Counting (or not)

Still writing a book, still knitting a shawl although the former seems to be messing with my ability to count on the latter. I cannot count to 42. Simply cannot. I’ve discovered that my simple plan is wickedly complex due to a changing number of stitches per row in the lace pattern. (I have no idea at all how I could have knit this much of it and never noticed.) The row I want to stop on, the row where the pointiness of the lace will best marry the bridge leading to the border has only 26 stitches. (???!!!) Trying to figure out which (if any) of the lace rows has the promised 40 stitches per repeat has rendered me some sort of bizarre knitting recluse, sitting in a corner for the few minutes of knitting time allotted to me per day while I mumble and fume with graph paper, a calculator, seven thousand stitch markers and a round of foul language that would render even the expletive queen herself senseless with stunned apprciation. I need a new plan. This counting thing is not going to work out.

Shropnotworking22

Dollface wrote with a question about my theory:

Disclaimer: I have never knit lace, nor have I ever designed a pattern.

Is it necessary for there to be the same number of repeats of border as there are repeats in the shawl? I ask because it seems to me that maybe, just maybe, you could divide your total number of stitches by 42, work out how many repeats that is, and how many stitches are leftover. Then, instead of increasing 2 for every repeat, you would just increase a total of…10, or whatever.

You don’t need a disclaimer, it’s a really good question. No. It is not necessary for there to be the same number, unless you are an obsessive compulsive sort of a knitter, which I happen to be. I have this idea in my head that there will be a “swoop” in the border for each diamond of the lace. This means that it’s important, should you be interested in in being all matchy matchy with the lace, that there (eventually) are the same number of border stitches to lace stitches per repeat. If, however, that doesn’t matter to you (because you care NOTHING for the natural order of things and mathematical symmetry) then you just need the total number per side to work.

Back to the salt mines for me. The end draws near for the book (You have no idea what a relief it will be) and as is traditional, That Laurie is stepping in with some guest blogs while I lay on the cool kitchen floor thinking of amusing knitting things. She’s explaining some of her modular knit design stuff (using some of the yarns she explained how to dye on a previous guest session) and it’s all totally interesting. I’ll be here too. Though as I finish this book, mostly I look like this.

Writinglookslike

(Leaning back in my chair like that really does help. As does chocolate.) Soon. It will be over soon.

122 thoughts on “Counting (or not)

  1. Chocolate helps everything!
    Except maybe an upset stomach. But if the rest of you is upset enough, who cares? It’s worth it.
    Keep breathing. My brother’s all-purpose advice in life is, “Just keep telling yourself, it’s only a movie.” Good luck!

  2. It’ll work out. Although, sometimes working it out means ditching the plan and going to a different border. As long as you like what you get, it works.

  3. Deadlines are good. Because then you are done! No more guilt about procrastinating, no more late nights, no more night sweats when you wake up positive you’re never going to meet the deadline. Yes, deadlines can be very good. Soon you will sleep, knit and rejoin your family (in a positive way)

  4. Just put one foot, er, stitch/word in front of the other. Repeat.
    Hope there is a “More Harloty” pic of you on your new book. Seems a tad bit more than simple irony that you’re knitting a square in big, honking garter stitches with huge needles, on the front of Knitting Rules. Pic aside, thanks so much for Knitting Rules. Reading it convinced me to try socks for the first time, and thanks to you, I can do it!

  5. Sheesh. 26 and not 42? Man, am I sorry. I say go for 50% less stress and hold off on the shawl till after the book deadline (regardless of the upcoming family event). Breathe breathe breathe. And send Joe to the store for more chocolate. Lots more chocolate.

  6. It seems to me that your problem with 42 lies in not embracing the perfect answer, as 42 is. You must regroup and figure out The question (capital T). Or perhaps end the book writing with a simple so long, and thanks for all the fish, er, lace.

  7. The problem, as I see it, is that 26 is not divisible by 3. If there were 27 sts per repeat, then you would have a total of 14*27=378 sts, and 378 divides neatly by 42 into 9 border repeats. So if you just snuck one extra st into each repeat before starting the border you’d have the right number of sts.
    You would, however, have 14 main pattern repeats and 9 border repeats, which would be no problem unless of course you had OCD.
    Does this pattern exist anywhere online? There’s gotta be some way to make this work.

