Real time

I’m not so sure I like this “real time” idea. Copping to today actually being Friday means that several deadlines are bearing down on me with far more hot-breathed speed than they were when I was writing about last weekend in NYC. (Breathe. I just need to remember to breathe.) Let’s pretend then, for just a minute that I am not a writer with her soul being sucked out of her (breathe and drink coffee) and that I am actually just a knitter looking to finish a shawl. The shawl (in my special world of time-lapse and denial) has the same deadline as the book. The 30th, since there’s a family thing I’d like to wear it to. This may prove to be impossible, and since I am not under contract to produce a shawl, but am under contract to produce a book, push may come to shove, but until the exact horrible moment of defeat, I’m trying to finish both.

Here’s where I’m at.


I’ve done seven repeats of the bud/flower thingie…and I think that’s enough. (I feel, for inexplicable reasons, that the option is not to add one more, but two, since things are more beautiful in odd numbers.) In six more heartbreakingly long rows I will be finished the main part, and be ready to knit some sort of as yet undetermined part of the shawl that will bridge together the border and the body.

This “bridge” needs to do two things. The border I have chosen requires 42 stitches per repeat, and my current pattern uses only 40 stitches per repeat. (The Oracle warned me about this in an email where he spoke of what would be the “rather intimate” relationship between the two pieces of lace. At the time I brushed it off. I knew that there would be a time when I would have to think my way through that, but I thought I would cross that bridge when I came to it. That would be now, and in this moment I am actually grateful that having checked the two pieces only just now, that there are only two stitches difference between them. I think that large vein on my forehead would explode if I had 14 stitches difference or something. ) The “bridge” piece needs to finish off the motifs that I’m doing now, provide a plain but fitting break between the two (one that hopefully stays in pattern) AND…and this is the big one…adds two stitches, ever so subtly, in each and every repeat. There are 14 repeats, which means adding a grand total of 28 stitches. I believe (breathe, drink coffee) that this is – considering the fluid and forgiving nature of blocked lace, a number that I can add without disrupting anything much. Feel free to quote that back at me when the whole thing ruffles along the border. I shall deserve it.

In any case, the current plan (if you can call the vague inkling that I have “a plan”) to do more of this sort of stuff…


adding in the stitches immediately before beginning the border by making two of the double decreases singles. (Or maybe by increasing into the tops of the double decreases on the next row. That way those little guys would still be pointy. I do love the pointiness.) The only other consideration for this “bridge” is that it needs to not be too big. I have six rows of the body left to go, 50 rows of the border to do, and only a few days (while I write a book – breathe, drink coffee) to do it. Any “bridge” requiring more than 4-10 rows will be summarily rejected in a nod to the limits of human endurance. I’m optimistic…not stupid. (Most days.)


What say you all? Other options? Opinions? Ways out? Perhaps some gently stated concerns? (This would be exactly the moment to say “It will never work because…..” )

120 thoughts on “Real time

  1. No suggestions. I just wanted to say that the shawl looks beautiful so far. (It makes me want to try lace knitting again.)
    Also, I am looking forward to the new book when it comes out.

  2. First of all, that’s absolutely beautiful and I have never knit lace and I’m totally confused by the explanation.
    Having said that, I’ve been in the “oh, yeah, I can do this” position more than once. Reading this, I just have to say, you are so brave, it scares me. Just having to finish the book would be enough to finish me.

  3. I discovered a yarn store. No.. A Yadn Store. I went in, made a big gasp and when teh shopkeeper came, i made a few grunts, unable to speak. Among other things they had this sort of very thin thing meant for laces (mohair/silk blend, for that matter) and I thought that it might be worth a try. Although I cannot knit lace.
    And the pattern mathematics… don’t tell me. Yesterday I need to calm myself with wine and chocolate when I was ripping eight rows of a sweater… you know, the whole arm span. Some million of stitches.. just because I cannot count to seven.
    The shawl looks promising, though.

