As suspected, I’m still knitting the Summer in Kansas shawl. I finished the edging last night, which one would think might finish the thing, but nope. This shawl is just one big series of finished parts that don’t finish the whole.

A quick bit of math revealed why the edge took so long. Each repeat is 17 stitches wide and ten rows long, so each point took 170 stitches to accomplish. There are 89 points.  89 X 170 = 15 130.  Yup. More than 15 thousand stitches in the edge alone.  That took a while, but last night I finished.  Done? Nope.

The next instruction was to knit across the 17 edge stitches, then pick up each yarn over running along the top of the shawl and knit and purl into each one.

Then I carefully unpicked the provisional cast on at the start of the edging, and knit across those 17.  That gave me a grand total of 360 live stitches to be cast off, but wait, there’s more.

The cast off for this top creates charming little points by, you guessed it.  Casting on then off two extra stitches every two stitches.

I’m not even thinking about how many that turns the 360 into, and even if you’re the mathematically proficient type, I’d rather you didn’t tell me how many it is, because my gut instinct tells me that casting on two and then off two every two?  
I think it’s infinite.

165 thoughts on “Continued

  1. Great googly moogly. Beautiful stuff tho. I’m constantly astonished at how fast you are at this.

  2. but oh so very beautiful
    wish I could knit a lace shawl
    tried more
    failed more
    try again?

  3. that’s enough to make me throw the damn thing back in the closet and remember why I put it down.
    no, I didn’t just frog a bunch of unloved projects and start three new ones with my new yarn this weekend, nope, not at all.

  4. Do you ever go back and read your old entries? I was just reading back in 2004 when Sam was 9, Meg 12, and Amanda “almost 15”.
    You’ve come a long way baby.
    (Another example of higher knitting math: I myself have just committed to knit a whole bunch of miniature mittens, the sale of which will go to support a local women’s shelter. 40 minutes each x 17 weeks of 5 lunch-hours each = about 130 mittens = 65 pairs x $5/pair (give or take) = $325 for kids who’ll get a brighter future.)

  5. Infinite or not, it is purely gorgeous. I cannot wait to see this one finished. I know you are a bit (ahem) tired of it, Stephanie, but it is one lovely shawl. You will enjoy it so much when you are done!

  6. It may seem infinite, but it is absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to see a photo of the finished shawl!

  7. an-ti-ci-PAY!!!!-shun!!!! fer shur!!!
    You are something wonderful, lady!
    And the shawl is simply gorgeous.
    Heck, for you that song ought to be
    That’s our Yarn Harlot, yep.
    Being a chronic non-finisher of things I am entirely IN AWE of you. (I’m a great beginner, stubborn middler, awful finisher-upper of projects… think a lot of folks ’round here know THAT drill! )

  8. Have you driven through Kansas in the summer? It is a state that doesn’t end…. hence the title of the pattern is accurate.

  9. Oh my goodness. I’d say the lack of ability to do quick mental math serves you (if you’re like me) well here. That little scallop edge sure is cute though.

  10. But you’ll have Miss Mellie’s shawl from Gone With The Wind when you’re done!

  11. The pattern is from an outfit called “Two Old Bags.”
    I am thinking they have a perverse sense of humor…being old bags and all, they may not get out much.
    It is beautiful, though.
    ; )

  12. I liked the phrase in an earlier comment: “great googly moogly!”
    I’m in my last lace section of my first, and probably last, Elizabeth Zimmerman PI shawl. I thought I was “almost done,” but then I was talking to a woman wearing one at the Black Sheep gathering in Eugene last week and she said that the border took almost as much yarn as the rest of the shawl! This means I need to order and dye and spin more roving! Great googly moogly, these things are crazy, but I sure love that little picot cast off look you have going there.

  13. Fancy!
    Maybe, for your next project, you can do some nice garter stitch in bulky yarn on size 13 needles. In my experience, a king size blanket with those parameters takes 3-5 weeks. For you, half that.
    Maybe some nice wash clothes? Maybe some felted coasters?