  8. relief? actually, yes, i do know. and you can do it. the words are there. push them around a little and make them do what you want. a short-term spike in caffeine consumption [and for you, that’d be quite terrifying] is perfectly acceptable.
    a reason to live is just around the corner. hang in.

  9. (whispering)
    maybe, just maybe, there is a very fetching pair of socks that you could wear to the family event.
    enjoy the chocolate, and good luck with the end of the book!

  10. I’ve been pondering all weekend why it is that I feel, on the weekend when I have the most housework/home organizing to do, compelled to start four new projects, put the edging on my lacy shawl (though not nearly as complicated as yours), block 10 samples for upcoming classes and the bodice pieces of a new sweater design and put spinning projects in order of “gonna do”.
    Although I still don’t understand the phenomenon, reading your post, I no longer feel alone. It’s just the fiber, right?

  11. Hi Steph,
    I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival yesterday in Canby, OR. I wandered into the stables to check out the livestock. There, on a vendor’s table displaying all manner of shearing and trimming implements, was a copy of “Knitting Rules” for sale. It was displayed next to a book called “Making Sausage at Home.” I got a kick out of that.

  12. What if you ended your pattern at the end of the petals/leaves? And instead of starting new petals/leaves, whatever they are, in the in- between sections, what if you did the lacy/airy section again. Could you fit a few increases in that bit? Or maybe do an entire diamond repeat without any of the leaves – just the lacy bit and slip in a few extra stitches (in my mind I see this as the bridge between the 2 patterns). Does this make any sense?

  13. dude.
    Two cups of coffee and one very saturated drool bib contributed to the cause today. The coffee is done, but there’ll be at least one more completed bib before the workday is through.
    (go! go! go!)

  14. Your deadlines always make me feel better about mine. If you can finish that shawl in time and have the book done (or at least believe that it *may* be possible) then I’m not so far out of my mind thinking I can finish the things I try to shoe-horn into my knitting time!
    I guess you can’t (or wouldn’t want to?) fiddle with the intended motif in the bridge so that it will span repeats of the body of the shawl in order to better fit the stitch count? Like some small-scale “filler lace” between the main motifs of the bridge, to compensate? Hmm… Then again, that would take a calculator…

  15. I have to admit (selfishly!) that I am still lovin’ the fact you are using the stitch markers. First the gansey, now the shawl. My place in history is guaranteed…
    Breathe. Drink coffee. Eat chocolate. Write. Knit. It sounds so simple written out. I’ve had a little talk with the karma people – what you did for LeeAnn, we will do for you – all the crap coming your way should be deflected towards the rest of us at least through next weekend, if not a little beyond.

  16. Not only will chocolate help but so will a bottle of Tequilla. Then it will not matter one %#@* how many stitches there are. Knitting some how always works out in the end. Maybe the knitting fairies will visit and “fix” the stitch number. cecilia

  17. My Lord. Are you SURE we weren’t twins, separated at birth? I spend about 85% of my working day like that…gazing at the ceiling…muttering obscenities…wondering why two months of sales times twenty-seven orders a month is coming out to 55…
    I still can’t count to seven. Especially if I don’t have to do it every single time. If I have two rows with five, it renders me incapable of counting to seven on the third row.
    We all have our burdens to bear. Go write your book. I’ll go figure out why 2*27 = 55, in my litle SQL Server’s mind. If my kitchen floor weren’t coated with a fine layer of apple juice and Chez-It crumbs, I’d give it a whirl… πŸ˜‰

  18. What perfect timing – your link to That Laurie’s last guest post – I had my first experience with dyeing roving this weekend! Thanks! The lace – she will work out. I have faith.

  19. Of course leaning back in your chair like that really helps! And taking a page out of a programmers thought process – so does leaning slightly back, one hand near the computer while the other hand rubs your chin.