  4. Ooh, and that shawl is beautiful. When I grow up I want to design shawls. I have these vague plans in the back of my head. I admire your brave “I’ll work it out when I get there” attitude.

  5. Love the lace and I’ve asked for a book on lace knitting for my birthday, so that I can learn too. Am I just joining the ranks of the foolhardy?! Yes, of course you can do it.

  6. Novice lace-knitter here. Why can’t you perform your increases after the lovely points (just as you described) and simply have one or two rows of yo/k2tog as the bridge? Does the bridge have to be any more elaborate than that? It would disguise the increases in a row of symmetrical holes….

  7. You know, for once I’m grateful I have a damned cold because the math in this post barely hurt me.
    Of course, the lack of writhing brain seizures (when presented with vaguely algebraic word problems posted above) may be due to my friend Butter Rum Toddy.

  8. Stephanie – I would finish the rows to make the pointy parts sharp and clear and then do a couple of plain rows – whatever plain is to you – and then do the increases in the row before the start of the border. The eye would not notice the increases at all because there is something else going on there (the pattern change). Not too many rows. Not too much brain agitation. This is going to be a magnificent shawl!

  9. ….got interrupted.
    It’s a lovely shawl, and if the border pattern is somewhat elaborate, maybe it’s ok if the “bridge” is brief.
    Anyhow – best of luck!

  10. Wait, you’re designing that?! Wowsa, good job!
    Rosemary, who’s still knitting on her first shawl and knows nothing about actually designing with lace.

  11. This sounds like a job for grumperina. I would ask her. When doing lace, I still use life lines and bamboo needles and say a novena after every row.

  12. Stephanie! WARN us at the beginning with a post like this! It’s FRIDAY, woman! Don’t dole out the headache-inducing stuff on Friday! Laughie, no thinkie!
    I can offer zilch-o in the way of assistance. If you’d been speaking this aloud, I would nod intently, purse my lips, appear to ponder a moment, and declare, “I like your shirt.”
    (Purty pictures…….)

  13. While I’m nowhere near the level of knitting experience to offer any useful suggestions on the shawl beyond “You go girl!”, I can offer some comiseration on deadlines. I’m finishing my thesis and on a furious sock knitting bender and trying to figure out a way to justify a deadline extension to my committee so I can finish these really cool Aran socks I started. I some how doubt that’s gonna happen… Oh well, back to the library.

  14. I now have a notion of what asthma feels like. Even I am having trouble breathing as I follow your train of thought.
    You’re breaking my spirit here — no. It’s broken. I can’t find it in my heart to ask about the g****y. What I will do, though, is have another piece of Green & Black bittersweet (70%) chocolate for you. No, no — it’s the least I can do. Except maybe convert fast to Catholicism and start a novena for you — that would even leave a spare day. Any Notre Dame knitters read this?

  15. What? You’re asking me for advice?? Didn’t you know that yesterday I converted a Mountain Peaks Shawl into a Molehill Peakette Shawlette and gave it to my Neatnik as a stuffed animal garment? And you’re asking me for advice??

  16. I’m helpless at this, so all I can do is offer encouragement and assure you that I have no doubts whatsoever that it will work out.

  17. Just to mix things up, I’ll send writing vibes. I’m quite positive you’re on firm ground where the shawl is concerned.

  18. Just remember: you love challenges. πŸ˜‰
    It is beautiful, and beautiful it shall remain. And I think your plan can work. The lace is loose enough that I’ll bet the increases can ‘vanish’ into it without a whole lot of drama; and not the type where you have to sit with the pattern perched on your knee howling, “No! Don’t talk to me right now! I’M COUNTING!!!!!”
    Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I also think that it is perfectly reasonable to expect that I can work full time, keep the Den white-glove-test ready AND knit four more sweaters before Thanksgiving. While also taking care of all the bill-paying, cookin’, cleanin’ and shoppin’. Oh. And the planning and execution of a birthday party for which there is, I swear I’m not lying, a guestlist of almost 100 people.
    After which I’m convinced I still have plenty of time to knit all the Christmas presents I haven’t started yet because I have plenty of time.
    Sooooo…my reality may not be the best one to rely upon. πŸ˜‰

  19. The shawl is beautiful.
    Only the book is under deadline; nothing bad will happen if you don’t have a new, heirloom-quality lace shawl for the event on the 30th.
    I don’t knit lace, but I can’t stop myself from buying lace-weight yarn. I use it as scale-model worsted, and make tiny doll clothes in non-lace patterns.
    Relax, have a nice cup of something soothing, and remember to be happy.

