Sunday, May 2, 2010

The. Most. Frustrating. Shawl. Pattern. Ever.

I finished my third shawl about a week ago, though it feels like months already. I have to admit that this shawl has been probably my biggest knitting challenge ever, and not because the techniques used, but the insufficient instructions in the written pattern. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the charts, they were perfect... but it took us hours to figure out how to read them correctly! Though once the problems were solved, the shawl was actually quite enjoyable to knit and the outcome is pretty too.

So because of the insufficient instructions, I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a beginner shawl knitter. I myself would have passed this pattern if I could have foresaw all these problems coming. It's seriously not nice when you struggle with knitting and not because of your knitting skills.

If you have knitted shawls before, you're probably able to understand pretty quickly how to read the chart. There is one pattern repeat for the beginning and the end of the row and a repeat before and after the center stitch. And then there is one pattern repeat to repeat between all that... But I don't think this is so basic that you don't even have to write it in the pattern! I have knitted two shawls before with the very same construction but still I didn't understand to read the chart like that simply because it didn't say so. Uhoh.

Another issue for me was the overall chart repeats. If you followed the very strange instruction from the pattern, it didn't work out at all. You just have to figure out yourself which part of the chart you need to repeat. This is how I did it:

First I knitted rows 1 - 37 = the whole chart
Then I started from the row 23 and knitted to the row 35.
Then I repeated rows 21-35 until I was happy with the length.
I moved from the row 35 to the row 5 of the edge chart.

And if you're not a shawl n00b who have tried to knit this shawl, you have absolutely no idea how valuable that information above is. If you know this before you start to knit, there is a very big possibility that you don't have problems with the shawl at all.

OK. Enough with the pattern now.

I used my giveaway prize yarn to knit this shawl. I read from Ravelry that Tofutsies can be really splitty and painful to knit, but I didn't experienced anything like that. I used Addi circular lace needles and the yarn was a joy to knit. There was a minor issue with the yarn quality though. When I had knitted like 60% of the yarn, I came to the first knot and after the knot the yarn became really splitty and tangled for like ten rows. Then there was couple more knots and suddenly the yarn was fine again. I wouldn't have mind it so much, but I had to cut the yarn several times and it's really difficult to weave in ends in lace and in something multicolored...

Project info
Name: Naturally antibacterial
Pattern: Gail (aka Nightsongs) by MaweLucky/Jane Araujo
Craft: Knitting
Made for: my sister as a birthday gift
Size: 6 repeats

Needle: US 4 - 3.5 mm
Yarn: South West Trading Company TOFUtsies
Colorway: 726

My parents live in a trailer park...
By the way, this is the first time I feel that I don't have good project pictures! I decided to give this shawl to my big sister as a birthday gift and I had a really tight deadline. I took the pictures in a hurry and since I gave the shawl away, I can't take new pictures. My sister said that she liked the shawl, and I hope that she also knows to appreciate the amount of time and effort it took to knit. These things don't happen overnight, you know. And I absolutely adore the color of this shawl and I'm sure it looks really good on my sister!

Finnish summary: Kolmas neulottu huivi valmistui reilu viikko sitten, tosin tuntuu että siitä olisi jo kuukausia. Tämä huivi on ollut suurin haaste mun neulomishistoriassa, ei sen takia että siihen olisi tarvittu niin edistyneitä tekniikoita, vaan huivin ohje oli niin käsittämätön. Meni melkein tuntikausia, että onnistui tulkitsemaan ohjetta siten, että siitä oikeasti tulikin jotain. En suosittelisi tätä ohjetta ihan aloittelijalle, kun se ei minultakaan halunnut sujua vaikka olen ennenkin tehnyt samantapaisia huiveja.

Käytin huiviin sitä lankaa, jonka voitin jokin aikaa sitten blogiarvonnasta. Olin lukenut Ravelrysta, että sen neulominen voi olla tuskaista. Kivojen pitsipyöröpuikkojen ansiosta minulla ei ollut kuitenkaan mitään ongelmaa sen neulomisessa. Langan laadun kanssa oli kuitenkin pienoinen ongelma. Kun olin neulonut yli puolet langasta, törmäsin ensimmäiseen solmuun ja sen jälkeen lanka oli sotkuista ja jopa rikkinäistä. Kymmenen kierroksen jälkeen tuli kuitenkin uusi solmu, jonka jälkeen langassa taas ei ollut enää mitään vikaa.

Tämä on myös ensimmäinen kerta kun minusta tuntuu, ettei minulla ole projektista kunnollisia kuvia. Päätin antaa tämän huivin siskolleni syntymäpäivälahjaksi ja aikataulusta tuli melkoisen tiukka. Jouduin lopulta ottamaan kuvat kiireessä, ja koska annoin huivin pois, en voi ottaa enää uusia. Sisko sanoi tykkäävänsä huivista, ja tykkään siitä myös itsekin. Varsinkin väri on tosi nätti, tosin olen varma, että se sopii tosi hyvin siskollekin.


Elina said...

I really enjoy these pictures! They're a nice change from the usual setting! I'm not fond of the colours, but the pattern is beautiful. But I may not try it any time soon, even though you've just made it a lot easier for the rest of us. I can't wait until I finally get down to shawl knitting.

Terhi said...

Just in time. Thank you! Three hanks of Sivilla are waiting on my table for this shawl and I had heard it's not the easiest (thank goodness nowhere near my first shawl) but couldn't really track from Ravelry why not. So, you might have saved me lots of hair-pulling. Thank you again for that. Lovely shawl!

Amoena said...

Elina: I can't wait until you finally get down to shawl knitting, because I would like to be able to talk with you about these things! :D

Terhi: I read the comments from Ravelry and all of them seemed to praise the pattern, so I really didn't have a clue about the pattern problems. They all occurred to me after I actually started to knit it. I read through the comments, several blog posts and forum discussion to find an answer to my problems, but I couldn't find anything clear enough. It was really frustrating, because I couldn't believe that I'm the only one struggling with this shawl! Anyway. I really hope that you'll find this blog post helpful, and if you don't, feel free to ask me anything. I'm more than happy to help you and others with this pattern. The shawl is pretty, so I guess it's worth all the trouble.

Terhi said...

OK, my first question: is there really a center stitch? And how come it's not cast on? Ie. you only cast on four stitches = the edge stitches in garter st. I started as a rebel and cast on for five (the central one being the center stitch) but mine looked quite different from the rest and I was worried this might be problem after the first repetition of the chart so I frogged... Thank you!

Amoena said...

There is no center stitch = a stitch in the center. The occasional double yarnovers form the center. Just follow the cast on instruction like it's written because that's correct :)

Tami Klockau said...

I love this shawl! Nice colors and love the pattern. I only know how to crochet at this point, but seeing projects like this makes me want to taste my hand at knitting!

Thea said...

Nice shawl! Too bad about the pattern though. I think the pics look just fine ...

Gebreidesjaals said...

I saw you by using google. I have many problems with the gail too. From row 30.Please, what do you mean with "i moved from 35 to the row of 5""?Is this it: every time after one time doiing 23-35 finish?The new one repeat begins with row 5 every time?. Must i knit then 5 till 35? tille wished lenght? And are there 2 stitches in the centrum of the shawl. And were must you make the 2 double y overs ??beneath the double narrowing?( 3 x in the whole chart?)
In the purling back row that becomes 4 new stitches ?thank you for your kindness,mieke ten haaf the netherlands

Gebreidesjaals said...

sorry I forgot my:
I agree with you Gail is frustrating. thank you for your answer if you have

Amoena said...

Gebreidesjaals: I answered you via email :)

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