  20. no you can’t do it, it’s all going to H E double hockey sticks.
    It will never be over, never, if it’s not one thing it’s another.
    The book will be over due, the shawl will suck, your friends will laugh at you and your next book tour, you will have to give your
    talk naked (with your hair full of cream rinse). And only men will show up for that. ( the kind that drink 6 packs in a trailer park.) Oh ya Joe will pack his things and be on his merry way.
    I do hope this reverse thinking is helping. Remember , no matter how hard it gets………it can always get worse. See you on Wed. for the dropped stitch n, bitch. Get it DROPPED stitich n, bitch.
    Get it

  21. Hi Stephanie,
    I love your new lace shawl! Is this your own pattern? And, btw, I know you can do it! Both the book and the shawl. I can’t wait for your new book to come out. I have all your others. Just have not been fortunate to meet you!
    Donna

  22. no you can’t do it, it’s all going to H E double hockey sticks.
    It will never be over, never, if it’s not one thing it’s another.
    The book will be over due, the shawl will suck, your friends will laugh at you and your next book tour, you will have to give your
    talk naked (with your hair full of cream rinse). And only men will show up for that. ( the kind that drink 6 packs in a trailer park.) Oh ya Joe will pack his things and be on his merry way.
    I do hope this reverse thinking is helping. Remember , no matter how hard it gets………it can always get worse. See you on Wed. for the dropped stitch n, bitch. Get it DROPPED stitich n, bitch.
    Get it
    And a big hardy hello to Rachel H who has no deadlines.

  23. You’ll get there … we’re all behind you!
    Thanks for stopping by the other day. I was honored and steeled so by your visit that I found the courage to lengthen a vest (read between the lines: cut the bottom off and extend…) πŸ™‚

  24. at first i thought that’s what you look like after a session with the calculator, pattern, and stitch markers. because that’s what *I* look like after revising a pattern.
    We’ll miss you here, but we breathlessly await your next bookbookbook.

  25. I’m happy to see that you are making good use of your onboard camera.
    6 more days. Then you can relax and count down to Christmas instead.
    (running away very quickly to hide in Belize)

  26. Almost done – how great is that?? I say give up everything but writing, knitting and chocolate for the next few weeks, and you may survive it all surprisingly well. (No cooking, no laundry, no cleaning, no errands. Wait – what am I thinking? I’m sure all of that has already gone by the wayside.)
    Write. Knit. Eat chocolate. Eat Altoids when your stomach starts hurting from too much chocolate. Repeat.

  27. Sweet fancy Moses, that last photo of you speaks volumes. I know that look. It’s like you’re waiting for the magic words to drip from the ceiling into your head. And they will. It’s just a waiting game. Those words are tricky buggers, but they’ll show up.
    Meanwhile, I recommend eating giant blocks of chocolate like they’re apples.

  28. O-C K’ers unite!
    I’m finishing a book right now too (an academic history that will be read by fewer people than respond daily to your posts) and LOVE hearing that someone is as insane as I seem to be these days….

  29. Chocolate. Followed by more Coffee. Let’s face it, you couldn’t have a book deadline without a knitting crisis, so just lean back — and enjoy the angst. And I vote that the shawl be placed upon the cover of masterpiece book number 4.

  30. I don’t know a thing about the finishing border you’re trying to knit and even less about lace, but your pictures make the edge of the shawl look….done. Can’t you just BO?

  31. I hope everything ends up working out for you. It’s so nice to finally read your blog again. I haven’t for about a month due to a move. I missed it dearly.
    I’ve had the same look for awhile now trying to come up with how I’m getting my life organized and whether or not I have a house to move into.

  32. What does it say about me that I am insanely pleased with myself for knowing, without hesitation, who the unmatchable Queen of Expletives would be? Don’t answer that.
    Good luck with the book, Steph. And the shawl. And, um… the *other* things. πŸ™‚

  33. Just so you know, unless you already did, according to the late, great, Douglas Adams, 42 is the utimate answer. You may actually hold in your hands a clue to the ultimate question.

  34. *nodsnodsnods* leaning back in your chair like that really DOES help! It rushes blood to your head making thought possible.
    Okay, that’s bullshit.
    Beer helps.
    mmm.. beer

  35. Whoa. That picture speaks volumes. There should be no such thing as deadlines. I am a chronic procrastinator. To me, deadlines are challenges. Maybe I like living dangerously but I’ve always worked well under pressure. I’m just stupid enough to add more pressure to my life than absolutely necessary.
    Come to think of it, without deadlines, life would be boring, no?

  36. Look on the bright side — at least you don’t have poison ivy (she types while wanting to itch a couple spots). Good Luck… I know I’m ready for B4!

  37. Deadlines suck. Although I’m an entirely different kind of writer, I don’t have any deadlines looming, so I hereby lend you my writing mojo, to use as you will until you meet the deadline.
    May the force be with you.