  20. I’ve been zoned out all week–going to a country where I know that a coup is taking place (Thailand) had me a mite concerned. Now it seems that the coup is more a throw back to San Francisco love-ins in the sixties, so my mind was beginning to function again. Then you came along with all that math and I’m zoned again. There is a reason that I had to take Algebra for Dummies when I was an undergraduate. I think I’ll stick to my feathers and fans scarves which require me only to count to 38. Good luck, it’s gorgeous!

  21. Bless you! I think one of the things I love most about your blogs is that while most of the supposedly “normal” people in the world would find your delusions concerning, us knitting folk sit back and think “she can do it…” while figuring out how to finish the sweater they are currently working on to give as a birthday present in two days and still have half a front and two sleeves to go (breathe, forget the coffee-break out the vodka!)Good Luck on the deadlines!!

  22. Woman, I don’t think the coffee is doing you any good. Time to switch to TEA, herbal if possible. The drug in question seems to be effecting your ability to set rational deadlines for yourself.
    The shawl will be equally as beautiful AFTER the book is done. Wear Icarus to the event, and knit socks for your “down” time.

  23. We need the pattern for that holey leafy thing in the body of the shawl just as soon as you’re recovered from deadlines. I have a need to knit that leafy thingy. Perhaps its the lack of spinach availability…

  24. I agree with Beverly. (Ooooh that shawl is beautiful.) According to EZ’s Pi Shawl recipe, as long as the proportions stay right, you can stick the increases all in one row or spread them out over quite a range and lace will handle it. Four rows should be ample room to insert a measly 28 stitches. As long as they are evenly placed, they’ll be a pattern all by themselves.

  25. Of course it will work. Your plan is perfect. You’re going to add 28 stitches over 560, and you think this is going to ruffle anything? Man, that book thing is messing with your head.

  26. I did a piece in Rose Trellis, 20 st+2/repeat, and my edging came out a tad ruffly. 40 stitches with a two-stitch difference, that, I think, would work a lot better.

  27. I might try some plain mesh like stuff (YO, K2tog on one half and SSK, YO on the other half – just to keep the thing symmetrical) – its simple, shouldn’t distract from your fancier bits, shouldn’t make you that much crazier and you’ll be able to add your extra increases easily and they shouldn’t show much. I’m with you that adding just 28 extra stitches should easily block out without ruffling. Go For It!

  28. Whenever you are having the doubting thoughts that you are the Yarn Harlot. Just repeat that to yourself, I am the yarn harlot, I leap tall buildings with a single bound, I go on multi-city book tours, I could draw knitters to a packing plant if I were speaking there. I have all the yarn.
    By the way, I found that wooden needle I lost. It wasn’t in the couch where you advised me to look but in the car on the driver’s side crevice, which is fate’s other favorite place, beside the couch, to hide things.
    Good luck with all the projects.

  29. Right now is much too early for IT.
    Wear Icarus to the party.
    *Breathe. Drink something calming (I was going to suggest Screech, but that might not be conducive to good bridge planning or good writing).
    Wednesday, you were talking about compartmentalizing. So do that. Set a timer. 1/2 an hour on the book, 1/2 an hour figuring the math on the border. It’s only gonna take 10 minutes to do the math? So knit til the timer goes off. Repeat. If either takes more than 1/2 an hour? Stop when the timer goes off and switch to the other project. *
    Repeat from * to * (So sue me, I don’t read charts very well)

  30. I canNOT believe that you won’t figure this out in such a way as to make the rest of us feel wholly inadequate.
    That being said, do you really miss Christmas IT so much that you feel compelled to add a Deadline IT?

