In a lace quandary

I had my surgery yesterday – and it was over fast!.  I got there at 6:45 and was home by 11:00 – and that included a 45 minute drive home.   It went well, and everyone there was really nice.   It really is amazing how fast surgery is becoming – I had mine in a surgery center that wasn’t even part of a hospital – it looked like an office building!  But they really were good and effecient and seemed to have everything they needed.  The funniest part was that they had me walk to the operating room – I’ve had surgery before, and never had to do that.  I was grateful they gave me a blanket to cover my bare ass in the gown!  But it was all good, and its over now.

As I was becoming conscious in the recovery room, the nurse said to me “your tattoo is really cute – do you have sheep?” For those of you that don’t know about my tattoo – on my right shoulder as a result of impulsive vacation behavior + quick internet search = Microsoft clip art tattoo.  The only worse thing I could have done would have been to have been drunk while doing it  – I did everything you aren’t supposed to when I was getting it – no thoughtful review of what I wanted, no original artwork.    Oh well, I do like my sheep (and the next one will be much more thought out)!  Anyway, getting back to the recovery nurse – after she asked if I had sheep, my immediate response was a groggy “No, I’m a Knitter”.   Dead silence and then a “oh, ok….”.  It was in the “oh, ok, maybe its the drugs talking let me just say something soothing to her” tone of voice.   

Yesterday I was pretty out of it for the most part – I felt pretty good in the afternoon and it gave me a false sense of recovery – because in the evening all the drugs wore off, and well…I’m not going to be as active today as I thought yestertday.  I think I’ll just take it easy, take my pain pills and watch all the movies I normally don’t watch.   And I think I’ll do a bit of knitting.  But I have a quandary and would like some input….

OK, you will really need to squint and stare at these – I just couldn’t get a good picture – and I dropped stitches on one side twice so this is going to be painful to get going again.  And I’m on painkillers and apparently don’t do pictures too well when I’m drugged!


This is the Aeolian shawlette so far – I’m using an 100% alpaca lace weight yarn from Misty Mountain Farm.  I’m also using a US 4 needle – and that’s where my problem is.  The pattern is really nice, I love the yarn.  But from the very beginning I keep on stopping and looking at it and thinking that its just too loose.    I also think that my nupps are pretty craptacular on this one – I’m doing 7 stitch nupps and have missed stitches when I’m purling them together, or have included stitches from either side (I found another way to do nupps, and I’ll post that later after I get through this part). 


I’ve finished the first three (or four?) charts, and now I’m ready to start the remaining two charts which are the bulk of the shawl.  And I’m still iffy.  I just don’t know if I like the fabric, and I think that the pattern is really lost in the looseness.    And the last row of nupps I did was so bad I tried to tink it back and redo – um…you know, that didn’t really make them better.  Just made it bad in a different way.


I’m really thinking that I should have used a size 3 needle – and I’ve ordered some from KnitPicks (I like Harmony Wood needles for lace – smooth yet grabby).  So the question is, do I frog this back and restart with the smaller needles?  Does it look really bad?  Will I always be unahpy with it?  This is going to be for my mother (its her Mother’s Day gift, but I also got her flowers since this obviously won’t be done in time).  I don’t want to send her something that is half assed – but maybe I’m just too close and being too critical.    Of course, if I continue with it, I’m going to have to figure out how many stitches were dropped when I was taking pictures…and try to fix that. 

So what do you think?    Frog it, start over using a smaller needle?  Or continue on and hope it looks ok when its blocked?

If I continue it, I think I need to go back and stitch up some of the nupps (I see some dangling stitches).  I looked on Ravlery yesterday for suggestions on nupps, and someone had a great suggestion that I’ll try (I just tried to find the post and couldn’t but if I do, I’ll update).  She said that when she gets to the nupp, she adds a Size 1 DPN and knits to both needles (the 4 and the 1)  – this makes them nice and loose.  Then when she’s done making the nupp, she puts a split stitch marker on the nupp – and then when she’s purling the nup together, the marker holds all the stitches together and makes it easy to get them all and keep them in order.  I think its a great idea – maybe a little slow, but my nupps look terrible!  Definitely worth the time.   I really do love Ravelry – such creative people all in one place!