  38. Are you really reading these comments these days?
    I don’t have to write a book to screw up a shawl. I messed up my 1st shawl before row 7 6 times already. How’s that for math? hehe Good Luck!

  39. I think your missing stitches are in the other half of the diamond shape…
    If the pointy row you want to stop in only has 26 stitches, you’ve already started the bottom of the next diamond shape, so you’ve got some number of stitches going on over there (I’m guessing 14, but I could be wrong).
    I say just increase on either side of the center somewhere, you’ll know the best place when it finds you, and go on from there. It’ll all be fine. Have a glass of wine and some chocolate and go outside for a bit and look around before the winter sets in, you’ll feel better.

  40. Ok, now just get someone to stand behind you with a funnel to pump in some Screech or Beer…then rub your shoulders and neck….mmmm. Deep breath, 1/2 a bar of Cadbury Dark and it will seem better.
    Hugs.

  41. Gawd almighty, I’m feeling guilty about even READING your books much less BUYING them!!! The suffering! The angst! The dirty laundry! I’m not worthy.

  42. My Disclaimer: I have an enormous amount of respect for you as a writer, a knitter, and woman in general.
    That said, what kind of cuckoo brain decides to design a shawl in the middle of a book deadline? πŸ˜€

  43. And wine…. really that helps with the witty parts if maybe not so much with the fiddly lace math parts.

  44. Dear Denny,
    On behalf of Harlot and myself, may I say please rethink any plans you may have to change your career to Motivational Speaker.
    Respectfully yours, in spite of sticking my tongue out at you as I type,
    Rachel H

  45. I’d send you some of my husband’s hooch if I knew that Canada Post would let it get through.
    Although, if you did try some, your stitches would be .. uh… irregular. πŸ˜‰

  46. The last time That Laurie was here (well not the indigo time, the other last time) I ended up learning how to spin just so I could make socks like those. I now can make 3 ply sock yarn with long colour runs blending into each other and I’m well pleased. I just hope if this is going to be something else I’m going to covet that the learning curve is less steep (did I say I had to learn to dye too)

  47. Ok, time for a peppy cheer:
    GO STEPHANIE! GO STEPHANIE! YOU CAN DO IT! GO STEPHANIE!
    hang in there πŸ™‚

  48. I was striking that same pose in my chair this morning, for a very different reason than you of course. Hang in there πŸ™‚ I can only get any productive work like writing done when everyone is in bed. I generally end up just staying up all night to do any writing. I’m not sure why but it is the only time I can do that type of work. Even if the house is empty (yeah right) and quiet (whatever) during the day, it doesn’t matter. It just has to be the middle of the night for me. Anyways, I agree that the math needs to make it all symmetrical and even for the shawl to look right. I’m obsessive about that stuff too!

  49. Best wishes as you finish those deadlines! I’m looking forward to your next book – I loved Knitting Rules. Having read your other books, I was settling in for a fun read when I realized this one was full of practical info as well. πŸ™‚ It may have inspired me to pick up socks again!

  50. Your shawl agony makes me thankful that I am still sticking to completely written shawl patterns. (& I have many more of our lovely Mim’s to knit before I run out of patterns.)
    Best of luck with the book & the shawl!

  51. Stephanie: Imagine three choir risers full of fat little badgers singing and cheering you on – I’m directing! I have money clutched in my paw, and the INSTANT that new book is born I will HAVE it (and so will we all….)
    I haven’t even organized my winter projects yet..let’s see – toque, shawl, lap robe, toque, shawl, shawl, toque, toque, toque…toque…time to rent some movies. :o)

  52. Hang in there Steph, you CAN do it.I will be thinking of you as I knit away on my 1st sock…You are an unbelieveable knitter and writer………As for the chocolate more is always better,and dark is always good……Only 5 more days to go….Go Steph,Go Steph,Go Steph!

  53. You got all the way to 42?! When I started my last scarf, I had the most ridiculous time trying to count repeats of 7 and 9 stitches. It was the world’s simplest pattern, but I swear I started that scarf over about 28 times.

  54. Yep, that’s “assuming the position,” alright. Cool how the vantage point of the computer’s camera totally avoids the coffee cup wasteland around you.

