Friday, May 27, 2011

Princess Out n Bail

After 3 years of solitary confinement, Princess is out on bail. Yes, you read correctly. I started Princess back in 2008 with great enthusiasm, it only took a few months to complete the edge, border, and center of the shawl. This was the second printing of the pattern, long awaited and longed for. As soon as the reprinting was announced, I jumped on it. I had the yarn and the needles ready months ahead of the announced date. A couple of other great knitters and I dove at it with passion. The first thing I did was modify the bottom edge to allow for an easier knit (less), and better distribution of the stitches to be picked up for the border. It was plain math and did not change anything in the structure of the pattern, just a bit of redistributing. As we went along, the other knitters and I found mistakes in the charts, corrected them, blogged about them, made sure everyone out there has access to our findings and kept going. I was on the final section of the edge when I discovered a major fault in the pattern...there was no corner on the edge to go along with the corner of the border which in turn created the most dreadful dogear ever seen. It was my fault and only mine for not thinking ahead, I could have corrected the problem when I started knitting, at this point, it was too late. A couple of other people knit right through it, finished their shawls, blocked, and took pictures and went on their merry way. Not me, oh no! how could I? I pondered over it for a couple of days, I knew there was not a thing I could do about it, but emailed the designer asking why. The reply shocked me, in short it said something like, it is the way it is, that is the way the Shetland knitters did it, I did not bother to correct it (maybe she did not even notice it, who knows), it will block out....well Princess was in my mind a master piece, a piece that would make me proud to be a lace knitter, I could not quite grasp the idea to rig it and block it out, and let it be. I blogged about it, I ranted, I complained, I tried talking myself into the idea that it did not really matter, that it would be beautiful regardless, that it would be OK...nothing helped, it was still there, ugly, proof of poor workmanship AND I had pictures to show for it.

So, in a bag with the pattern the row counter went the whole thing. I could not make myself work on it. I did not knit lace for quite some time, instead I knit socks and cardigans and would do just about anything to avoid the slightest yarn over in my knitting. I was set on letting it just sit there till the end of times. I did eventually turn back to lace, after all it is my knitting first love. Once in a while I would take Princess out, look at it and sigh, each time, the rage of a terrible mistake came back. A few months back, when Interweave Press released the Margaret Stove book and video, I took a close look at the Granny Cheyne’s Shetland Shawl. I want to knit it so bad! I will not start another Shetland shawl until I do something with Princess, I can't live with UFO's in my life....that is just the way it is. I promised myself I would reconsider Princess after finishing Eala Bhan. Last night Princess came out of the bag, it was just like I had put her away, the yarn has turned a bit yellow but it will be OK after a good wash, I found my place on the chart, found a new container for her so I can move her around the house without risk of snags, now it sits by my bed. I went to sleep looking at the pile and dreaming of the day I finish it. I know it will never give me joy I had anticipated, but it will be out for the world to see. I can then move on into lovely and complex pieces with a hard learned lesson. I can design, there is almost no pattern I have knit that I have not made changes to. Why did I trust the Princess pattern so blindly? I will never know, and will never do it again.


fleegle said...

This story makes me sad. It will be a masterpiece when you finish it--just fold over the dog ear and wear it with pride.

Cheryl S. said...

Good for you for picking it up again. I know it's a difficult thing when projects we have a lot of emotion invested in go wrong.

Cheryl S. said...

Good for you for picking it up again. I know how difficult it is when a project we have so much emotion in goes wrong.

Sharon Miller said...

Dear Laritza
Hello, I suggest cuting out the first edging or two, to regain the first stitches of the border on a safety pin, (save the picked up sts of the edging on a thread - it will help to have run a coloured lifeline through the row you select) then knit and gather for as much as you think you'd like for a full corner - before grafting ending to retrieved stitches. Adjust method for second corner. It isn't as hard or as daunting as it sounds, I've done it a few times for edgings when it's been essential. With the Princess Shawl I respected the traditional Shetland method for corners which relies on stretched dressing to round them (it works well and is almost uniformly used in all their early shawls as a look at the online Shetland-museum photo collection will confirm), but I know you are unhappy with that method and hope that if, after wet dressing the dog-eared corner and seeing if it won't suit in reality, that you try this workaround.

I hope the Princess lives to make you proud!

Very best wishes

Sharon Miller