I’m just about done with my Monkeys, and should have something to show you next time.  These socks really went fast!   As I mentioned in my last post, I have been thinking about making the Maikell shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia – except that I actually meant Madli’s shawl.  And I didn’t realize it until I was speaking with Chris and she said she was starting Madli’s.   The yarn I bought will work for either, so I just need to figure out which one.   Except…

Did you see the new shawl from MimKnits – the Nefertiti Wrap?  Isn’t that gorgeous?  I bought it as soon as I saw it.  Its knit on the bias (like Clapotis) and I think its just beautiful.  And I wanted to do a rectangular shawl next.  I’m thinking about using  this yarn:


Enchanted Knoll – silk and merino.  Don’t you think it would be perfect?  Larry is going to wind it for me today, and I think I just may start it while I’m thinking of what to do with the Aeolian. 

OK, I think I’m going to go get dressed – I can’t shower until tomorrow but I don’t know that I can lie around all day in my PJs since I did that yesterday!  And then maybe I’ll start a new shawl.  Or finish some socks.  Hmmm…so nice to have time to have choices!

Andrew is coming home today – he wasn’t originally going to because he’s studying for finals, but I think the combo of Mother’s Day and my surgery guilted him out so he called last night to surprise me.  It will be nice to see him and have them all home this weekend.   We are going to see Star Trek – it looks good, and Larry and I have been Trekkies for years (ok, we like the shows, but don’t dress up and go to conventions).    But I’m happy to have all the kids home, and have some down time to just relax and talk and have some fun.   

Hope you have a wonderful weekend too!


25 Responses to In a lace quandary

  1. Valerie says:

    Maybe once it’s blocked you’ll like it better? I’m always amazed at what blocking can do. Personally, I’ve given up knitting with lace weight yarn… at least for a while. My tension just isn’t good enough yet. So I’ll stick to fingering, which still feel like it has some substance… and you’re given me yarn envy again with that lovely skein

  2. Lorraine says:

    Jeanne- It sounds to me like you have answered your own question- you are not happy. I would put it aside, and start the EK shawl STAT!

    Best wishes for a happy recovery!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I don’t know much about lace, but that looks fairly loose to me, too. I think I would rip it and try it again.

    I will not look at the Nefertiti Wrap, I will not look at the Nefertiti Wrap, I will not look at the Nefertiti Wrap… oh one little peek can’t hurt can it?

  4. Christianne says:

    I think I see why it bothers you – It’s very pretty yarn and a really nice pattern. That it’s bothering you now means that I think it’s going to keep bothering you – I might be wrong, but I think you’re looking for more stitch definition with that pattern – and if it were bothering me, I’d rip – but you know, I have this problem with ripping lately 🙂 I’m glad the surgery went well, take it easy – we are going to see Star Trek tonight too and now – i can’t decide whether to start Madli or Nefertiti…….

  5. Cookie says:

    Honestly, the lace does look really loose and, if you’re not happy with it now, you will not be happier with it later on. I think your best bet is to cut your losses now and restart it on smaller needles when you can.

    Cute tattoo.

    I hope you’re feeling better today and taking it easy.

  6. weezalana says:

    Go with your gut feeling – if you’re not happy with it now, best to frog and restart on smaller needles.

    That Enchanted Knoll is gorgeous! It’ll make a fab Nefertiti Wrap!

    P.S. If it helps, I was at about the point you are with the sock-yarn shawl I just finished, had the same feeling, frogged and restarted with one size smaller needles and was SO much happier with the result.

  7. Jeannie says:

    I’m glad that the surgery went well. Keep resting and taking it easy. As for the shawl…it looks loose to me, but what matters is that it bothers you. If it looks too loose now, it might look even looser when blocked.

    Yikes, I hadn’t seen the Nefertiti Wrap. Pretty!! It will look so pretty with the Enchanted Knoll yarn.

  8. Mrs MJW says:

    Oh my! That gold colored yarn is gorgeous. Thanks for commenting on my sheep. I appreciate the feedback.

  9. Lucinda says:

    You could swatch a bit with the alternate needle size, before you frog. That way there’s more time to think it over, & you can confirm that the new needle size makes enough of a difference to be worth frogging what you’ve done so far.

  10. Steven says:

    So glad the surgery went well. Make sure you do all of your recuperating before jumping back into things.

    Alas, I know next to nothing about lace — I don’t even know what a nup is. The only thing I know is if you have some doubts, it’s probably worth it to start over. You’re just going to knit something else, right? Might as well be this!

