What’s come over me? Whoo! Here it comes again!

March 22, 2011 § 11 Comments

Warning: this post contains a thorough bitching-out of a pattern. on the plus side, shawl pictures!

The trouble with resolving to wait with blogging until something has happened is that knitting is such a slow type of magic that sometimes it takes forever for something blogworthy to happen. Especially with lace, the progress feels huge but it would have been perfectly tedious to constantly update you with pictures like this one:


No, really guys! I totally just finished another repeat of the badly-charted Print o’ the Wave!

But the miracle has happened: today is not only the second day of spring, but also the day I finished my Spanish Armada Shawl (aka Fear and Surprise, Surprise and Fear). It was the first thing cast on in 2011, it’s given me tons and tons of grief over the course of the last three months, and after a week and a half of hair-raising, paranoid border knitting that drove me to the brink of insanity, it’s DONE.


I’ll be blocking it tomorrow, and preliminary, cursory pinning experiments suggest that it’s just barely small enough to be blocked on my 1.20 m (4′) wide bed. I can’t wait! But at the same time I’m extremely glad I have my aluminum rods for blocking, because bending over for an hour to individually pin down all those scallops (on four sides no less) isn’t exactly my idea of a fun day, if you catch my drift.

I’ll hopefully be posting beauty shots of the blocked shawl tomorrow or the day after, so let me voice my nagging here and now:

The finished shawl is gorgeous. Truly stunning, a joy to look at and touch and fawn over. It is, however, not remotely as fun to knit. In fact I’d rather pull my own teeth out than knit this, or any other pattern by MMario again. This is not because the different patterns that make up this shawl (Spanish Tile, Print o’ The Wave, English Mesh Lace) are particularly challenging, although the Spanish Tile is certainly a smidge tricky at times, mostly because it patterns on each row.

The problem with this shawl isn’t construction errors, or tons of misprints in the pattern. It’s the terrible, terrible charts. If you can even call them that. I realize I’m being harsh, and I’m sure the author has put a lot of effort into this design. I know charts can be tricky, especially if the beginning of a repeat shifts, like with Print o’ the Wave.

But here’s the thing: to me, as a knitter, the main purpose and the biggest advantage of charts is that they show what the knitting is supposed to look like. How everything lines up. How it all fits together to make a congruent whole. To enable me to spot knitting errors at a glance and to spare me the frantic re-counting and wondering if what I’m doing is right or if I have to tink back the entire 800-stitch row.

And these “charts” don’t. Or rather, the last two of them do, and the one I did was a simple 6-stitch two-row mesh lace, and, yeah,  I could’ve done that from written directions. The rest is just basically the written instructions rendered in symbols, including brackets to indicate things like (k2tog, yo, k1) 3x – although the author substitutes k2tog with N in the written directions for apparently no reason at all, and yo with O. (At least that one got a laugh out of me, because there’s tons of KOK in the pattern and I let myself be immature enough to grin at that.) Also, rows that are knit plain aren’t shown, except when they are, and if you’re anything like me and pay much more attention to the actual rows than the row numbers, that means tinking back a perfectly executed lace row because there’s supposed to be another two plain rounds in there somewhere.

My point being, the charts manage to completely miss the entire point of charts, which is probably an achievement in and of itself.

The Spanish Tile being tricky to chart I can understand, because the stitch count fluctuates hugely between rows and it would probably ridiculously complicated to get that into a coherent chart. But the botched Print o’ the Wave chart? Really? Seriously? Chart-making isn’t that hard. Especially for a pattern that’s been done about thirty zillion times since the dawn of time, where you could go and look at somebody else’s chart to see how they did it. As, by the way, evidenced in the exponentially better edging chart by Utlinde, where it suddenly all makes sense and is easy to commit to memory.

I’d love to rate this in Ravelry, but I honestly have no idea which criteria to use. Is the result gorgeous? You bet it is. Even if I threw off the ratio a bit by making the Print o’ the Wave longer, which wedges a relatively narrow piece of English lace between that and the edging, but I can deal with it and it’s my own fault anyway. But the charts are catastrophically bad, to a point where I’d rate it somewhere in the ‘pretty difficult’ range but then again the patterns themselves aren’t difficult per se, but just, y’know, badly charted.

So that’s that. Spanish Armada, baby.

In related news, I turned 22 recently and among other things got amazing handmade gifts from Annelie. She sewed me a fleece-lined green cowl that I’m sad to probably have to put away until fall – the weather has been absolutely stunning – but the best thing ever is the knitting bag she made me. I’ve been using it for Armada, but I’ll certainly get a lot of wear out of it.


It’s such a clever design: one short handle you can twist, and a long one to stick through the loop. Snag-free due to a pronounced absence of zippers and buttons, reversible (the inside is plain green to match the cowl!), and just the right size for a shawl or scarf project, or maybe half a sweater depending on the yarn.

I’ll be casting on an orange scarf for choir once I’m finished blogging, so that’ll go nicely with the green. This bag shares the title of best birthday present ever with the pie dish I got from Saskia. Looks like I’m up for the Housewife Awards again this year.