  31. I think that the “this sort of stuff” you refer to would be the perfect filler. And you definitely need to finish off all of the motifs. What about making one of those little dots that make up the “this sort of stuff” per motif two stitches bigger? That would increase the stitches “in pattern”. Your plan would probably work too, but this would move the increases away from the border a bit.

  32. Sorry all that math stuff and number tinking went in one eyeball and out the other and my pea-brain is still trying to figure out if it actually saw anything go by.
    Good luck with the deadlines. Hope you make them.

  33. Keep the pointiness, however you proceed. The eye likes for pointiness to keep pointing and its inherent symmetry calms the nerves. Not that you need your nerves calmed . . .
    May blessings outweigh all else as you careen towards the 30th,

  34. Book…shawl…family…go, Steph, go!
    That shawl is looking gorgeous! I don’t think the 2 stitches in every 40 stitch repeat will show up much or that they’re enough to make your border ruffle. Plus, lace blocking’s pretty forgiving. (You have permission to whack me on the head with a #15, if you get a ruffle. No fair going up in needles sizes to ensure whacking priviledges.)

  35. How about if you make a leetttlllle swatch of a couple of pointy bits and try out the various and assorted ideas swirling around in your brain? Might be a better use of time than rrriiippppping out huge bridges you don’t like. The shawl is amazing and so beautiful. No matter what you decide, it will always be so!
    I saw book4 on Amazon for pre-order, so of course I did. So exciting!
    As an aside, when on deadline, I find eating odd things (a banana, popcorn and ice cream for dinner last night), standing on furniture (I especially like the coffe table) and looking at the room from a new perspective, and succumbing to the overwhelming urge to read a book (I don’t know why this happens) actually helps me. Some ideas in case the coffee and breathing stop helping.

  36. I recognize myself so much in this post. When I had a craft business way back when (making hand rolled silk flowers, if you must know), I had to do *inventory*, a four-letter word if there ever was one. Inventory about 58 different colors of silk fabric which had been cut into irregular shapes. Like, HOW???? I needed to know the yardage that had been used in making the flowers during the previous calendar year in order to do *income taxes*, another four-letter word. TAXES!!! I ask you!!! It drove me straight round the twist every single year. And of course, I’d delay doing said inventory every time until the April 15 tax deadline breathed down my neck with the fires of h*ll. Even then, I’d try to avoid it. I, the Queen of Messiness (just ask those who know), would *clean house*, even cleaning the *toilets* rather than do that d*mned inventory.
    So, you were asking about denial and procrastination?? Not a single rational answer here, nope, not one. I can only say the best of British luck. And say a prayer for you. You need more assistance than I can offer.

  37. I am not even worthy to comment on how you should proceed with something of such great beauty, so I will simply say, this is absolutely gorgeous and it’s going to be fabulous no matter what you do. I really enjoyed pouring over the pictures.
    Sometimes, simple white yarn can be so beautiful and refreshing. I think I’m off to cast on some white socks.

  38. The shawl looks fantastic. I’m in the second part of the border for my first lace shawl, and tried (foolishly) to work on it while watching CSI last night. Even with my Ph.D. in mathematics, I managed to miscount…twice…
    And in response to your claim that Fiber Fests and Star Trek Conventions are for the least cool among us, let me add “Math Conferences.” There is an annual one called “MathFest!” Doesn’t that sound like fun? There is, incidentally, a knitting circle at MathFest!. The lowest of the low?

  39. Stephanie, the lace is lovely. I’ve knit lace but am nowhere near competent to offer *designing* advice! That said, I would increase after a plain bridge as a previous post suggested — the increases would be hidden in the edge going into your border.
    You must stop sleeping now, however, if you want to finish both book and lace. How about wearing the beautiful Icarus instead? Or asking your many readers if they have a white lace thingy you can borrow…I’m sure they’d be thrilled to loan it to you!

