Knitting Community

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 Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2010 at 6:01pm
Tara, I've only knit a very few shawls, and they were in the bigger yarns with great ole big needles, but I'm working on the one with my homespun now, and it is wonderful! Of course, I'm copying off Peggy - what is new! ♥s
Comment by Tara Addesa on March 30, 2010 at 5:55pm
Kelley While Shawls haven't been My thing they sure Are Juliennes and She Recently got a Book "Wrapped In Comfort" by Alison Jeppson Hyde (and Joined the KAL) Julies Just Raveing about the Designs in That Book !! From what Ive Seen they Really Are Pretty Enough to make Me a Convert :))) Btw Many Thanks for the KnitBuddy Link for My iPhone !!! Now there's an App I'll Really Use !!
Comment by cherylbwaters on March 30, 2010 at 4:06pm
Well, having been born in Louisiana and raised in the Bayou City [Houston, TX], I just thought Blue Bayou an appropriate song for some "Bayou Shine". ♥c
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2010 at 3:42pm
Kelley, Such a shame about your shawl. I realize that you aren't always sitting at your computer, but I really try to make either paper notes, or make a file about each "big" project. That way you always remember what you have done. I'm rather luck right now not to have any WIPs hanging out there... I'm really trying not to get to far ahead of myself that nothing at all get finished. Good luck on whatever you decide. Cheryl, just love your little attachments! ♥s
Comment by cherylbwaters on March 30, 2010 at 2:20pm
Kelley, I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble with your Stonington Shawl. I have been looking for notes that I wrote on a collar for my BSJ. I think I may have to reconstruct what I did. But here is my suggestion. I know you like to use Awesome Notes app on your iPod Touch. I prefer to use the Notes app that come on the iPod. Unless I am using Awesome Notes incorrectly, the reason is simple. I like to write my notes on my Touch while I am knitting and then I can email them to myself. I wish I had started doing this before I did the collar because I obviously hid those notes pretty good. Seriously!!!iii... Since you used Shimmer in Bayou, I thought the following might cheer you up.

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Comment by cellogirl on March 30, 2010 at 1:39pm
Georgeous yarn--there's always steeking to reshape?? Or, ruffles--surely you can unvent something remarkable and original with your excess miter!!
Comment by HavetoomuchYarn on March 30, 2010 at 12:24pm
Oh yeah, definitely put in much more info because you will *not* remember. Needlesize and guage are actually really good information (and measurements). And I should mention that when I write notes on a piece of paper (or in your knitting-notebook) I need to put the name of the project somewhere on that piece of paper! I've found what looks like important jotting of a modification but have no idea what project they go with. Or what idea. And when I modify a pattern, jot it down on the pattern so I will have it handy for next time (I remember I did something really cool with the border...).

...getting better at making notes but still likes to just keep going since it "feel right and I will remember"...
Comment by Evelyn M. Dugger on March 30, 2010 at 12:11pm
I'm sure you will find something super to make up with that gorgeous colorway. There are lots of wonderful shawls hiding on the internet waiting for you.
The story of your UFOs stashed everywhere sounds familiar. We are in the processs of moving my office and knitting lair up to a spare bedroom. I've been gathering up yarn and UFOs from every aspect of my home. Needless to say, I have found several projects that have no pattern with them!! Also some have been outgrown already. Some of them will be repurposed and some I'll be able to complete. This is a monumental task. Thank goodness for my ball winder! I'll have quite a queue. Hope I live long enough to do the things I'm planning.☺E
Comment by Jeanne Fangman on March 30, 2010 at 10:39am
The same thing happened to me this weekend. I pulled out a sweater that I will call a WIP but it should really be titled "hibernating sweater" as it has been several years since I have picked it up. I have a goal to finish it. There really isn't that much done. The front and back are done, the shoulders are seamed and one sleeve is nearly completed. I didn't like the first attempt for the sleeve following the pattern so altered the second attempt. Hopefully, I can find my "notes" and figure out what to do with the second sleeve. We do like the sleeves to match! - - J
Comment by Peggy on March 30, 2010 at 9:43am
Beautiful yarn:O) I am sure you will find something fantastic to make with it. I really enjoy reading your blog. It makes my knititng day:)

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