  14. I just finished (it’s blocking now) a heavy lace blanket that I thought was going to go on for infinity. Tthe final round was 600 stitches! But I did, in fact, reach the end. You will too!

  15. For Marie @3:49–
    I don’t remember who said this, but one of my favorite quotes is:
    “You tried, and failed? Try again. Fail again. *Fail better.*”

  16. It is looking gorgeous and whilst you claim it’s never ending you seem to be whizzing through it so I’m looking forward to the finished object very, very much 🙂
    *goes off to work on own lace shawl which is right near the beginning and nothing like as beautiful…*

  17. it looks gorgeous Stephanie 🙂
    and as for the number of stitches that you now need to cast off? probably the same number that i’ve knit (and had to rip out, pick back up and reknit) for your basic sock pattern courtesy of a husband and 2 sons who are all taking turns doing the “LOOK! QUICK! RIGHT NOW!” with the same type of urgency that you’d expect if someone were say, oh i don’t know, dangling off a roof and only holding on by the drain pipe or running up the street naked and on fire….. but nope, it has to do with super hero stuff (8 more years until the last one is 18 and heading off to college….. and as for why I’m counting down, between the two of us, which includes dh’s 3 sons from his last marriage that gives us a grand total of FIVE kids… and ALL BOYS!) that I can’t for the life of me figure out how it requires the urgency of the aforementioned dangling neighbor or naked person on fire running up the street.
    I will get this heel done…. it took me 2 days of knitting to do both cuffs and legs (yes I did other things…. sleeping is required sometimes LOL!) and I really want to be down to the toes on at least one of the socks for my knitting group on Thursday night where apparently, they want me to show them how to do the kitchener stitch… since they missed it when I was at that point for the Joker Socks (also from your basic sock recipe, pic on my blog… they took me 2 weeks)…
    You’ll be done soon (and so will I, I hope!)

  18. Ooooh, you’re just going to have to show us how to block that sucker…(uh beautiful shawl!!)

  19. well, after 15,130 stitches in the edging, what’s another 1000 or so to bind off with such a pretty picot edging on top? (no I didn’t do the math, just guessed). It will be so lovely when it’s blocked!

  20. I think, if I understand your instructions clearly, you are doubling the number of stitches you actually have to bind off.
    You chose to do this willingly?!
    … I’ll go creep back to my 60k stitch stole now…

  21. But two by two by two, I’m sure you’ll get there! And you didn’t (as predicted) have to knit the edging for forever, so this too shall pass.

  22. Steph, you’ve inspired me to pick up, fix and complete the first laceweight shawl I started and threw down two summers half-finished after not being able to figure out why my stitch count was all wrong. Looking forward to seeing your shawl when you’re all done, probably sooner than you think!

  23. I knit so slow that whole shawl would be all I would get done in my lifetime.

  24. You are correct, it is infinite. Drink beer. Beer is well-known for its ability to transmute mathematics.

  25. Ok, yesterday I commented that the never ending edging is the reason I don’t do edgings…but I have to admit — that little scallop edge is adorable & is tempting me to knit the shawl. The whole fricking shawl just so I could have that little scallop. I think I’ve officially lost my mind, though I must say the shawl in its entirety is gorgeous, especially in the yarn you’re using.

  26. Yes, and your whole blog post would still apply if you substituted ‘gansey’ for ‘shawl.’
    Not that I’m being snarky or anything. Just an observation. Really.

  27. And I took up knitting because “when you are done, you are done”?
    Ha!Ha! Hee!Hee!

  28. I am never, ever, going to knit something as complex as this shawl. I’m a slow knitter and my life is not long enough.
    But Bravo to you for doing it.

  29. You are convincing me that I definitely do NOT knit fast enough to finish a shawl in my lifetime. Casting on is futile. (But then, so is resistance.)