  40. I saw something up there about making the increases part of the pattern… I like that–a few rows of plain knitting, a row of y/o increase lace work, a few more rows of plain knitting… it could make a very nice bridge. (Or I could be delusional from lack of sleep and from watching my best friend knit backwards–you heard me–BACKWARDS–from right to left, throwing the yarn, and working through the back loop…it’s not that what she’s doing is WRONG…it’s that it’s HARDER THAN REGULAR KNITTING…) Anyway, I think we just taxed my yarn ingenuity today…I’ll watch other people knit now…

  41. Dude, you can do this – keep the pointiness – you need the pointiness. Then do a YO, k1, YO right above the point. It will give a nice flare out, and you will have your edging repeats centred beautifully within the main body repeats.
    I know you can do this – the book and the event may seem equally important, but we know what the most important thing is.

  42. Just gorgeous lace! It will turn out no matter what – but let the artificial deadline go!
    The BOOK – that’s the important thing…

  43. I’m going to attempt to be a voice of practical while you breathe and drink coffee. Here are my points:
    1.The shawl looks stunning so far.
    2. The book is a real deadline
    3. The shawl deadline is a self-imposed deadline.
    4. You are inventing a ‘bridge’ which takes thought, mulling it over time, creativity and perhaps swatching.
    My recommendation is take the time you need to do item 4 and do the shawl justice even if it means missing deadline 3. Try some ideas out in a swatch and don’t settle for something just to make your #3 deadline. I happen to know you have a beauiful lotus blossom shawl in a white that you can wear to your shingding – I saw it on your blog last year.
    Good luck.

  44. All I can say about the shawl and asking for advice, is that I’m barely worthy to view such a breathtaking thing, let along give advice about it.
    But I do have a question. Is this when knitting becomes a chore rather than an enjoyable endeavor? I don’t know if I want that. Either now, or in the wee hours of Christmas morning. I’m really not worthy…..

  45. This is probably a stupid suggestion but couldn’t you “remove” 2 stiches from the pattern border you’ve chosen, or maybe at least one, without complete destruction of the border pattern?!?
    Wish you best success (breath – eat chocolate)

  46. WOW! That shawl is beautiful…compliments your skills. After remembering you did the Icarus also not so long ago and fighting a book-writing deadline, I came to wonder – How Many Hours per Day Does That Woman Knit?! As much as I love to knit, I’m lucky if I can find 30 minutes here and there. Actually, most of my knitting happens as we travel to and fro (hubby driving and kids entertained otherwise) and in church (back row, of course).
    You are THE inspiration!

  47. Oh, the dual deadlines. Work vs knitting deadlines is a tight and dangerous race and I say… GO FOR IT! There’s nothing like a little exhilaration to get the needles (and pen) work faster πŸ™‚

  48. thinking a little outside the box here — how about 13 repeats of the border x 42 stitches = 546, which is 14 less… or 43 x 13 = 559 — bingo?

  49. In our family, we BURN bridges when we come to them.
    If you add those 2 stitches per repeat when the time comes, the border will have a nice little flare to it. This could be a good thing, a desgn feature, a desired effect!

  50. Sadly, I’ve nothing to offer you in terms of pattern, but I do agree about the pointiness. I love the pointiness. It’s going to be beautiful – that much I can tell already.

  51. Knit one row around during which you make the necessary increases strategically placed to get your count. It won’t show and only you (and people who bother to read your comments after I post this) will know.

  52. I hardly understand half of that 40 tihng 42 thing but I say………
    ………..umm…………….Did you knit a. swatch…………………
    ……………………sounds close………..go for it…………..
    ……..good luck with that ……………………..and the other thing too.
    I’m off to the curling club, yup you herd right., curling.