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§ 11 Responses to What’s come over me? Whoo! Here it comes again!

  • Julia says:

    mhm, aha, soso… UND WO IST MEINE STRICKTASCHE? die da ist ja absolut großartig! merke: freunde suchen, die nähen können!

    ich krieg bei dem shawl und dem muster schon zustände allein vom angucken… ich hab doch keine geduld! hut ab also!

  • wollphilie says:

    ja, Geduld ist wirklich das was man mit solchen Projekten lernt XD ich sehe das positiv: wenn 800 Maschen/Reihe gar nicht soooo schrecklich lang sind, gehen Socken viel schneller :P

    ach, und JA DIE TASCHE IST GROSSARTIG ich werde sie herzen und lieb haben und Squishy nennen!

  • Julia says:

    800 Maschen PRO REIHE? Wie… wie hast du das überlebt? Oder besser: wie haben da andere überlebt? Ich möchte bei großen Projekten immer Leute mit meinen Nadeln erstechen. Darum mach ich keine großen Projekte mehr…

    Nein, wirst du nicht! Du wirst sie mir weiterschenken und ICH werde sie Squishy nennen!

  • wollphilie says:

    ja, gegen Ende muss es so um den Dreh gewesen sein, ich hab das anhand der quer drangestrickten Borte überschlagen. ich hab da nicht so das Problem mit, es war ja in Viertel geteilt sodass da schonmal ein Fortschrittsgefühl entstand, und es ist ja nicht so, als ob ich einfach sitzen und stricken würde, so völlig ohne Entertainment. Whose Line Is It Anyway und Hörbücher sind meine besten Freunde bei solchen Sachen. (Wobei Whose Line nicht wahnsinnig ideal beim Lacestricken ist, weil viel nonverbal abgeht)

    *handwavey motion* This is not the bag you’re looking for…

  • Julia says:

    Fortschritt geht mir ja nicht einmal bei Socken schnell genug. Bei dem Ding da würd ich ja sofort abdrehen!
    Hörbücher und Whose Line sind doch Standard. Gibt es etwas Stricker/Häkler, die das ohne machen? Wie? WIE, FRAG ICH!
    Momentan hab ich zudem auch noch Fringe nebenbei laufen, weil mich das jetzt nicht so interessiert, dass ich alles mitbekommen muss. Das ist mehr Geräuschkulisse. Was anderes (außer Hörbüchern) geht auch gar nicht, weil ich IMMER auf meine Finger gucken muss! Verdammtes häkeln und knoten und schneiden und häkeln und knoten und schneiden…


  • wollphilie says:

    man gewöhnt sich echt dran! also, ich zumindest. als ich angefangen habe mit Lacestricken bin ich auch total schnell ungeduldig geworden, aber dann kam ein Swallowtail in Misti Alpaca Lace, dem kuschligsten und zartesten Lacegarn überhaupt, wo ich beim Stricken einfach nur jede Sekunde genossen habe, selbst als die Reihen lang wurden. Und DANN kam das große grüne Monster, was zwar nur irgendwie 150 Maschen pro Reihe hatte oder so, dafür aber JEDE MENGE DAVON, und irgendwann… hat es einfach klick gemacht. Schlimm wird’s halt nur, wenn man diese Endlosreihen zurückdrödeln muss…

  • Toile says:

    I feel like quoting the rest of ‘Rose Tint My World’ back at you.

    I love the Spanish Armada shawl, and it’s name. For all that it was a bitch, it’s so pretty.

    Annelie’s present is sooo pretty. I definitely need to make myself one, too.

  • Annelie says:

    Oh, das hätte ich ja nicht gedacht. Ein Begehren um die Tasche. Damit Patti sie weiter als Squishy herzen und nutzen kann biete ich Euch an einfach selber ein solches Täschchen zu nähen. Ich zeig´s Euch gerne. Ab 4.4. habe ich Urlaub und bin zu jeder Schandtat bereit. Gut wäre noch vorgewaschenen Stoff mitzubringen, aber ich hätte auch was hier : )

    Nun zum Tuch: *auf die Knie gehend und Arme über Kopf auf und ab hebend* “Oh, du Strickmeisterin. Zauberhaft hast du diese Anleitung in etwas Großartiges verwandelt. Oh, Strickmeisterin.”

  • wollphilie says:

    I love Rose Tint My World, I think it’s my favorite song in the whole movie. I have fond memories of starting to figure out that I was maybe not quite as straight as I had thought when I started watching the Floor Show scene for the tits :P

    oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the way the shawl turned out! I just came close to burning the pattern as a fiery effigy of badly written patterns everywhere. Graaah. XD

  • wollphilie says:

    Annelie, ein Nähtreffen könnte sich u. U. schwierig gestalten – Julia ist aus Hannover, Isabel aus Ottawa :D Aber die Tasche ist wirklich großartig, je mehr ich sie benutze desto begeisterter bin ich!

  • Hi, nice blog, i have also a blog about a small and nice city in Germany with information and events around Emsbueren, Gleesen, Bramsche Helschen, Hesselte, Lohne, Sommeringen, Messingen, up to Lingen and Geeste and other places in our Emsland.

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