31 August 2007

To Tink or Not To Tink

Ok, I'm going to do it. While brushing my teeth tonight I decided I don't want a shawl that has two screw ups so early on. (Did I not mention the other one? Oopsie. You can almost see it in the picture, there's a decrease that doesn't stack right. All subsequent ones are fine, so I was really going to pretend it wasn't there.) Surely I'll make more mistakes later, and isn't it important to not rip rows that have 196 stitches in them rather than ones with less than 40? And don't I--since this is for me--deserve something perfect? You bet I do.

I am totally going to rip back and make this baby 100%. I haven't knit on it for four nights and there's a reason. It needs to be right.

Except...I have no idea how to rip back something like 9 rows of lace without completely screwing things up. And I have no lifeline because, well, because lifelines are for amateur's and regardless of the fact that I AM an amateur at lace I wasn't going to admit it to myself.

(Excuse me while I go look up the definition of "hubris.")

So how do I do it without tinking back stitch by stitch? Any suggestions??

And while I'm waiting? I'm totally going to cast on this guy. I can't help myself. Thanks, Kristi.


At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Kelli said...

Well, you could always take dental floss on a darning needle and slip a lifeline in after the fact. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes you have to work with the stitches a little more to get them to look perfect.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

I have never knit lace, sorry I am of no help.

What an adorable pattern! I just might have to knit it for James.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger NeedleTart said...

The only time I have taken lace back I either tinked it (six rows, yecchhh!) or ripped the whole darn thing.
But of course you should fix the error or it will bug you every time you look at the shawl.

At 12:14 AM, Blogger swan/dragon said...

All is not necessarily lost!
Sit down and relax for about five minutes. Then take a deep breath and consign yourself to the fix.
Find a very well-lit area and lay out your piece on an uncluttered, solid-colored surface (I prefer laying out a white pillowcase to work on). Arm yourself with these things: Tiny crochet hook, a circular needle at least two sizes smaller than the one you were using, dpns in the same size as the small needle, your copy of the pattern (especially charts!), nerves of steel and firm resolve, and a cup of something hot. Slowly rip back the piece to the beginning of the row where you have the earliest mistake, working stitch by stitch on that row. Then, as you rip back the last mistake row, take the time to read your knitting and compare it to the pattern while picking up the stitches with the needle, one at a time. I work right to left, as I am right handed. Tedious? Yes, but so is lace knitting, and ultimately that's what you want to do. The crochet hook is for utter emergencies where the stitches decide to continue to drop no matter what you do. The dpn is for stabbing and holding any surrounding stitches near the fatally dropping stitches, as you can slip them back off it in either direction. You use the circular in case you need to slip the stitches in the opposite direction as well. Take many short breaks in which you do not look at the stitches at all; this refreshes your eyes so you can really focus. Walk away, rub your eyes, come back and start again. The key to the fix is not skill but attitude. In the event you are constantly swearing under your breath while attempting the fix and find you cannot stop no matter how many times you walk away and come back (I say maximum of four for my fixes, but you do what you feel is right), then rip the whole thing and start fresh. Yes, really. Accepting this as a possibility early on will take the sting out of it. You will feel much better about the finished product that way; no need to put a whack of anger into your knitting. Do not cast on anew immediately after ripping; you will only want to kill the shawl more. Wait an hour or so. And remember to tape a piece of dental floss to your needle when you get back to actual knitting; even professionals use lifelines.
Of course, if Emerson decides not to let you have a half day to do this, bring it to me next week and I will do it for you. 196 stitches doesn't scare me at all, provided they are someone else's.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger herself75 said...

I vote life line!

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Cinnamonamon said...

Good luck!!

At 8:29 AM, Blogger The Purloined Letter said...

I'm with you about having trouble living with big mistakes. Ripping at this point might be easier and quicker than attempting repair--but learning the skills for repairing lace will certainly be useful later on! Good luck.

I've been on hiatus for some time but am now back to reading some of my favorite blogs and writing more regularly. How nice to catch up with you!

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Kelli said...

You've been tagged, please read my post. ;)


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