  53. It seems to me there is something a little conflicted about a publisher who, a month before an author has a manuscript due, sends said author on a strenuous tour, thereby making it almost impossible for her to meet her deadline. That being said, have you asked these people if they genuinely expect that manuscript on 1 October? I know you’ll try to make it even if the answer is “no,” but it might take some of the craziness out of it if you could verify that you have a small amount of leeway.

  54. I really didn’t understand all that. But then, my brain is slightly fried due to a huge learning curve that I am attempting to surmount at work.
    It sounds to me like you have the situation under control and I have faith in your ability to pull this shawl all together… and write a book… and breathe.

  55. Mano beat me to it, almost word for word, but the idea remains; instead of adding a (bridge) pattern, why not modify/change the border one? Note: if you are in love with it, ignore previous.
    oh, and yes, Knitty City, at W. 79th, is in fact, “uptown”. 30’s to 50’s are “midtown”. So, if you are at Knitty city, and want to go to SAKS, around 50th and 5th, you go downtown and crosstown (to the east side) and end up midtown!

  56. My advice… Mim and/or Grumperina. Trust me, you don’t want me giving advice on anything that has to do with math. I’ll send good multi-tasking vibest your way though.

  57. i have no suggestions. i’m still on socks. just plain socks. my next adventure is argyle, because I’m kind of obsessed with it a little bit. And I want to make my roommate the argyle socks with the skull and crossbones for christmas. so i’d better get on that.
    anyway props on your shawl, i have no idea how that lace business works. i think – correct me if i’m wrong here – that it means that you should come to kansas and show me? yeah….i think that must be it.
    ha. anyway good luck with your deadlines!
    signed, a chronic procrastinator

  58. I would say that you should not be above humbly asking those muses of lace where to go from there and as they figure it out, work on the book and then pay them in chocolates and booze once they offer their solutions.

  59. I’m almost afraid to leave a comment, because I don’t want to take away from any of the precious little time you have for the book or the shawl. (Obviously not frightened enough to stop me…sorry.) The shawl is gorgeous! I know the book will also be good. I’ve always had to choose when coming up against two deadlines. And due to circumstances, the one involving money and/or people’s major expectations has usually won. Do you still have the beautiful coppery shawl (made of the non-natural fibers)? Or is it not appropriate for the event?
    Your plan for keeping the pointiness and adding in the two stitches to have the 42 you need sounds mathematically sound. I suggest you add a little(or a lot) of rum to the coffee with some chocolate, it will make the words for the book come more easily (let your editor work out whatever little bits of nonsense may result) and knit when you can.
    I will send many good vibes your way. And I am just a bit sorry this is such a long post.

  60. 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.
    If this is an incredibly stupid suggestion, then I emphatically apologize for wasting valuable knitting/writing time, and refer you to the above disclaimer. πŸ™‚ Whatever happens, know that the shawl is quite lovely, and I am (as always) in awe of your talent. I’ll have a glass of port in your honor, because I know you don’t want to have port anywhere near all that lovely creamy white…

  61. Not much to add that hasn’t already been suggested about a short plain bridge and using yarnovers in the last row. What would happen if you used smaller needles for the border?

  62. I have good vibes for the shawl.Its going to be a wonderful work of art.Keep going , you’ll make it.
    I am anxious to get the book.I look for new ones all the time.Thank you for spending alot of your life writing your great books for all us knitters………Your great Steph

  63. ok, i add my exclamations to the others about the beautiful shawl, and i agree with those who suggested keeping the bridge simple, very simple. as for the other deadline – that book thingie – i impart the wise words of my husband who loves to remind me of this when i get all freaky about my thesis: “done is better.” and he’s a writer/editor if that puts it in context for you at all! i’m currently working on my zen attitude since i got to work this morning (it’s supposed to be Friday, yes?!?) and had to turn to chocolate cake and ice cream before 9am. i’ve had my knitting in my lap ever since.
    you will be fabulous, you really will.