  55. 42? While I was knitting scarves for my daughters last year (the wavy scarf from knitty), I couldn’t seem to manage to count to 3. Of course, some of that may be able to be blamed on various members of my knitting group, since it was there that I seemed to have the most problems… but goodness! That’s still got to say something about me. THREE. I couldn’t count to THREE.

  56. Dollface wrote…
    *fangirl shriek* That’s me! I’ll spare you any more gushing as I know your time is limited.
    If, however, that doesn’t matter to you (because you care NOTHING for the natural order of things and mathematical symmetry) then you just need the total number per side to work.
    That is so ironic…because I’m about the most logical/symmetrical/mathematical/matchy matchy minded person I know. Anyway, just remember…breathe, and eat more chocolate. It’ll all be better soon.

  57. By my figuring, the largest number of stitches shows up on row 35, but it’s only 38 stitches.
    I think you are trying to stop at row 29. If so, email me and I’ll give you the how-to to get to 42 stitches that shouldn’t look to weird. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll send chocolate or wine or both.
    And, no, I’m not that clever. I took a 4 month bootcamp class on how to design lace. πŸ˜‰

  58. If it is any consolation (schadenfreude or bust!) I have lice from my school-aged kid, we have given it to the very unhappy nanny, I go back to work on Friday after a year off with a baby, the baby has just started to walk and be a super fun guy, the furry 4 colour stripey bee vest i am knitting for halloween has 1 bazillion ends to sew in and, drumroll please,….it is 7pm and I have no idea what we are making for dinner today! Have fun finishing your loose ends this week! Enjoy!
    yowza.

  59. Good luck with your deadline Stephanie. You’ll make it with plenty of time to mutter and work on that counting thing with the shawl.

  60. It could work… but I advise making several bad doodles of it to decide whether you like how they flow together. There’s nothing worse than the numbers turning out and then discovering that the looks aren’t.
    The lace PATTERN I’m knitting is missing three or four rows…. makes for an interesting experience.

  61. Please take precious care of yourself, Stephanie. We want you around for the duration, and the mom in me is beginning to worry about how hard you work! (Thank God my teenaged daughters don’t read your blog or they’d be humiliated, I’m sure.)
    Do you have something wonderfully restful and rejuvenating and luxurious planned to celebrate the book’s completion? Something you are looking forward that can help get you over that final hurdle? (You can daydream up a plan for yourself while you count those lace stitches again.)
    Marie

  62. Slow down. Breathe. You can do this.
    Your shawl is composed of diamonds, each of which has the leaf motif at the top point and the frilly bits at the bottom. And as you finish one full diamond repeat, in between each full diamond you’ll have leaves appearing again (i.e. half a diamond), right? So could you basically take the frilly half of the diamond pattern and flip it upside-down, and fill that in *instead* of the last half-leaves? That should let you convert to a bridge of just frilly stuff, in which you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to increase to the required stitch count for the border.
    Or something like that.

  63. I feel your angst, I really do. I’m working on a huge document, representing months of work, and I’m now at the stage where I loathe it so much that I have to bribe myself to even sit down at my desk. What makes it even more soul-destroying is that no-one will probably ever read to the end of my document.
    Would it help if we reminded you how much we enjoy your writing, love your books and appreciate finding our own foibles magnified and satirized by your work? And that we are all cheering you on and looking forward to getting our hands on the new book?
    I’m going to try the leaning-back-in-the-chair pose – so far I’ve been doing the face-down-on-the-keyboard and it leaves unsightly dents in my forehead.

  64. Oh, you can totally do it! Remember, you’re an olympic gold medalist. You have churned out sweaters under the most unreasonable conditions. Like the Rhinebeck sweater. Definitely cheering for you.
    Most people are talking about eating more chocolate but I vote for the screech. It’ll help so much. I always write better after a couple shots.