  11. Elise says:

    Strange that it’s so loose. My last lace project was on size 6’s and laceweight jaggerspun and I was surprised how unloose it was. If you don’t like it stretched out you’ll probably be unhappy after it’s blocked so do what you need to do!
    So glad your surgery went well – have a speedy recovery!

  12. TheBon says:

    I’m sending you good, speedy recovery thoughts!

  13. Debby says:

    IMHO, I think you should frog the shawl and start over on size 3 needles.

    You know you will never be happy with the shawl the way it is.

    Also wishing you a speedy recovery!

  14. tiennie says:

    Glad your surgery went well! Hope you have a great mother’s day weekend!!

  15. I’d swatch with size 3’s before ripping out that much lace. Also, does it rip easily?

    I’m amazed at the yardage of lace weight yarn. If you have a ton of yarn you might be able to do the whole thing with a 3 and not have to rip this part out, or at least save ripping until the end.

    Feel better!

  16. I’m glad your surgery went well!

    I’d go with your instincts for the shawlette and frog. I don’t think it looks that loose from the pictures but if you find it so in person I can’t imagine blocking is going to fix that.

    Have a Happy Mother’s Day!

  17. travellersyarn says:

    I think your instincts are right – for me US size 3 needles usually look right with the finer laceweight yarns.

    Hope that you feel better!

  18. Denise says:

    Glad to hear your surgery went well. When I laughed about ‘splaining the tat to the recovery room nurse, I spit out a little red wine on the computer screen. About the lace: it’s a battle between the pattern and the gauge, and neither wins. Non-knitters would not know about this struggle and would say it is lovely. But you tried it with a smaller needle you’d get more definition. Just up the meds when you rip it out.

  19. Opal says:

    i have to agree with cookie. in fact i went through this with -two- shawl of mine today. i frogged them both and restarted them on smaller needles.

    i’m so glad your surgery went well. i had to laugh at the nurse’s response. i hope you enjoy the movie. take it eay!

  20. Anna says:

    I’m so glad to hear that your surgery went well. As far as the lace goes, I agree with other commenters – it sounds as though you sort of know that you are not happy with it. I love the yarn though, I think I might be addicted to alpaca!

  21. Robby says:

    Of course, all knitting is ‘to taste’, but it would make me happier (after the initial grumbling) to rip and restart smaller. I was also immediately smitten with Nefertiti when I saw it a couple of days ago. Just deciding what to knit it in.

    Thanks for the nupp alternative plan. I do not think that I will easily knit 7 together in this lifetime. Any other options sound worth trying for me. Which is good, as I am also crazy for the works in Nancy Bush’s book.

  22. Robin says:

    The tattoo is cute! I want to get one of a little ball of yarn unrolling down my foot but I’m toooo chicken! LOVE that shade of gold with the wine accent for the Nefertiti wrap – gorgeous! I’m not much help re: your nupp or lace question. Great your kids are coming home today. Guilt or whatever it takes — with mine it’s usually gas money!

  23. lorent says:

    I’m late to the party, so you may have already made a decision.

    First — I’m glad to hear the surgery went well and you’re recovering pretty quickly.

    Second — if you’re unsure of your shawl, you can thread it onto a separate piece of yarn and block it now to get an idea of how it will look. There’s no need to wait. I don’t think it looks as bad as you think it does, and all lace looks crappy before it’s blocked. I just finished a shawlette where I went up to a size 6 needles instead of my usual size 4s because the yarn (Yarn Chef Buttercream) was knitting up thicker than it looked in the skein.

    Also, even if you block the shawl in progress and are still unsure, you can start a new little shawl from the other end of the skein, like someone else suggested, and compare.

    Hope the weekend was nice, Mother’s Day was a treat, and you’re feeling better 🙂

  24. Kim says:

    The last photo looks great and not too loose. What if you pinned a section down while still on the needles and put a damp cloth over to block then take a look and decide?

    Your Enchanted Knoll is lovely and I really hope you are feeling better!

  25. rhoda says:

    so what did you decide to do? enough time has passed (I think!) where you might’ve come to a decision. I can see your quandry. if it were me, I know it would keep bugging me and I’d eventurally frog and just start all over again. glad your surgery went well..and that andrew decided to go home for mother’s day. 🙂

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