Sometimes simple is the hardest thing of all

crooked rae shawlI have a really embarrassing confession to make: I am being defeated by a simple garter-stitch triangle. This is a shawl I started for my beloved sister back in December, hoping to have it done in time for Christmas. It is such a simple thing: knit from tip to tip, with an increase at the beginning of every other ridge (switching to a decrease once you get to the center point). A child could do it. I apparently cannot.

Something about knitting flat at this gauge — worsted on 7s — makes my wrists hurt, so I can only work on this for an hour or so at a time before switching to something else, which means I don’t reach for it very often and then I lose the rhythm of it. So we are not friends, this shawl and me, just passing acquaintances. I keep a stitch marker in an increase row so I can always count the ridges to see whether I should be increasing or not. But somehow, in the spottiness, I still don’t get it right. So the angle of my triangle is jagged. I imagine I could just carry on and fix it in blocking, but then would she have to dry-clean it forever to keep the shape? The whole idea here was to knit something Florida-appropriate for her, which is kind of a tall order. The yarn is Tahki Coast, a nice light cotton-wool blend. The color, Caribbean, is perfect. The simplicity, shape and scale of the shawl are such that she could wear it out to a nice dinner on a cool evening or throw it in her tote bag for long days out on the boat or bundle it up scarf-style when visiting colder climes, which is exactly what I want for her. Low-maintenance, go-anywhere, look great doing it.

I took it on our Mexico trip thinking I’d finally get somewhere with it, and was dejected when I laid it out on the hotel bed and saw that it had gone jagged again. (I’ve ripped it out multiple times before and can’t bear to do it again.) What is my problem?

9 thoughts on “Sometimes simple is the hardest thing of all

  1. I’ve discovered that it’s quicker and easier to knit garter stitch in all-purl rather than all-knit. You could also conceal jagged edges with a pretty edging. Good luck!

    • Wow, Judy, really? I have the sense that most people think of garter stitch as being for people who can’t or don’t want to purl. (I am just an unapologetic lover of garter stitch, no matter what anyone thinks.) I’ve never heard of anyone choosing to purl 100%. That fascinates me.

  2. Well now, it looks to me that perhaps you missed some increases. And, since you know me so well, you know I would frog and begin again! Love the color and yarn choice for Ms. Karla. She’s going to love it.

  3. Karen! Meg here, using mom’s laptop so message may post from her…Just now seeing this post…I have a few suggestions.

    1.) rip it out.
    2.) begin again.
    3.) use a much larger needle. this will alleviate your strained wrists. Coast is worsted, right? How about trying it on a 9? The fabric produced will be super drapey, perfect for Florida. Cotton isn’t particularly fun to work when working a tight gauge.
    4.) Since you are working a baktus, and maybe will start again, look at the lacy baktus pattern on Ravelry.

  4. Yes! We have numerous shop models using this pattern, in various yarns and they all look great. I looked up your yarn, technically, it is aran weight…you could maybe even use a 10 needle so the shawl will have lots of drape. How many skeins do you have?

    • I have 5 skeins (630 yds) — should be plenty? I was aiming for a really austere stitch pattern and garment shape, and nice dense stitches, because I think this color can go from really beautiful to sort of tacky depending on how it’s used. But I think the pattern you linked might be perfect. I’m swatching it up as soon as I get a chance.

  5. Jo, you are right. This is going to be perfect. I absolutely love it and cannot wait to wear it next year! Sister, please do not injure, stress, or frustrate yourself on my behalf.

  6. Pingback: Happy birthday, K — here’s what I didn’t get you! «

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