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A couple of weeks ago I spent a day gathering up my far-flung WIPs. I had bags in my library, in my knitting nook, in the living room, in the bedroom and in my office at work! Seeing everything piled up in one place was a bit daunting but, in the perverse attitude of a fiber freak, fantastically energizing.

Using Ravelry and my Knit Buddy iTouch app, I arranged everything into two categories. The ones that I felt I could get to at least once a week became WIPs. The others went into my Queue.

As I became reaquanted with my neglected WIPs, I slammed head first into the one rule that I just can’t seem to retain. Make REAL notes! Cryptic jottings do not qualifiy!!

My Stonington Shawl is a perfect example. Here is a reproduction of the notes I made on the Xerox copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s instructions.

When I first laid out the shawl, I realized that I was about halfway finished with the second trapezoid. Wow! What luck! With my notes, I shouldn’t have any trouble with this garter stitch segment. I knit and knit and knit. There was a marker in my knitting that I assumed (a word that should be removed from the English language) that it marked a boundary. Once I had worked up to that marker, I would have the 200 stitches that were to form the outer edge. In my defense, I did count the stitches on the first outer edge and they added up to 200.

Towards the top of the second trapezoid, or what I thought was the top, I became curious and counted my stitches – a lot more than 200! And, I still had a couple more rows before I reached the deceitful marker! Blast!!!!

By now I have over 400 stitches loaded onto my 32” circular needle. Time to transfer all of the stitches onto a very long piece of cotton yarn so I can spread out my shawl and figure out just what in the world is going on!! Notice how I didn’t cut a long piece of yarn. If you are trying on a sweater and have a good idea how big around it will be, then you can cut a long piece of yarn with extra to accommodate any errors in your calculation. But, with a shawl, you really don’t know how much yarn you will need so don’t cut until the shawl is spread out. That way you won’t run out of the scrap yarn and you can re-use it later.

Well, then, now what seems to be the trouble?

Clearly I have managed to add many more stitches to the second trapezoid than the first. Since it seems to be a problem from the very beginning, my guess is that my mathematical (let alone geometry) skills failed me much more than my lack of detailed notes.

This is going to require A LOT of ripping out. And, I'm not really that pleased with the way it looks. I absolutely love this colorway - Bayou - so I want a shawl that shows it off. This does not look like the answer. I'm going to go off to eat dinner and spend the evening wandering around in Ravelry and the internet. I have a little idea buzzing around in my head but you will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Comment by cherylbwaters on April 3, 2010 at 8:55pm
Beth, I forgot to mention that Linda Ronstadt's version is the most popular and is extremely well done. But there is just something about Roy's version that really gets to me. ♥c
Comment by cherylbwaters on April 3, 2010 at 2:54pm
Kelley, I thought you might enjoy that. Most people in Houston say bī (y)ō, but in Louisiana they say bī (y)ū. Well, visiting relatives there every three week, I use the latter pronunciation. My dad fussed at me if I tried to use the former. My fourth grade teacher was not very pleased when I told her that the pronunciation in the poem Evangeline should be pronounce the Bayou [bī (y)ū] Teche [tĕsh]. I don't think she liked me very much! ♥c
Comment by Beth Pritchett on April 2, 2010 at 5:04pm
Since I am much better at planning and starting projects than finishing, I can totally relate to WIP's everywhere. I also have notes scribbled everywhere. And unlike stray scraps of paper with those unlabeled phone #'s, you can't just dial them up and see who you get. It's interesting how the extra stitches in the shawl altered the appearance of the knitted fabric. It's a shame to have to rip out all that work, but we do what we have to do. And I'm sure you will find that perfect pattern you are looking for. Better to start again on something you love that to pour so much more work into something that you are just not feeling.
Janet, when you mentioned doing the CLC in Bayou, I went searching through my stash to find out what I had decided to pair it with. I finally found it under the laceweight for another shawl. Cattail...although I am using cattail as the main color, I think they could be reversed. The CLC KAL also has some suggestions, although several of the colors are discontinued by now, you may still get some inspiration.
Cheryl, I love Blue Bayou. Didn't Linda Ronstadt do that, too?
All you ladies and your technical gadgets. It seems like just yesterday my kids had to tell me what my desktop was! I don't think I will ever catch up.
Comment by Kelley Petkun on April 2, 2010 at 11:50am
Seriously! Cheryl, the video was perfect!
Comment by cherylbwaters on April 1, 2010 at 10:28pm
Lena, I'll have to put some thought into that. ♥c
Comment by Janet on April 1, 2010 at 8:16pm
Sorry, that is the CLC! Janet
Comment by Janet on April 1, 2010 at 8:15pm
I knew I liked the Bayou colorway, now I really love it! Time for me to put in another KP order and make sure I get this colorway. Now to figure out just how much I will need. On the shawl, are you using a double strand, or just 1 strand??? Although I am really attracted to it for the CLS. I haven't started it yet, wasn't sure just what color to put with the Bayou, any suggestions??? BTW, love the podcasts. I have all of them loaded onto my mp3. Now jsut to get an Ipod for audio books. I do not have the time for reading, because too busy knitting and quilting! Janet
Comment by Tara Addesa on April 1, 2010 at 2:36pm
Susan Yes yes saw Your Shawl in progress it's Beautifullll !! Looking forward to having Enough HandSpun to Do Something With it :)))
Comment by HavetoomuchYarn on April 1, 2010 at 10:10am
Cheryl, maybe it is time for you to do a techie blog. Or a little bit at a time just to not overwhelm us! What is there for us who do not have a iTouch/iPod? Anything for the PC? Even ppls "homemade" spreadsheets? Maybe a forum could be set up? I love my Sansas, I have a View and a small one. One is for music (the small one :) and one is for audio-books (the large one!). I do want something that bookmarks better. For the Sansa I have to convert genre into "podcast" to keep its place and even then it is a hit and miss. When I put a book from a mp3 disc on I have to manually (with a pen and paper) note where I am or it just starts at the beginning again. Pretty frusturating.

Yep, a forum would be great.

who loves techie stuff and is looking forward to adding to my knowledge...
Comment by Beverly Roberts on April 1, 2010 at 9:56am
What do you all think of a Whisper cardigan in Bayou? Don't know how to put a link in here, but if you want/need to look at the pattern it's from Interweave knits and you can see it on Ravelry.

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