  30. OMG!!! A mind-boggling amount of work but how BEAUTIFUL!!! Don’t stop!!!!! It’s GORGEOUS!!!!!

  31. I shall not tell you how many stitches (although it is a lot less than you are thinking).
    You have to work something like 1/20 of the stitches in the border to do the cast off. That is NOT so bad!

  32. I love lace but I know that I would never try this particular pattern. I would be completely crazy. You are a stronger soul than me… 🙂

  33. Yikes! Sounds nightmarish, good thing it’s a beautiful shawl and will be worth it in the end. Your patience shall be rewarded.

  34. Google
    (not the search engine but 1 to the power of 100 … so that’s 1 with 100 zeros after it)

  35. What devilish mind created this shawl? Perhaps an alien from another planet with 10 hands? LOL

  36. This is a lovely, lovely thing, and will be so worth it. It is also a testament to the magical power of the UFO! Some objects need to be left unfinished for a while. I bet you see now why you didn’t feel like knitting it any more when you put it away. Picking something up again once you’ve forgotten why you abandoned it is the best way of getting these massive, stunning projects done. This is a marathon of a shawl!

  37. You’ve got the wrong attitude! You need to find someone who is a) a very patient counter and b) good at arithmetic to figure out how many stitches are in that incredibly beautiful shawl. Then you need to go to a jeweler and get a little silver plaque to hang from a chain.Wait, better yet a flat brooch to hold the shawl! On the plaque you need to write “This shawl has twelve million and seventy-nine stitches ( or whatever)and took one hundred and ten hours to make.” Then, when you wear the shawl you will flaunt the necklace/brooch!! Let ’em know how great you are. You deserve it!

  38. I could have been knitting on the shawl for the past 4 years instead of having it hiding somewhere and I still would not be as far along as you are. It will be stunningly beautiful when it is done.

  39. WOW! It is already beautiful, I am amazed at how quickly this shawl has grown and the edging is really nice. What are you going to do with it? Surely you will keep it for yourself?

  40. Not sure what you were expecting, from a) lacework b) entitled “Summer in Kansas”. Summers in Kansas are hellish; has nobody ever told you? 😉

  41. I made Summer in Kansas a few years ago. Wait until you block this baby. While it may SEEM endless right now, it really is lovely once its blocked. Guaranteed to please.

  42. After all of the edging work, you’re probably going to want to sleep in it. 🙂 It’s lovely!

  43. Now do you remember why this was put in time-out? But now we can see how gorgeous it will be when finished. Can’t wait! Good luck!

  44. Note to self: Do not…I repeat…Do.Not.Even.Consider making this shawl. Self, you know you have zero patience.
    It is beautiful Stephanie, and if it finds itself in Port Ludlow in 10 days time, I will be giggling like a loon!

  45. Good Grief. This shawl living in the closet for four years is becoming less of a mystery each day. If I saw instructions like that I’d probably say, “are you KIDDING me right now, dude?”

  46. I absolutely understand your patience. The only reason I’m reading your blog right this minute is that I just finished tearing out ANOTHER section of this vest I’m making. I figure I’ve come a LONG way since I’m still working on it, and it has not seen the back of the still, dark, lonely closet drawer.(yet)
    Beautiful shawl – You knit so quickly, I’m sure those thousands and thousands of stitches pass by in a heartbeat (compared to the rest of us slug knitters)!

  47. This gave me a headache just reading it. Can’t wait to see it finished. I’ll bet you’re feeling the same way about now.

  48. You know, in some languages, any number above 2 or 3 is “many.” So that’s how many stitches you have to bind off. Many.

  49. The shawl, despite its ever-expanding, near-infinite capacities, is positively grand!
    I wanted, though, to let you know about the garlic scapes. You can make all sorts of things with them: garlic scape pesto, saute them with other veggies over pasta, cook them into a omelet or frittata. I imagine them as really firm chives — cut and saute accordingly. Happy eating!

