I’m a firm believer in idiot-proofing projects.  You know, blowing up charts, cutting and pasting instructions so I can follow things when my brain is tired.  But what happens when, in the course of idiot-proofing, you only prove that you are, in fact, an idiot?

Case in point:  Oblique Shawl by Dina Mor.  It went on the needles in March of 2009.  No typo, 2009.  Really.  Though the pattern called for AslanTrends Guanaco (recently used for the Eve mitts), I opted instead for AslanTrends Invernal.

Oblique Shawl by Dina Mor

I adore this yarn for a lot of reasons.  The bunny, for starters.  If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for angora.  Invernal boasts 50% angora with 25% nylon and 25% merino.  While I have a serious preference for all-natural fibers, you don’t feel the nylon at all.  At the same time, Invernal does not shed all over everything.  The yardage (295 yards/skein) is terrific for its price point.  I have gotten two full pairs of adult mittens from 1 sk, with much left over.  It also works at a variety of gauges, depending on your needs.

The pattern gauge was 19 st/4 in using Guanaco.  I had seen a model of it in Invernal, but thought the gauge just a little too tight:  angora likes to be opened up a little bit.  So that’s what I did, using US 8s to reach a gauge of 16 st/4 in.

Shawl collar and self-ties

In essence, this is a poncho-shawl cross with a forgiving shawl collar.  With the ingenious front ties, it’s intended to stay closed.  It’s also knitted sideways, allowing for easy modification.  Envisioning a scenario where every time you used your arms,

This version says put

it slipped open, I added one more “point” for a total of 12.  Also, because I really don’t like garter stitch much, and I wanted a little more visual interest, I changed the points to stockinette.

Those mods are stuff any monkey can execute.  But knitting the actual pattern ~ that’s where the idiot-proofing and the subsequent idiocy kicked in.  The basic instructions in 24 different lines of small written-out type looked something like this:

k 14, (yo, k2tog) 14 times, yo, k 80 (123 sts)

Hard on the eyes; hard to track.  So I retyped it into Excel to make life easy.

Or so I thought.

Noooo.  Each and every time I went through it, my stitch count was off by one stitch.  Not surprisingly, I easily put this project down time and again as other shiny new patterns and yarns crossed my path.  Until one day when I sat down to figure out what was wrong.

NutmegOwl Rule #1 of Knitting: The math doesn’t lie.

Let’s say it again: The math doesn’t lie.

Stockinette points

So I set about the 24 rows, one at a time, to figure out why on earth everything went screwy on every repeat. Then I checked it back against the hard copy of the pattern to see if I had mistyped.

I didn’t mistype ~ I failed to type Rows 17 and 18.  So my pattern skipped from Row 16 to Row 19 ~ putting me squarely one. stitch. off. every. time.


With that little revelation, I was on my way.  I actually finished the knitting on this a couple of months ago.  But with other project to block, and chilly nights, I’ve been hard-pressed to actually take this off.  It’s like wearing a warm hug.  So it has yet to be blocked – which will only make it that much softer and fluffier.

In summary, the modifications:

Gauge:  16 st/4 in on US 8

Added one pattern repeat for a total of 12

Changed points to stockinette from garter stitch

Total yarn used:  2.6 skeins

I could use a hug after that.


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6 Responses to “Idiot-proof”

  1. Martine Says:

    Next time I see you, I’ll give you a big hug….you deserved it!!! Are you going to be at Berlin Pizza wednesday night?

  2. KnittingKittens Says:

    Here is a hug and that is a beauty-you did good!

  3. Bullwinkle Says:

    I read the color as “guano”. ahem.

    Just lovely. And huggable.

  4. kim Says:

    I cannot believe that I forgot to comment on this one. I LOVE this shawl. And you know that I’m no shawl gal. But this one? LOVE!!!!

  5. NADINE Says:

    But I am looking to buy the pattern and where do I FIND THE PATTERN

    • NutmegOwl Says:

      The pattern, linked to its ravelry page here, is in an AslanTrends booklet called Season’s Change, and if you followed that link on rav, it would give you the same advice I would, to look at to see if you can buy the booklet there, or troll around the Internet for it – it has been around for a long time. In addition, there is an AslanTrends group on ravelry and you might be able to find it there – there is a moderator who is in touch with the company. HTH and thanks for reading.

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