Believe it or not

Your comments to my last post… hmmm. They were not at all what I was expecting, in a really, really, really good way. Will you roll your eyes if I tell you that some of them had me choked up? If you will, then do it now. Okay, all done, on to other things ;).

You are completely right, there is no easy way to reconcile the following two statements:

To me, knitting something that promises zero challenge and discovery is… not going to happen.


I will try to only knit things that have already been knit by others from now on.

I’m full of shit on that last statement. But I will tell you one thing – I should definitely be smarter about my choice of esoteric patterns. Fine, it doesn’t have to be even marginally popular, but wouldn’t it be wise for me to at least limit myself to patterns put out by reputable companies and designers? By that virtue, for example, Curlicue would be in, but the Misty Morning Shawl would be out. I think that’s a pretty fair compromise. Of course there’s that little challenge demon who lives inside of me; only she knows what she will demand for my next project.

Anyway… let us all take a look at this:

There were times when I didn’t think I would ever be able to put up that diagram. But there it is. I. AM. DONE.

The unblocked shawl is 35″ across the top, and 23″ from top edge to the point. Much growth is expected post-blocking. I am purposefully omitting a clearer picture – why gawk at an ugly duckling knowing perfectly well that tomorrow she will become a gorgeous swan?

It will take me a few days to get photos of this elusive swan, though, because I think I should go outside to accurately capture the beauty… I’ve been told that the shawl looks much more purple on the computer than in real life. I can fix that, but I need to wait until the proper mix of weekend and weather.

Now, about that little contest of mine. Here’s when you guys thought I would finish:

I’m such a dork for actually taking the time to make this histogram – hehe, snort!

Those of you who thought I’d be done in a week or less – you are very sketchy knitters indeed. I wonder if you knit 300 stitches a minute, and think I do, too? I purse my lips and give you that suspicious look… I’m wondering how you knit so quickly, and where I can learn.

The majority of the guesses centered on January 16th. I have to be careful with these contests in the future, because if I actually finished on the 16th, I would have to come up with winning prizes for 16 people!

Fortunately, some reasonable knitters chimed in and picked dates in late January and February. At the time I announced the contest (before I myself knew how mistake-filled this pattern would end up being), I thought I would finish between January 28th and February 15th. I actually finished

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006, 10:07 p.m.

which makes the winner of this contest:

Stephanie of Unwind!

Congratulations, Stephanie!

The regulars are rolling their eyes, again, because they are now thinking the contest was fixed. You see, Stephanie and I have been reading each other’s blogs ever since we started blogging, and we have been in silico friends for a very long time. I assure you, the contest was not fixed, and present this as evidence: just like me, Stephanie is a beginner lace knitter, and I suspect this allowed her to make a very reasonable (and, at the end, correct) prediction about how long this shawl would take me. Yay, Stephanie! I’ll send you an e-mail about the prize shortly.

I’m pooped. And I’ve got nothing to knit. The latter must be corrected immediately.


40 thoughts on “Believe it or not

  1. Jen

    Congratulations on finishing the shawl – I know you must be so happy! I for one hope you continue to forge new frontiers in knitting, if your sanity allows that is…

  2. angela

    Finishing my first lace shawl gave me that awesome feeling that I could knit *anything*! Fleeting moment that it was..hehe. Congratulations Kathy, I’m sure your gran will love it!

  3. eunny

    Oh oh oh! I cannot *wait* to see this blocked. Hmmm. Have go get out my thesaurus and preemptively look up some synonyms for “mind-bogglingly lovely”.

  4. twig

    I picked an early date, but I don’t knit quickly. I just look at you as the SUPREME KNITTING GODDESS and as such, I expected you to zoom through it.


    But really, I figure if I enter enough of these blog contests happening around the web, I’ll eventually win something. I have my acceptance speech all prepared. It’s the same one I prepared for my 5th Grade Spelling Bee. Didn’t win that. Came in 2nd. Who’da thunk “delicious” wasn’t spelled with an “sh”?

  5. Janet

    Might I suggest your next project be a pair of Jaywalker socks? Everyone is blogland is doing them, you know. *smirk*

  6. CatBookMom

    That was so dizzying! The winner of your contests was ‘Stephanie of Unwind’; the LYSO of ‘my’ LYS, Unwind Yarns, is also Stephanie! The Knitiverse just gets smaller….

  7. sarai

    Four days. You set a precedent. That’s why some of us guessed a week for this shawl. πŸ˜‰

    Me? A lace scarf takes weeks. I won’t even guess how long a simple lace shawl would take…

  8. Kim

    You know.. above all I think your grandmother won.. and in a few days we’ll all see why : )

    I’m quite pleased to see that my guess wasn’t totally far off and that a ton of people didn’t pick my day either.. too bad I didn’t win though.. fooey.

