Tuesday, July 24, 2012


So many of my blogposts about knitting seem to be about changes of direction, distractions, abandoned or postponed projects. I rarely seem to get directly and unswervingly from the plan for a project to its outcome. This is another of those posts.

Recently I started the Tour de France Knit-Along. You know the drill - you commit to a project, begin knitting as the Tour de France starts and then - if all goes well- you finish the project by the time the tour ends. The KAL gives you options - completing a major project within the duration of the Tour (yellow jersey), knitting a number of smaller projects (green jersey) or finishing off some incomplete knitting projects that have become major obstacles (polka-dot jersey). I opted for this last. I have two pieces I'd love to have completed - a sleeveless jumper and a kimono jacket - but I have knitters' block about finishing them. In the past the Tour de France has been quite successful in motivating my knitting, but this year, despite a promising initial effort, was a huge fail. A bit like Australian participation in the Tour de France, really.

I had a major distraction. I saw the pattern for Miriam Felton's Rill scarf and just had to knit it. Immediately. I had some beautiful laceweight Wollmeise yarn, but it was still in its massive skein and I had no way at home to wind it into a manageable ball. So I went hunting in my yarn collection and discovered at the back of the yarn cupboard some Misti Alpaca laceweight of unidentifiable origin. I suspect I must have acquired it in a local destash because I liked the colour - a very soft blue/grey.

So I cast on and began knitting. And continued. And continued. And am making slow but enjoyable progress. The yarn is extremely fine and the very thing I love about the pattern - its soft folds and drape - is achieved by knitting lots of short rows. In other words, you do lots of knitting to achieve not much advance in the scarf's length.

Rill 1

I was finding my knitting very enjoyable until knitting group last Thursday evening. As happens so mysteriously yet frequently with knitting patterns, another member of the group was knitting the same scarf. Well, and this really was a shocking discovery, not quite the same scarf even though we were using the same pattern. Hers seemed to be a variation of birds' eye lace - a kind of netting pattern - while mine was a neat arrangement of yarn-overs and knit two togethers in a ladder-like arrangement.

Rill close-up

I discovered I had misread the pattern. It wasn't the kind of not-paying-attention that sometimes leads you to misread the pattern, but rather the agonising over the possible meanings of the instructions and choosing the wrong outcome kind of misreading. Before this discovery I'd loved the lacy detail of my version of the pattern. I liked its rather severe and neat geometry. But now I know I've 'done it wrong' I don't seem to be able to regard it in the same positive light. I know this is silly. I have no intention of starting again with the 'proper' pattern because I can't bear to unravel what's already many hours of laceweight knitting. And anyway, I really do like it.

I just wish I hadn't discovered it was 'wrong'.


Rose Red said...

I can't see anything wrong with it at all. Looks great to me. That's the beauty of knitting, really. If you don't point out any (alleged)mistakes, no-one is any the wiser!

Rose Red said...

(of course, for some strange reason, we knitters often seem compelled to point out mistakes). Celebrate diversity in pattern interpretation, I say!

Anonymous said...

Can't you be like the many different interpretations of the bible (or for that matter, the poems of John Donne)? All valid to the interpreter?

Anyhow, I like that pattern, and the colour will be fabulous on you, so knit on!

Lynne said...

Why not rename it as a different pattern then it will be 'right'?

zena said...

I can't see anything 'wrong' here!

DrK said...

wrong? what is this you speak of?! its just a new interpretation. i do know what you mean though, that kind of queasy feeling arising from not actually doing what the pattern says. but in this instance, pattern shmattern i say!

1funkyknitwit said...

I will apologise for my part of of bringing it to your attention..lol ..consider it the very stylish LynS version .D

Ailsa said...

This reminds me of a certain sock knitter we know whose misinterpretation of every second row on a chart also led to a lovely but 'wrong' result. Your scarf is, like the sock, still a beautiful piece. I hope you can learn to love it all the same!

Laura said...

It is beautiful and will be beautiful.
Nothing "wrong" about it.