October 29, 2015

Finally finished.

You know how someone you know sees something they like that is really rather unique and stunning and then you think "I'll knit that for them as a gift"?  Then, you order the pattern and you order the yarn for the pattern, or maybe, like me, you think "it will be colder when this is finished so I'll go one weight heavier" and you order different yarn to work the pattern? It probably also takes you twice as long to work said pattern that someone else picked out than you thought, too. This pattern is called "Floria" (yours may or may not also be the Floria pattern, I don't know). You'll have to forgive the quality of the lighting of the pictures. It was raining, of course, when it had finally dried and I had about 10 minutes to get it in a box and over to the UPS place.



Let's have a quick run-down of the Floria pattern, shall we?  It's a shawl that fits somewhere between the typical cape pattern and the crescent shawl pattern.  It's decorative only along the outer edge, where it has a very unusual floral pattern that, in the original pattern's picture lays flat (because they had to iron it since that is the only way that it could possibly and reasonably lay flat) and looks very Victorian in nature.  In concept, it's rather stunning.


In practice, it is the shawl pattern from Hell.  There, I've said it. Well, someone had to. No point in making you think that this pattern is a walk in the park that anyone with a few skills can master.  It's so terribly not that kind of pattern.  It's two months on stocking stitch island. Knitters have gone into asylums for less. Then it's a month--mostly wasted with knitting, ripping back, swearing, re-knitting, ripping back ... you get the picture.  It's also an unreasonably large amount of lace stitches.  At the apex of the pattern, we are talking 813 stitches (and it will seem more like 8,000 because you will be pretty sure with each RS row that you will never, ever reach the end). There's a chart that, although I usually prefer to knit lace with a chart, made my eyes cross and that really, at first glance, I knew I wasn't going to be able to make heads or tails of.  Really the only thing the pattern was good for was trying to double check the written instructions which struck me regularly as being confusing.

So you make it to row 6 of the lace pattern and then you go over the cliff into an abyss of what the *#%@. Row 6 is written in such a way as to make you think that either the instructions or the stitch count is wrong.  SIX hours it took me to get row 6 correct.  If you know me, then you know that I'm a pretty darned proficient knitter, knitting instructor, and all-around speedy knitter.  Six hours, folks.  Here's the gist: the instructions suggest a 4-stitch increase in every double yarn over. The reality is that you were supposed to psychically know that the writer of the pattern meant for you to do an 8-stitch increase in every double yarn over.  I know that it is not just me, as this is a pretty prevalent question on Revelry.  Most people are more polite than I would have been because if you work row 6, which is supposed to end with 545 stitches, and you follow the instructions thinking that you've done them correctly so the stitch count must be wrong, you can actually work almost all of row 7 before you realize that you are screwed.

So let's say that you put in your 6 hours and you make it past rows 6 and 7.  You are not headed to home plate like you think you are.  No, you are headed for another 20 hours or so of double yarn overs, Sl2K1P2SSOs followed by SL1K2PSSOs (because no one hardly every gets those confused in a sequence of repeats, am I right?), and K3togs.

This is not a pattern that can be worked outside of solitary confinement, even for a knitter who can read and knit, knit with her eyes closed, or walk, talk, chew gum, and knit at the same time.

It is also not a pattern whose yardage should be given any credence whatsoever. Order extra.  Order a lot of extra.  I came in at just over 920 yards of sport weight. The pattern calls for 874 yards of fingering weight. I am a pretty tight knitter, and I don't usually require as much as a pattern calls for; in this case, however, I had what the pattern calls for and I was exactly one row and a bind off row short of yarn.  This necessitated an emergency yarn order from anywhere that I could find it because it was out of stock where I originally purchased it, and you know how you can never get the same dye lot when you have an emergency order? You also know how when it's an emergency order because the project has a hard deadline you have to pay extra?  By the time I got the yarn (the company sat on it for 4 days before shipping it out, even though I paid the inflated expedited 2-day UPS rate), it was the last day that it could ship by normal mail and it didn't arrive until 7 pm. And it was a different, lighter shade.  Yes, it was.  Even the 12 year-old, who is of the opinion that matching is for losers at the moment, looked at it and said "That's a different color, mom."

With gritted teeth and held breath I finished the last two rows and yes, they did look different.  But, I was cheered when, though there was a very loud gasp from the knitter at the time, I washed the finished product and it bled like mad.  In the end, it's not so very different along the edge.  But, by the way, now I am going to be returning all of the Cascade Superwash Sport 220 to its place of origin because, well, no one wants to work a 95% white fair isle yoke sweater and have the colors of the yoke bleed all over in the wash. Or maybe you do, but I don't.




It blocked a bit larger than the original pattern, which is what I anticipated since I used a heavier yarn.  Otis was very interested in the thing on the floor that he was not allowed to lay on, walk on, or worm his way under, though attempts were made. My version came out to about 70 inches, and the original was 66 inches.  I probably would have had something wider if I had tried to flatten the lace pattern, which isn't actually designed to lay flat, though, like I said, the pattern's picture has it ironed flat.  It's really designed to make the petals stand up because of the ridge that the paired decreases create down the center of each petal.


In the end, after paying for UPS overnight shipping (which, incidentally, is $15 more expensive if you drive 3 miles to the UPS store to have them print the label than if you print the label at home and drive the package 3 miles to the UPS store), plus the emergency yarn and its shipping, I think it's safe to say that I could have made this shawl four times over.  I will not, however, be making a second one. Nope. Don't ask me.

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