  65. Dear Harlot, I cannot even imagine the stress u r under. I could use a bit of your wisdom but feel free to wait until after your deadline to answer. I totally understand. I am in the midst of knitting, ripping, knitting, ripping, on and on… my 1st shawl. Fibertrends Leaf Lace…anyway, I get that the stitch marker goes in the center. I don’t get were the others should go and how exactly it helps. Sorry to sound like a simpleton…
    michelle

  66. In my opinion, the book deadline comes first. You have lots of beautiful shawls. On the other hand, trying to solve the puzzle (or at least understand it) distracts me from the lace typos I’m trying to figure out, so here goes.
    As I understand it (and I admit I’m probably wrong), there aren’t enough stitches, _because_ some of the expected stitches are actually the yos that are really BIG and take up the space that would otherwise have to be filled with little stitches. It’s the space-width equivalent of the 40 or so stitches you thought it would be.
    Here’s my idea: knit the last row of the pattern, where you want to stop. Do the next row as plain knitting in which you increase for each motif the same number of times that you would have increased in pattern in the next row, but do it as simple yos, not in pattern. Remember, you are not going to do any k2togs, just yos. Also, these increases probably should be in the stitches that are holding those big yos open, but otherwise they should be as evenly spaced as possible.
    Keep doing this: in each row, do the same number of increases you would have if you had kept doing the pattern. When you get to the place where it’s the most stitches that the pattern has (Jae said it was 38? and should only take six rows), do however many more you need in the last row in order to make it equal the border numbers.
    The evenly spaced yos will inevitably make a little pattern of their own. You might choose to arrange them to make a pattern of your own devising, but it’ll be a pattern either way.
    If this doesn’t work, I apologize for wasting your time.

  67. Good luck, Stephanie! The end draws near, after which you can resume your Harlotty throne over all of the booty you gained on the tour. Think of it… all the Peet’s, chocolate, yarn and Etats Unis washcloths all to yourself without the rush of a deadline upon you. You may even be inspired to plan a way around the cherry debaucle once your mind is cleared of the stress.
    Strolling around undressed with a bottle of wine is also good. Oh, and family slash Sir Washie time. πŸ™‚

  68. Gee, with the right bits of information we could bury you in chocolate the way you’ve assisted in burying others with yarn!
    Chocolate DOES make everything better!

  69. If you don’t get the shawl done, you could always wear one of your other shawls to the family thing with a note pinned to it saying “I finished my book.” People will understand.

  70. I would definitely not be considered a prude, but the “expletive queen” is neither funny nor entertaining.

  71. Since no one is going to read the 92nd comment anyway, may I say that I thank god and all the angels that I am not a matchy matchy type knitter and care apparently not enough about the natural order of things. I am an Artist. A teacher of Art. O.K., so I teach Art to high school students. Still. If I applied all of this matchy matchy, do your math stuff to their work the drop out rate would soar.

  72. Well. . . If past history is any indicator, your next book will be finished, it will be well-written, and hoardes of knitters will buy it and then line up to see you on another marathon book tour. (I’m hoping this time when I get to the front of the line I manage to say something intelligent like, “I find your narrative style invitingly conversational yet intimate.”) You’ll finish it, it will be great, and we’ll all love it. (it’s like a book producing mantra)

  73. It doesn’t all have to be totally funny – you could go with anecdotal, slight amusing, witty or merely clever. Then, if all else fails and you still need some material, mix in a couple or three that stray into the perplexing or puzzling territory and if it ever comes up just say “I can’t explain it – it’s just not funny if you have to explain it.”
    You can do it Steph – it just wouldn’t be the same kinda ride if it didn’t go right to the wire.

  74. Gee, the only times I ever leaned back in my chair like that, it fell over with me. At work. Can you imagine the looks when you fill out a Worker’s Comp form for falling over in a chair…twice in one year???
    Hurray for That Laurie on her white horse – looking forward to it, Laurie! – and hope it really really helps, Stephanie! Go forth and conquer. And thanks much for the sockBorging, btw; I turned the heel of my first practice sock last night! Of course, the heel flap is too long and I’ve gotta rip back to a reasonable length, but see, there’s a bit more lace knitting/book completion karma. [g] It’s the least I can do.

  75. Hey Steph –
    You look like you need a break. Come see my latest post on some yarn shops Down Under which may interest you. I’ll even put you up in my Stash Room (trust me, it deserves initials – just try not to breathe the yarn fumes!!).

  76. Here…have a good giggle at this knitting cartoon. It’s only a few minutes of procrastination, but I hope it’ll help you destress a little. It’s done wonders for me this fine..oh bloody hell it’s already 2 am.
    Anyhow.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6ZjMWLqJvM&eurl=
    Best of luck with everything, and I’m sure your book is going far better than my homework, so no worries.

