Squint and imagine a dolphin

Either we’re all going blind, or the intricate web of knits, purls, and yarnovers doesn’t create the shape of an actual dolphin.

I’m guessing the stitch pattern is simply called “dolphin stitch” for whatever reason, or the whole thing must be very abstract. (Or not! See some fabulous ideas in the comments!)

To me the border looks like leaves emerging from a center panel, especially with those points created by binding off three stitches. The big hole in the center of each leaf is the dolphin stitch itself – passing a few stitches over each other, then casting-on a bunch more mid-row.

Yesterday’s was a long and complicated post, and I don’t want anyone to walk away with any misunderstandings. First and foremost, there is only one outright mistake:

Mentally (and/or physically) move those three words, “On next row,” one picture higher, and presto – all fixed!

Second, there are a few minor hiccups, not errors per se.

Hiccup #1: As written the pattern works out fine – the number of cast-on stitches matches the charts perfectly, the charts don’t have mistakes, and so on. However, after knitting a few inches you might note that the scarf in the photograph containing three columns of lace in the center (possibly compensated by more narrow motifs elsewhere):

Hiccup #2: The author doesn’t clearly differentiate the set-up row from the regular pattern in the ‘row sequence chart’. This actually didn’t stump me (the beast became all too familiar by the third cast-on) but Jennifer kindly directed me to the blog entry where she explains the hiccup.

Hiccup #3: The supplied Dolphin lace chart doesn’t contain any mistakes, and it’s totally possible to deduce both borders from just the one chart. However, it is tricky to do all those mental inversions in one’s head, as everyone who’s actually tried the pattern attested (thanks, guys!). Wouldn’t it be more effective to get rid of all those inversion directions and ‘pattern row sequence’ diagram and just… include the second chart?!? Revolutionary, I know.

I don’t want these clarifications to mislead you – I just wanted to set some things straight. Because, honestly, this is far from a disaster (cough, MMS, cough). It’s not a complicated project once you take the time to think about the way the scarf is constructed, and there are no mistakes that will render it unworkable. Quite the opposite! It has two great things going for it – worked over 60 stitches, it’s just the right width to utilize a small amount of yarn while making a respectable neck-covering. In addition, the whole thing is worked in one piece, allowing us to take advantage of every last yard of that glorious Sea Silk.


40 thoughts on “Squint and imagine a dolphin

  1. Peggy

    To me, the hole is the eye of the dolphin which is leaping downward towards the center of the scarf. See it? Thank you for your meticulous work and clear explanations.

  2. Rachel

    I can see a dolphin too- the big center eyelet is the space around which a leaping dolphin is curving, the tail fins point down and toward the body of the lace, while the dorsal fin points up and out close to the pinned-out point of the edge, and the nose is nearly touching the tail!

  3. Mitty

    I was going to say exactly what Rachel said. Once I saw the dolphin, I couldn’t stop seeing it, but from other angles it probably looks more like a leaf. I have trouble with left and right, so patterns that tell me to “just reverse” the design give me a lot of trouble. I avoid them like the plague!

  4. debbie

    yes, the dolphin’s there. like peggy says – leaping toward the center, with it’s back fin pointing up and the tail fin on the bottom; the hole formed by the arch of the body….i think i just repeated what rachel said….

  5. Sarah

    The whole-dolphin-curling-around-the-hole theory is much more attractive than the millipede dolphin with hundreds of flippers I was imagining.

  6. Sarah

    I was thinking it was all a biology mistake, I was seeing a Manta Ray, but now with the comments I can see a dolphin too. What fun. Next we’ll do clouds

  7. Tara

    Hmm…I don’t see the dolphin, but it is pretty.

    Thanks for all the great technical information!

    Oh, and I just listened to you on It’s a Purl, Man episode…and you sound exactly as I imagined, very clear and measured and well-thought-out.

  8. Jomy

    I noticed that difference between the book’s picture and yours, but I just figured you did that on purpose to get more scarf out of you Seasilk,..

  9. Barb in Sudbury

    Not only do I love your blog, I love your commenters!

    I now can see 3 different dolphins AND the hummingbird!

  10. Queue

    I see the dolphins, no problem, they’re positioned to look like they’re jumping – arched over sharply so their nose almost touches their tail.

  11. Angie

    I like Kristin’s dolphin best.

    Le Dauphin is the hier to the French throne and this pattern may be a reference to royalty and wonderful tales of opulence and imperialism.

    (He’s called that because one of the princes was once swept overboard and saved by a dolphin.) There are many beautiful representations on ancient sculpture and tapestry.

  12. Heather

    Thanks for sharing the details of this pattern with us. I appreciate your critiques and helpful hints. I actually like the scarf you are knitting, with the smaller center column of lace, better than the one pictured in the book. I did not think I wanted to make this particular scarf until I saw yours. (Ditto with the melon shawl, until I saw yours. Then I realized it was just the border that I did not like. I borrowed your narrow point border idea because I liked it so well.)

    Thanks for all of the helpful hints!

  13. Sonya

    O.K. Bertha just cracks me up. I was subscribing to the blow hole theory myself, along with wisecracks-in-my-head of “Maybe it’s a porpoise.”

  14. Frarochvia

    But dolphins don’t have blowholes, they’re mammals!

    Brain: shut up.

    I love all the different pictures people posted, heee. It’s like one of those magic eye things.

    Great scarf! I like it more the more I see it…

  15. Frarochvia

    But dolphins don’t have blowholes, they’re mammals!

    Brain: shut up.

    I love all the different pictures people posted, heee. It’s like one of those magic eye things.

    Great scarf! I like it more the more I see it…

  16. Jane

    Sorry, I’m not seeing a dolphin, but I do see a wonderful conch shell in the pattern. Whatever it’s called it’s beautiful.

  17. Janet

    i wouldn’t have seen the dolphin without the help of these other comments… but once it’s pointed out, i can see how it might actually be there 🙂

    in any case, it’s beautiful!

  18. ali

    Well, hiccups or no, you’re doing some fabulous lace knitting, and yep, I see dolphins. Maybe it’s the power of suggestion, but I see ’em… it took a little staring, like those magic eye puzzles, but now I can’t not see them…


    Happy knitting,


  19. rippedoffknitter

    Errm..if whales and dolphins don´t have blowholes, then what are they breathing through? And who have blowholes if they don´t?

    I see the dolphins, but to me it looks like they are jumping out of a wave, with only the head, upper body and dorsal fin visible. I see whats under he “blowhole” as rippled waves (garter stitch).

  20. Ashley

    Maybe the dolphin in the pattern refers to the fish dolphin, not the mammal. The very first comment with a link to a pic on it looked more like a dolphin tuna…either way it’s very beautiful.

  21. Amy

    Wow–I asked the original question about seeing dolphins and I can’t believe what I started! Thanks, everybody. I definitely see dolphins now, lots and lots of dolphins. . .

  22. Sally

    i have VLT as well and have noticed differences between the patterns and the photos.

    For example the scarf with the open and solid diamond lace edging has only three repeats and no edgeing stitches unlike the pattern which calls for 4 repeats and edging.

    Perhaps this reinforces the need to read a pattern through before casting on (although this is against my principles as I quite like a surprise!)

  23. Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy

    I’m with Suzanne (” The T. Rex waltzing with the sperm whale is pretty cool.”) Nice gestalt!

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