  50. It’s beautiful Stephanie, but right now I say better you than me… My knitting group is full of spinners making beautiful yarn and they’ve pulled me in. So I’m doing the TdF with a total of 15 minutes spinning experience so far. Think I need to go practice….

  51. Normally, I would try to give some words of motivation, but honestly, I don’t know what to say.
    Except that I’m taking this shawl out of my Ravelry queue…too much work for me!
    I’m living vicariously through you, when the shawl is done, I will breathe a sigh of relief, and when the shawl is blocked, I will make the appropriate gasp of admiration.

  52. Ahh, but don’t you find that the satisfaction you get from finishing a UFO is so much more than that from a start-to-finish project? As well as the kick from ‘look what I made isn’t it beautiful’ and the head-rush you get from producing something glorious in what now seems like a disproportionately small amount of time, you also get the fabulous sense of virtue and tidiness (rare in my life!) of completing something hitherto unfinished. Like you’ve done something extra smug-worthy by finishing what you’ve started and then neglected.
    As well as finally quelling those nagging little voices in your head that say things like “finish the damn gansey…”
    Or maybe that’s just me.

  53. I am repeating to myself: I will not try this at home. I will not try this at home. Multiplied by the number of stitches…I give up.

  54. Gorgeous. But, absolutely not going on my wish list. I am decades away from being able to attempt such a thing.

  55. eh, the real fun will start when you pin that sucker out. how many pins will *that* take?

  56. Now that’s one hell of a way to make sure you’re not on a streak. It’s not like you’re going to knit three of those, or use that particular yarn soon, and you probably won’t even want to knit anything blue.

  57. As a former resident of Kansas, I can verify that the shawl is accurately named–summers in Kansas never seem to end!!!!!

  58. OK, now I get it. I have lived all of my nearly 56 years in Kansas…summers and all. I absolutely, positively hate the heat and humidity that goes on and on and on and on until I can’t take it anymore. So THAT’S why it’s called the Summer in Kansas shawl…it seems it will outlast you and your last shread of sanity. Yep. I get it now. It will be autumn again, hang in there.

  59. By my reckoning, you fall behind by two stitches on every point.
    I was a computer programmer for many years, so you can rely on me.

  60. I am in awe of your perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness, and any other adjective to describe your ability to continue through it all. wow. I wish I possessed half of your patience.

  61. So very pretty…..I’m having my own issues with lace right now: I promised daughter-in-law-to-be a silk lace shawl for the wedding, and I have probably put in 40+ hours already and only have the two end borders done. And it’s not as complicated as this – I apparently can’t knit lace, and keep track of anything.

  62. Garlic scapes: how lucky! Make pesto; chop them into a stir fry; add to fried potatoes or scrambled eggs; chop and simmer into tomato sauce.

  63. Whew!!!! I think I feel dizzy just from reading your post and NOT doing the math.
    It is beautiful though

  64. I was going to ask for the pattern..changed my mind…It is abosolutly beautiful..think of the future weddings you can wear it too.

  65. Breathe deeply and have another beer. I think the number of stitches left is roughly equal to the atomic number of dilithium. Ask Spock; he’d know for sure.

  66. Sounds like the knitting equivalent of the philosophy problem wherein some thing always approaches some thing else by hald. Does it ever get there? Good for you for finishing!

  67. You know, I live in Kansas and just watching you go through the steps….well, I can safely say I will most likely never attempt this particular pattern. Sure is bee-u-tee-full though!

  68. well no drinking while working on that edging. You know you’ll miss something, and not find it until your eleventy-billion stitches past it.

  69. have you ever been in Kansas in the summer? It is hell! We visited my sister one summer, it was 42C and windy, just like walking into a hair dryer.
    it will be beautiful, hang in there 🙂

  70. How many stitches altogether?
    Hmmm … I could scare you with the actual number of stitches, or I could just tell you that the answer is “B.”

