbara Walker’s stitch treasuries, you’re safe. She cleaned up an awful lot of old mistakes in old patterns.)

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Are you referring to me with the laceknitter-wannabes? ha ha ha…

Not scared anymore. Nope.

Comment by Amanda 07.26.07 @ 3:18 pm

Hi Allison,
My name is Karen. I’m a seasoned knitter (about 50 years) but I’m not familiar with the abbreviation “m.” Please tell me what that means. I’d love to do the embossed diamond afghan. Thanks.

Comment by Karen Matheis 10.26.07 @ 9:24 am

I’m trying to make the Embossed Diamond” afghan but I don’t know a couple of the abbreviations. What is M1? and SSK?

Comment by Ruth 12.30.09 @ 1:41 pm

I have been knitting for years bit do not know what you are referring to when you use the abbreviation M. I was looking for an explanation in the beginning or end of the pattern but didn’t find any. Can you refer me where to go to find the stitch. Thank you…Donna

Comment by Donna 06.09.11 @ 2:06 am

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>