  64. Brave woman, I commend thee. I have a Pi shawl in the time-out chair for being shawly (like they are wont to do, you’ll agree). That said, you know that the only way to find out if your bridgey thing works is to try it. The thing I hate about lace is that it’s never going to look “right” until it’s blocked, even though the blocking part IS magical. So go on and plow right through it so you can get to the border more quickly (clever, clever to choose a short 6-10 row bridge). We’ll be right here.

  65. Sorry, no suggestions. You lost me waaaaay back at the bridge and the border, and having to figure out the math to make it all work.
    The solution might be to just wear that beautiful Icarus shawl instead.

  66. Love the lace. It’s gooooorgeous. But. Walk away from the thing. Wear the Icarus, a snowdrop, what about birches? I love you more. Don’t look at me that way, either. I’d rather have the fun Harlot blogs where she holds the sock up like Wonderwoman does her bracelet and fends off worldly unrest, than this…subdued, bothered, struggling author with a white shawl that’s sucked the life out of her. Call in the Screech. Have a good long pull on it and knit on the sock to take the edge off. Then go write. In a week (or so) you can scoff at it all and address the shawl as the queen you are. Problems will nearly solve themselves as you get a little sleep, accomplish something and then start something new. Note to publisher – we can wait for bookbookbookbookbook. Let the poor woman be for a bit after this one.
    Breathe – don’t forget the exhale part.

  67. ok. so it’s been pointed out to me that I’m oh, a month too early on the extra hour thing, thanks to a radio DJ I listened to yesterday who was also a month too early on the extra hour thing. oops.
    The only thing I can tell you then is make sure the red wine is kept far away from the shawl in progress.

  68. Stephanie. Dear. Sweetie. You’re insane. You realize trying to get this shawl done by the same time you get the book done is nuts, right? When I read that’s what you were trying to do, I laughed out loud. Of course, I have every confidence that you can do it. If anyone can do it, you can.
    Here’s a helpful hint. Drinking all that coffee, you have to get up to go to the bathroom a lot, right? That’s a lot of time you could be knitting or writing. Now, chocolate has caffeine. (You just have to make sure your hands are clean before you go back to that white yarn. Maybe appoint someone to pop chocolate in your mouth at given intervals…)

  69. Knit socks and please finish the book. It would make a lovely Christmas gift for us all to order or get as a gift. The shropshire shawl will wait on you — the book won’t. After reading about this beautiful shawl, I for one have no desire to start knitting lace . Just reading about the trials of it gave me a headache. Guess i’m stuck knitting relaxing things .Good luck –it is fantastic what you do.

  70. I find that knitting something that takes thought and effort is a good way for writer’s block to dissolve: it gets you away from it so you can go back to it. Doing both right now makes perfect sense to me. And that shawl is absolutely glorious, Stephanie. The book will be, too.

  71. Are you going out with your boots on? or as we say in the cowboy world, “Are you gonna get up or are you just gunna lay there and bleed?”
    Honey, I don’t see you as the bleeding type. You’ll finish both.

  72. 2 suggestions, off the top of my head.
    I’d convert the first and last of the double decreases(slip, k2tog, psso) in the first row of your edging repeat pattern (from GOL) to SSk. That’ll get you 2 extra stitches per repeat. It shouldn’t cause much disturbance to the inverted pyramid of 3-stitch diamonds. And keeping those changes near to the ends of the repeat, where other stuff is going on anyway, should be very smooth.
    The other thing to try is to work 2 stitches into 2 overs in the last round of the Kinsel chart, in locations that won’t visually upset the little 3-stitch wide diamonds, so you’re probably looking at the ends of the repeat again.
    In any case, adding 2 stitches per repeat will not cause ruffling.
    I look forward to seeing pictures of the solution.

