The pattern consists of only charts and pictures. Since it was written only this year, there aren’t other projects or notes for it on Ravelry. (A strategy I recommend employing is looking up patterns on Ravelry to see if there are any gotchas others have already called out).
Starting with the first chart, I quickly came to a symbol that was not represented in the chart’s key. I managed to figure out what it mean (increase a stitch, as it turns out), by looking at what the next or resulting row in the chart seemed to imply. Next I discovered that purling into what was a double yarn over on the previous row could not be done by just a P2. I decided to go with a purl front, purl back approach.
But the first real pain was the transition between “chart 2” and “chart 3”. After taking a shot at just working the first row of chart 3, it quickly became clear that there was a problem. After further review, I discovered a 50 stitch discrepancy between how many stitches I ended up with at the end of chart 2 (173) and how many the first row of chart 3 expected me to knit (123). I spent a solid hour (on a plane, a great place for this kind of focus) trying to figure out if I had made a mistake. (I hadn’t, at least, as the chart was written). Next I tried to figure out, if there was just an incorrect symbol in the first row of the chart. But with the change in repeats and complete shift in pattern, the math was not working out.
I finally figured out how to solve the problem and keep going. I determined that there would be 181 sts after working that first row of chart 3 (row 64) if I had indeed started with the prescribed stitch count (123). Since I was already close to that (I had 173) I decided to just knit the row, increasing the 8 sts evenly. Given the change in pattern, I decided it wouldn’t make enough of a difference. Being a lace chart, I chose yarn overs for the increase.
Then I spent another half hour calculating how many sts I would end up with at the end of half of the chart (I stopped at about half after I got tired, lol). Lace knitting often changes the total number of sts row to row, which makes it challenging to place markers between pattern repeats. This new shift in pattern was supposed to repeat 27 times, too, which would be a lot of markers. I also counted how many times I saw the pattern repeating in the pictures included in the pattern. It did not match what I saw the pattern specifying (not surprising). So like I said, free pattern, you get what you pay for.
Meanwhile, this chart is kind of poorly.. well charted. I am kind of OCD so I think I am going to take some more time to re-draw it better.
After figuring out this whole changing chart debacle, I continued to work on the piece. Later I was in a less focused environment, riding in the car with my husband driving and talking to me. By the time I picked it up again to work on it on the next plane ride, I noticed that something was very off. Things were not shaping up appropriately. I attempted to knit through it, at least to see if I could figure out what was wrong. It took to the end of the row and counting the 200+ stitches in the row a few times to see some of the problem areas. I ended up tinking two rows, placing markers (the little safety pin style ones) in areas that appeared to have problems, as well as capturing a couple of dropped stitches that happened when I tinked. At this point my rows were fluctuating between 239 and 268 sts. That is a bit of a task to tink. Especially with fuzzy, fingering weight yarn. Yes, thank you, I will take your accolades and “wow!”s. It was a feat. And I am proud that I went for it. It does not make this project go fast, but I have learned a lesson here. I need to only work on this project when I can really pay focused attention. Despite some pattern repeats being only 10 sts wide, without the help of markers, or a very well composed chart, there is an intense amount of cognitive load going on. I’m also very exhausted from everything on the trip I was on, so this is not the best time to be working on such a difficult project.
Hopefully you get the point of my story, which is to choose your projects wisely, but also choose your mental state and level of distraction while knitting particularly difficult or tedious projects wisely, and then you won’t have to do as much tinking. (Or any ripping, which if you know me, you know I am against). I’m guessing that actually many of you would have maybe given up and ripped out the project, or become too frustrated to continue. I would definitely understand. But in the end, there are also ways this could have been avoided (my pain, that is) other than not working the project at all.
For your sake, if you are worried about embarking on such a journey without support - well, don’t worry, just be mindful. And if you do need help, please reach out to me. Apparently I have this level of patience to solve these challenging debacles. :lol sob:
I am also dreaming about my pattern checker app, which would catch this kind of error (discrepancy in charts) ahead of time by performing some magical math checking. Unfortunately it doesn’t exist yet. And being only in chart form, would be pretty difficult to discover programmatically at present. :sad trombone:
But you _can_ check if the chart stitch counts match ahead of time. If you do decide to choose this route, here’s more detail about how I went about it.
Grab your favorite pad of paper and write down the row number of the chart. Next, you will count the number of sts in a row twice. First count how many sts there will be before you knit the row. To do this you don’t count yarn overs (since they get added when you work the row), and count decreases such as k2tog, ssk, p2tog, etc as 2 sts. (Obviously if you have k3tog, etc, count those as 3). Record this number in your notes next to the row number.
Next, count the number of sts that the row should have _after_ you work it. To do this, count yarn overs as one stitch, and k2tog, ssk, p2tog, etc as one stitch. After counting you should have written down something like this: Row 77: 239 -> 268. This tells you both stitch counts (before and after working) and how working the chart row changes that. Then when you go to start working that row, you can check your stitch count, as well as after.
Wishing you the best of luck this knitting season on your lace patterns! As mentioned, if you do run into issues, I am happy to help. Please reach out to me at email@example.com. Or you can submit my form for knitting help. Watch the video for How to Tink.