  71. P.S. — You have just inspired me to finish a UFO which has been lingering much too long. It is something I was working on about the time my Dad died, and Katrina hit two weeks later. I worked up the courage to finish the socks (which were supposed to be for Dad, but they were on the needles when he died so it made me sad to contemplate them), and a chanel-style suit in perle cotton on US size 3 needles, of which I have the back, fronts, one sleeve and the cast-on for the skirt. I am determined to finish that this summer.

  72. If ever you get so disgusted with all those numbers of infinite stitches and you should decide to throw that shawl out I know some one who would love it and give it a beautiful home…:)

  73. Okay, I am never, never casting on that shawl. It’s too darn… charming. 🙂

  74. thanks for biting the bullet on this one steph. we all now know to avoid it’s tedium but will have the chance to see it all pretty and done when you finish.
    you know,
    at the end of time.

  75. Oooo. all the stitches are so worth it !!
    What a wonderful work of art you have created!

  76. Little did you realize when you began that the pattern is not called Summer in Kansas because summer in Kansas is pretty, but because it seems to go on forever. 🙂

  77. Girl, you really know how to sell a project! 🙂
    But you’re gonna really proud of this… when you finish!

  78. It’s gorgeous! I’m sure the end result will be well worth all the effort 🙂
    (Oh and when in doubt – DRINK WINE! :-D)

  79. OMG. You ask a question about garlic scapes, and Mollie Katzen responds.
    That’s incredible. Really.
    And the shawl is gorgeous, and every time you finish a stitch you’re that much closer to the end.
    Mollie Katzen. OMG

  80. This is the kind of project you design when your “production” knitting days are over (no little ones to outgrow things or loose mittens/hats/scarves). You get access to an unlimited supply of very fine yarn and see how far you can go, adding and adding steps. What a beauty! Will you wear this yourself? I think I recall another shawl you did where it actually was too long in the back for your rather petite size. I sure hope that isn’t the case here. We’re all holding our collective breaths to see this on you! Blue being a neutral (hah) it should go with all the greeny colors you already have.

  81. Okay, this is so beautiful. But you are a far braver and stronger knitter and woman than I will ever be. If I came up against those instructions, I would have just said “F*** this” and quit.
    But it is so beautiful. I hope you finish it soon!

  82. Hm, those close-up pictures make the yarn look absolutely delightful to work with though. I’d consider the cast-off to be a meditative process. Wishing you the best!

  83. Wow now for sure I’m not knitting that beauty. But I give you credit for doing so. then you have to block it. Cant’ wait to see the finished product. And why you stopped knitting it in the first place. that edging would stop me too.

  84. It is a prodigious amount of stitches, but it’s sooooooooo beautiful. 🙂 Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  85. It’s gorgeous and with all of the effort you’ve put into it, when you finish it will make you look taller and more elegant!

  86. I think, that were I you, once I did finish this shawl, I would wear it every freaking day for a month.

  87. I feel your pain, I’m knitting the neverending EZ Pi Shawl! Around and around I go………….

  88. Oh, the patience that you inspire in all of us, Stephanie! The shawl is gorgeous!

  89. After an offhanded question at knitting one night, I counted the stitches for a baby blanket I was making.
    Sometimes it’s better not to count.

  90. well begun is half done
    or you could just go with beer math…
    one beer every * (fill in your necessary repeat)
    you may never get the shawl done, but you will be one very happy knitter.

  91. OMGooness !! Don’t do the math is a good idea. You’ll have it done in no time. Good Luck. It’s going to be a real treasure.

  92. That is a lot of stitches! I don’t think I have the fortitude for something like that. Although it is so lovely! Keep going! You will finish it in no time. 🙂

  93. reading all the comments on the awfull length of edging makes me worry about my near future, as I am about to finish knitting the border of the spring shawl by Heirloom knitting. Thats approx. 1,025 on the final round of the border. I am dreading 🙂

  94. Wow, I’m glad you’re blogging about this experience. If I ever had any desire to knit this shawl – not going to do it now. Too old to start, too many other lovlies in the que. Looking forward to seeing it blocked and on you!