    Can’t wait to see what she’s getting though!

  9. trek

    Way to go Grumperina and Stephanie. Can’t wait to see pictures of the blocked shawl.

    Did I mention that I bought some Rowan Cashsoft DK this weekend? Hmm, wonder what I could make with one ball of that…;o)

  10. maryse

    damn! i asked you to slow down a bit πŸ˜‰

    anyway — i can hardly wait to see it blocked. congratulations on finishing.

    i commented earlier about how i would have given up … but you know, if i had loved it, i probably wouldn’t have. temporarily maybe, but i would have attempted it again and again until i finished it.

  11. Brooke

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to see it blocked. You are really pushing the limits of the art of knitting and I think that’s awsome.

  12. Sue

    Congratulations on finishing that ‘monster’ pattern. I’ve looked at your past posts attempting to determine what yarn you were using for the shawl but couldn’t see it posted anywhere. What yarn did you use?? The same yarn as for your mother’s shawl? Did you like it??

  13. Karma

    I don’t knit quickly, but yes, I do believe that you knit 300 stitches a minute! At any rate, congrats for sticking with it and finishing this unbelievably challenging project.

  14. christyn

    I do think it is interesting that you, a person who has created some very popular patterns, would probably not have knit your own designs had you not knit them first. Hmmmmm.

  15. Stephanie

    I am so excited. I never win contests, and it’s just so much better that it’s a Grumperina Contest! I can’t wait to see the finished shawl pictures, but I like the ugly duckling picture – cute, just like that duckling.

  16. Beth S.

    “In silico” is quite possibly the most awesome phrase ever coined. Ever. I will use it all the freaking time from now on.

    Oh, and hey, congrats on finishing! πŸ˜‰

  17. Jenn

    I can’t believe I didn’t comment on the shawl. I was just so excited that Steph had one.

    I think the shawl is divine and I know your grandma is going to love it. Just think if she knew what you went through to make it.

    You should be really proud of yourself. You’re an amazing knitter on so many levels but I am inspired by you because you don’t give up and you push on through it. Lots of people knit and make pretty things but you have such a deep understanding of the craft that it is quite amazing to watch. I hope to be even half the knitter you are someday.

  18. keohinani

    i’m going to be very frank, and i believe i may catch some wind for saying so, but i feel this is perhaps the kind of comment you may have been expecting in your last post? i apologize if it offends; i don’t mean for it to be offensive.

    regarding your last post, i initially thought you rode a rather high horse. to your credit, you are a very intelligent knitter and quite good at overcoming knitterly challenges such as the shawl and the curlicue. i admire your persistence. i am among those who find you inspiring for seeking and conquering knitting challenges.

    however, i perceived your attitude toward the more popular and “unchallenging” patterns rather condescending. in fact, i felt it very condscending to the point that it bothered me enough to comment on this.

    you say “To me, knitting something that promises zero challenge and discovery is… not going to happen” as you refer to patterns (like clapotis) that are popular among knitters. i understand that the statement applies solely to you and your opinion, but after reading that sort of comment, i felt like the sort of projects i choose (that are honestly not on par with the kinds of projects you do) are not worthwhile…like you’re only choosing to knit them to make you look more like you’re at “my level” of knitting.

    i had rather mixed feelings about where you were coming from on this.

    rather than take offense at the comment you made, i look at it as your way of saying that every knitter has a standard of performance. there are projects that, while a challenge to some knitters, are not very challenging to others. and your comment is meant to draw attention to your knitting performance; you tend to push the limits of your knitting abilities by choosing projects that you find challenging.

    i interpret your approach to projects as a sort of implicit challenge to knitters; there should be other knitters so willing to test the limits of their abilities. i suppose it’s not so much what you said as the way you said it.

    i appreciate your honesty; this is your site and these are your feelings. there is a tangible pride in what you do, and i agree with other readers’ comments that you should not compromise the pride you have in your work.

    thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter, and for taking the time to read this comment.

  19. keohinani

    great job on the shawl, btw. congratulations on finishing it, and your grandmother is very lucky to have you to knit for her.

  20. freecia

    What, we’re not including blocking time?

    Working in a yarn store, I’d parrot what the owner says and state that most knitters underestimate their skills. Or they decide to choose “tv watchable projects” because they enjoy knitting and watching tv. Of course, there are different levels of involvement each person has between their knitting and the telly/book, so Cookie of Knitting Anonymous does lace while I do something with a cable.

    So you like to take on less tested projects and fiddle, well, hey, you’re a scientist, it really is in your nature to tackle unknown challenges.

  21. Laurel


    The patience required to get through all those mistakes, especially in lace, makes me really wish I were more like you.

    And as a dorky aside, I am so happy you posted the histogram, I was really way too excited when you said you were going to post one.

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