  77. Is 42 not the answer in Douglas Adams’ series of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?
    The only problem to this is not knowing the question. Of course.

  78. We’re pulling for you, Steph! I’d chime in advice on the shawl but I am even worse at counting than you are. :o)

  79. I recognize that pose . . . that is the one that I was doing last night at 9:54 . . . when I decided that my project that is due, ummmmm, tomorrow, is ridiculously stupid and not making a whole heck of a lot of sense. Turned off the laptop, poured a glass of wine, turned on the TV (CSI Miami) and finished a bowl that I’m going to felt. And this morning, I woke feeling way behind but also realized that for the first time in three days I felt human. Of course, it was 4:20 in the morning because the stupid project is still due tomorrow and it was tapping on my forehead. But, I felt better. Seriously, doing something “normal” is very healthy. Grab your bike and ride . . . even doing the laundry can help (okay, not really) . . . but washing dishes does. Making bread is very theraputic (kneading works out all the angst against just about everything). DO SOMETHING ELSE . . . for a very short period of time.

  80. A while ago I had lace with a stitch count that wouldn’t come right. In sheer frustration, I put it aside for a couple of months. Finally deciding that I couldn’t let it win, I graphed it out to find where/when the stitches-per-row changed. It took a while, but it worked. Can you graph a single repeat of your pattern to find where it’s 42 rows? Or where you can fiddle with it to make it 42?

  81. You know, leaning back like that helps because it allows the air in your lungs to travel more directly to the back of your brain where scientists have come to believe some of our deeper, better, and brighter creative thoughts lie dormant waiting for the right posture to possibly release them for our use. It is a shame that people who never put their heads back like that may never glimpse their true potential.
    You, however, are obvious releasing some of yours.
    ~firefly

  82. Isn’t that photo booth thing fun (or scary – I haven’t decided which yet). Hubby and I got a new mac this past weekend and when I discovered the photo thingy I had to tell him “oooh – the Harlot’s got one of these!” I’ve been playing with it ever since. I guess the scary part is truly discovering how I look pre-coffee first thing in the morning. It’s not a pretty picture. Here’s wishing you luck on the book! Hope all is well – this too shall pass.

  83. I have no advice on the shawl, but leaning back in the chair like that is great for stretching the muscles that have tightened up whilst you claw you way through the black and twisted miasma that your book appears to have become in your mind. It’s really no such thing; it just seems that way when you have been wrestling with it for 18 hours/day for what seems like forever.
    fwiw, I find that chocolate and wine complement each other extremely well. Just sayin’.

  84. OK, this comment is coming from someone who is the queen of “fudging” increases and decreases…. Is there a section in the middle of the pattern repeat where you could add 2 stitches? Maybe an extra YO at the beginning and end of a pattern repeat before you add the border? If it were me, and I’m one of those self-taught, gauge-hating, fudge-pattern, types, I’d be figuring out a way to add those two stitches somewhere in the pattern repeat before adding the border.

  85. Hugs. Just hugs. It sounds like you need a few. Maybe some nice petting as well. Not that kind! The over the forehead and stroking the hair sort. Jeez!

  86. You know dear, I love you dearly and have purchased all your books (as has my mother), but I’ve been a professional writer… it does wear on you after a while… and I didn’t even have book deals, just magazine and newspaper publishers to deal with but is there any chance you can relax for a while after this one? I mean, deal with the book tours and all… but put off another book for a year or two? Don’t get me wrong. I really do love reading your stuff… but I think I’m speaking for everyone here when I say we surely don’t want you to have a nervous breakdown! Get through this but relax after this for a while. Okay?

  87. Hey Sweetpea-
    Just catching up on my reading and wanted to tell you to take good care of yourself in these last steps. Stay clear of poutine – cook yourself some butternut yum yums and be well!
    Thinking of you…

  88. Ooh, ooh, I’ve had an idea. Okay, said shawl is square correct? okay. this will work for round too!! take lacey bunchy things up to the corner as all other blocks are, cast off. now you have a thing that looks all zig-zaggy. pick up desired number of stitches to make create a half triangle (90 degree) bridging area and then go on to desired border. This way, each section will be the same size & same number of stitches. (ergo, symmetrical)I really wish I could draw something to illustrate this. I may also be way off base or not even remotely on the same wavelength.

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