Jun 15, 2011

Lessons learned

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm an extremely detailed-oriented person and appreciate clear instructions.  Okay, I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, too.  The odd thing though is that I don't always like to read those instructions or if when I do, I sometimes don't read them from start to finish or all the way through.  Weird, right? A few weeks ago, one of my best friends Susan asked if I would knit a birthday present for her mother, a talented knitter who tends to never be gifted hand-made knits because she can make anything for herself.  I jumped at this chance -- what a great challenge and honor to knit a beautiful object for a knitter who will know exactly what went into the making of the gift.  I knew right away that I wanted to make her the Scalene shawl.

(in Malabrigo Rios)
The designer, Carina Spencer, suggests many different types of yarns to knit the shawl, and because I love its texture, I chose Malabrigo Rios. I've never knitted with this yarn before, and I'm a huge fan now.

I bought the pattern, gave it a quick once over, pulled out my needles, and cast on.  For some reason (which I still can't really explain), I hit snag # 1 instantly.  Carina writes great notes and very explicit details, but I kept reading her instructions incorrectly.  Perhaps what I should really say is that I over read her instructions and added steps that weren't there.  She is a truly generous designer and over that first weekend, emailed me back and forth helping me through my brain freeze.  Once I understood what I was doing, I hummed along.  Now to snag # 2:  I love knitting with Rios but I didn’t realize that I was knitting the large gauge until I was well into the project. I kept thinking to myself that the shawl was feeling awfully voluminous and heavy! And then I read re-read the pattern from the beginning and realized that I knitted twice as many rows as needed for the gauge and had to frog half of it. I had to laugh (or I would have cried) and fortunately, getting the project back on my needles wasn't as tough as it originally felt it would be.

There were no more snags after that -- you can imagine how carefully I continued to read the pattern -- and I love, love, love this shawl.  The tuck detail is so special and I'm really happy that I chose Rios as the shawl is cushy and soft and cozy. I hope Susan's mother loves her hand-knitted gift as much as I enjoyed making it for her.

So two lessons learned -- 1) always read a pattern from start to finish before beginning; and 2) even experienced knitters make mistakes!


  1. what a gorgeous shawl!! that is such clever construction, I love it!

  2. It's wonderful. And I do understand what you mean by overreading the pattern - I tend to do the same from time to time...

  3. WOW! On both the shawl and of course, the model!
    As for fast forwarding on the directions, must run in the family because I am totally guilty of that. :-)

  4. Oh, I so get the not-reading-things-right-the-first-time thingy! We all have blind spots. You ended up with a great result - it's very lovely and does indeed look soft and squooshy.

    Another lesson learned, perhaps? Thank Bob for email. :)

  5. I have done that same thing with a couple of patterns. Hopefully some day I will learn my lesson. :)
    Your shawl turned out beautiful!

  6. Scalene is a pattern I have my eye on to try as well. Yours came out great!