The other day, while at the World’s Biggest Bookstore where I work part-time, I was sneaking a peek at Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s new book, “All Wound Up”. I opened the book randomly, and I think I landed on the essay titled “Till We Meet Again”. I had a flash as I read the words “I Hate Your Stinking Guts”.
Suddenly, I had a mental spot for something that’s been plaguing me for months: that stupid alpaca/merino lace scarf I was attempting to knit my Mother-In-Law for Christmas. Suddenly I saw it clearly; that awful, snarled, disgusting, twisted, sweaty, evil thing belonged in the “I Hate Your Stinking Guts” category. And that it was OK!
I knew it wasn’t the pattern. I’d downloaded the exquisite “Campanula Scarf” pattern by Anne Hansen from Ravelry. It came with beautifully detailed instructions, both in written and chart versions. There were great photos from every conceivable angle. What could possibly go wrong?
I knew it wasn’t the yarn. I chose Rowan Fine Lace in “Vintage”, a purply-gray color I thought would look great on Sheila. A blend of baby suri and merino, this yarn is so deliciously soft and pretty, it’s incredible. The gauge was OK. I swatched it. What could possibly go wrong?
What indeed? The minute I started to work that pattern, I discovered that my ten dancing fingers were actually all thumbs. I mean, it’s not like I’d never knit lace before. But this thing was…well…weird. Kinda…fluffy-weird. Ewwwww.
After the first three frogs, I wrote the pattern down in LARGE lettering so I wouldn’t get lost, highlighting the CDD’s in bright pink. (Three more frogs.) Laid in a life-line. (Three more frogs.) Managed to complete two pattern repeats correctly. Chuffed with myself, I neglected a second life-line. Then I made the mistake of scratching my nose….lost it and had to frog right back to the first life-line. And on and on, ad nauseum.
Should I continue? COULD I continue? Did I want to face that moment on Christmas morning knowing that the damn thing was riddled with errors? So I hastily cast-on a pair of cashmere gloves for Mumsie, threw the stupid thing in a bag and stuck it behind the couch. At least there it would be out of my sight and unable to further torture me. I thought.
It gnawed at me, casting evil vibrations from its prison behind the couch. “You can’t knit”, it hissed. “Look at the pattern reviews. ‘Easy-to-knit’, it says. ‘Great traveling project’, it says. ‘Pattern is easy to memorize’, writes one reviewer. It’s only knit, purl and yarn-over. Clearly, you can’t knit.” It taunted me, the evil thing, quietly, patiently, surreptitiously and constantly, right up until I read the magical phrase “I Hate Your Stinking Guts”. Suddenly, I was free!
Thanks to you, Stephanie, I am free to knit again. Free to move forward in the world of knitting lace. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, you nasty, ersatz-lace abomination, because…