  95. Are you going to pin and block each one of those little bumps?..I bow to your perserverance.

  96. It is beautiful and you will finish. You shall persevere! I know it. YOU….are the Yarn Harlot!

  97. Look here missy, if you put as much effort into the project as you are into the complaining, you would be DONE by now.
    Now march over there, grab those knitting needles, and STAB ME IN THE NECK with them because I just became my mother 😉
    Tee hee! It’s a beaut, though!

  98. After finishing a never-ending shawl like that for my mother-in-Law, my sister asked me to make her one in a different color. First lesson learned:don’t post my knitting on FaceBook. Second lesson: say no. I’m still in the triangle portion after promising it for Christmas’09. Just thinking about the edging makes me want to cry.I’m even knitting the Yggdrasil blanket from Interweave to avoid it.
    The Kansas looks amazing though, well worth it. Will you keep it because of all the hard work, or give it away because of the painful memories?

  99. You know, I’ve often wondered if knitting had something akin to the picot edging in crochet… I think this may be it!
    It’s good that it’s pretty because otherwise no one would ever knit it. 😛

  100. Ok – you win! I’m still slogging along on my edging. 140 repeats of 16 rows, 30ish stitches…but I’m now past the halfway point!
    The end is nigh! Not as nigh as yours – but nigh!

  101. Have you figured how many yards (or miles) of yarn are in that shawl? However many there are, it will be a masterpiece.
    Like another poster and Dory, I say: “just keep knitting, just keep knitting, just keep knitting”.

  102. As lovely as it is, I’m very glad I don’t like triangle shawls. I have enough trouble with my black hole sleeves, just realized last night I need to rip out 20 rows on the third try. Hopefully the lace shawl I plan to do next is not designed by the same person who did yours. Best of luck and I don’t suggest doing any more math.

  103. Yew poor thing. I would have thrown it in the back of the closet for another 4 years or until I contracted a major disease and could knit but not leave the house for 3 weeks!

  104. If I ever get it in my head that I’m going to make this shawl, will you come over and poke me in the eye with a knitting needle? Please.

  105. Math major here. That’s not an infinite number of stitches, but close enough.
    Is it too soon to admit envy? The yarn is cuddle-worthy in color alone. But yeah, at my house it would have been back in the closet.
    Once again, you light the way: Patience – the knitting can be done with or without it.

  106. ….I would never survive such a project. I would be dead before it ever got done. I played around with getting the pattern and then there was mention of…provisonal cast on being picked out and that did it.

  107. Wow, that is really beautiful but yeah, I’m not knitting that. I live vicariously through you. Keep on.

  108. That stitch count is mind-numbing. Your determination is impressive.

  109. BEAUTIFUL shawl. Yes, you could say it’s called the Kansas shawl because it does go on forever (yes, I have driven across Kansas – flat & boring). I think it’s called the Kansas shawl because of the pattern – looks like wheat stalks, and Kansas is famous for their vast amounts of wheat they produce.

  110. Actually, most candy bars in the USA have very little chocolate, so “candy bar” is the correct name. One of the few instances of truth in advertizing.

  111. Having grown up just over the stateline of Kansas, in Missouri, I can tell you that “Summer of Kansas Shawl”, is aptly named and that’s why I ran from the midwest as fast as I could. Like All seasons I have hope that this shawl will pass too.

  112. I saw your beautiful A Scarf of Another Colour on your blog and as a result I ordered some cotton from Wolle’s Creations. As you mentioned, strands aren’t really twisted together, they are just wound together. I want to make a scarf on my rigid heddle. You said you used a 12 dent reed. Did you put 1 strand of the ply or all of the strands that are wound together in each slot and hole? Was the 12 dent the right heddle? Thanks for your help. Betz

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