Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday Already?

I had a really crazy busy day yesterday, and I'm having a difficult time coming to terms with Wednesday. This is not helped at all by the fact that I was up until 10:30 last night working on a WIP that has been driving me crazy. No matter what I do, or how carefully I count my stitches and make sure that everything is good, my stitch counts were not coming out right.

Last week, I enlisted the help of a friend from Google+ hangouts, and he was having the same problem. So I felt like (then) that maybe it wasn't me. Maybe it was something with the pattern, or something with the way we were doing increases. So last night, I was working on it again, and everything was great. I had all the stitches I needed just as the pattern said, and then I got to the eyelet increase row where you are making a new stitch every third stitch. I came up 4 stitches short.

The way this pattern works is that you have 3 stitches in the center that you use to keep the shawl centered, and on each side of those 3 stitches, you have a mirrored design. So when I came up short 4 stitches, I thought well, maybe I just missed a few yarn overs (making new stitches) - so I double checked. Everything is as it should be. So I counted again - maybe I'd just miscounted. Nope. Still 4 short. The weirdest thing about it though, is that I was 3 short on one side and only 1 short on the other side. Then I vented my frustration to a different friend through Google+ hangouts, and she took a look at the pattern.

-------If you don't want to read the math, skip down-----

The math works in mathematics, but it does not work in practice. Here's an example. Before you start row 42, you have 139 stitches. Subtract 3 for your center stitches: 136. Divide by two and you have 68 stitches on either side of the markers. Then you knit 2 for the side border: 66. Add in a yarn over. (Don't count it because you are putting in a stitch where there was none.) Knit 2 again: 64. Make another stitch, again, not counting it: 64. Every third stitch is making another stitch, so you have 64 divide by 2: 32 sets of stitches with an increase between each set. 32 stitches added on one side. Then you knit your 3 center stitches, and do it again, but in reverse. Instead of knit 2 add a stitch, you're adding a stitch and then knitting 2. So another 32 stitches added on one side, which gives us the two stitches left for the border, so go ahead and add another stitch, and knit those last two. For a total of 64 stitches plus the 2 added just after/before the border: 66 added.

Your row total of 139 stitches from before you knit this row and then add your 66 new stitches: 205 -- but the pattern says I should have 207 (a difference of 2 stitches) in the size that I am making (large, because large is fluffy and comfy!). Double check the other sizes, just to see if something there gives  me a clue about these two missing stitches and it is 171; and 177 - no where close to where I need to be

And I really don't trust my math, because it is not my strong suit - because even with working it out right here on the blog, I am not getting what I actually got, which is off by 4 stitches... and I do distinctly remember (because it was just last night) having no issues working from one side to the 3 center stitches - I knit 2 and added a stitch with no problems, I ended with adding a stitch just before the 3 center stitches marker. But when I came down the other side, putting my added stitch first, and then knitting 2, I had THREE stitches left where I should have only had those 2 border stitches. My math says I should have added 66 stitches, the pattern says 68.

So assume the pattern is wrong (which is total blasphemy because pattern designers are always right, and aren't human, so they don't make mistakes). That explains why I was 1 stitch short on the first side...and then also 1 more stitch short on the other; but what about those other 2 that I was actually missing?

I promise you and I will swear it on everything that I triple checked my work and everything was done exactly according to the instruction and I did not drop a stitch anywhere.

------End math-----

She came to the same conclusion that I did: the pattern is wrong. So we researched. Other people bold, and brave enough to speak out against a wrong pattern stated they had issues. Other people assuming they did something wrong, and like me, couldn't figure it out, frogged their projects and moved on. It's not unusual to have done something wrong while knitting a pattern, so assuming the problem is you and not the pattern is pretty typical. Most people fudge it and keep going (ie, add a missing stitch or two where needed): no one ever notices. They're design features, not mistakes.

Then we thought, maybe there's a newer version? There was. However... reducing the row number in order to fix a problem without adjusting stitch counts (how many have been added/how many you should have total) does not fix a problem. If your count is off early on in the pattern, and you start increasing stitches, it's going to be off the entire way through.

I will probably never knit another pattern from this designer again. If I can't trust her math, I cannot assume that her other patterns are mistake free just because she's a designer. That said, friend #2 is going through the pattern and fixing the math for me, God bless her!

In the mean time, I'm going to work on my Nerd Wars project.

Whippoorwill: pattern by Carina Spencer. Yarn: Malabrigo sock
Nerd Wars project: Four Winds. Pattern by Alasdair Post-Quinn. Yarn: Silver: Cascade 220 Superwash. Purple:  Anzula Cricket

Glow in the dark sheep stitch marker by me. Isn't he cute?!


Post a Comment