Following the Arrow

If you took part in the Follow Your Arrow KAL and didn’t learn something about yourself as a knitter, you weren’t paying attention. I know I sure did.

Week One (B) started off with a hiss and a roar. Knitting lace is addictive. Knitting shawls from the centre out is addictive. Combining these two facts with a completely unknown end product creates THE MOST ADDICTIVE SHAWL PATTERN ALIVE. I simply couldn’t couldn’t put it down. There was a brief hiccup as I didn’t realise the the zig-zag lace pattern was worked in garter stitch, but that was okay, one row tinked and all was right. 

Week Two (A) started with a bit of a stutter. I set up the lace on the tram, realised I hadn’t done the extra stitches at the markers and had to rip it back. No big deal right? Just set it up again and kept knitting. And knitted some more…. and then some more……

Week Three (B) started with some confusion. The numbers didn’t seem quite right – in fact, they didn’t seem right at all….I was 40 stitches off. How on earth could I be 40 stitches off?! Unless…. unless I’d set up the lace row wrong again and hadn’t put in the extra increases in on either side of the extra stitches….ripped back Clue Two and did it again.

Week Four (B) therefore started five days late and not in the best of moods. What would the next clue bring? MORE GOD DAMN LACE. The set up row took me five gos. I considered giving up. I really, really wanted to. But I kept going.

Week Five (A) came as something of a relief. Sure there was more lace, but it was the last time I’d have to set-up a lace row and it didn’t matter how many stitches off I was when I got to the end, at least it would be the end. A few mistakes here and there, the cast off and I was DONE.

Follow Your Arrow2

So what did I learn from this torturous process? That I am terrible at setting up lace rows. Once set up, it’s not so bad, I can ‘read’ the lace to ensure I’m on the right track. I’m also really lazy at reading patterns. I have the tendency to assume how things should progress or rely on the photo to work things out. Being denied both of these things has forced me to pay more attention to the pattern – or still be lazy and text a friend to work out what I’m doing wrong. 

There were of course some positives. I learnt that sometimes it is best to rip back and do it again, rather than simply fudging it. I learnt the value of pure perseverance. Had it not been for several friends also going the KAL, I definitely would have given up. I am glad I finished. And even though there were negatives, I did learn from them too.

Do I like the finished product? Not at first. It looks a bit ‘bitsy’, not like a fully integrated and thought out lace pattern. But then a lady stopped me on the street to compliment it and it’s hard to dislike it after that. Will I knit another Ysolda pattern? Definitely. Will I partake in another Mystery KAL? Not on your life.

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