  73. My advice: Put down the lace. Step away from the lace for a minute and pick up the sock. Knit like crazy on the sock, or something sock-like which you can do mindlessly while your subconscious mulls over the last details for the book (and probably the lace too). The knitting is important, but the book supports the knitting. Give yourself a break deal with the book and then the lace. You’ll get both done and you’ll be mentally doing the lace while doing the soothing knitting. I recognize your pattern. I used to do this too. I remember when I finished university, staying up three nights in a row writing the last three term papers, going to a dinner with my class and staying up to watch the dawn, dashing home, finishing the last paper and then chopping down a huge tree with my sister in law before rushing off to hand in the last paper. That’s nuts. Can’t even hardly understand why I did it except to prove that I could avoid and achieve at the same time. God knows where my kid and my family featured in all of that. It works until one day, maybe somewhere in your forties, you wear out and relax.

  74. I’ve got to agree with Sandra. Keep your pointiness and do a YO K1 YO but do it on the first bridging row. This will extend the point out onto the bridge and add the extra two stitches. Also, it’ll make the bridge feel like it was ment to be. Love it and admire your craziness for trying to takle this instead of book. It’s exactly what I’d do.
    Good luck!

  75. Yes, I have certainly been in your position and I admit to the complete and total overwhelmingness of it all. Those deadlines can be murder. Somehow, some way, I have always got things finished in time. But, there is always the time right before that I feel like giving up. The only thing I can do is “chunk” it. I make a list of things I need to do then divide them into little chunks. I’ll do a chunk, then I’ll do something else. Somehow, this works for me. And, I actually surprised myself by the amount I could get done this way. Good luck to you! I can’t wait to see the finished book!

  76. clueless about lace but i do want to say thank you for your efforts writing another book for all of us. i wish it wasn’t so stressful for you. especially since i for one will be reading, no doubt, when needing to relieve stress. please don’t fret. it’ll be fine, it’ll work out. it always does.

    After the final row of current design Knit or Purl (whichever fits in the scheme of things)the next row decreasing half the total number of stiches needed to be decreased-spaced evenly across the row. Next row knit or purl (again whichever is appropriate) 2 together, alternated with a yarn over across the row. Next row k or p . The final row k or p decreasing the other half of the stitches. Then either do one more row k or p and start your border, or just start your border at this point.
    For reference look at the transition row on the highland triangle shawl in Oberle’s book that comes after the triangle is done before the lace border is started.
    What size needles are you using?

  78. You’re lucky that you’re petite. I’d have to add at least two more pattern repeats, more likely four to cover my hiney, which is where I like my shawls to fall. You are, however, the Harlot, and I believe that it is within your power to achieve completion of both the book and the shawl. You may have to forego sleeping, eating, bathing, brushing teeth, laundry, feeding the cat. . . I’m just saying, every once in awhile, it’s okay to let yourself off the hook. Your Icarus is beautiful. . . Why don’t you wear that?

  79. Unfortunately, my brain has been hiding under the couch ever since I broke my ankle and found out I can’t have any painkillers for it.
    On the other hand, if there is anyone who can handle a dilemma of this type, it’s you. And besides, you know what they say about blocking. πŸ˜‰

  80. The shawl is beautiful, but a question….
    Where does the pattern for this shawl come from ?

  81. Not a lace knitter, but yah, you’ve definitely gotta go for the pointiness. However you do it. πŸ˜‰
    Deadlines? The 30th? Geesh, that’s 8 whole days. More than a week! I’m presuming here you can actually contact them at the very last moment *on* the 30th, to say yes, I’m done, here it is, before you hand the sucker over and collapse while frothing at the mouth. Or maybe you get to have the entire 30th to work on the book and don’t have to present it until the 1st? ::she says hopefully:: Either way – there is no panicking until there’s *less* than a week left! More like when it’s 24 hours beforehand; *then* you can panic. Meanwhile…loads of time. More than a week!
    (Ok, the 30th is a Saturday – what are these people doing, working on a weekend anyway? I’d wait and slide it under the door – or whatever – one minute before business hours start on Monday the 2nd. Like they’re really gonna be chomping at the bit to start copy-editing on a weekend? Do publishers actually *work* 24/7??)

  82. I approach my knitting the same way I approach my hair–“It’s just hair. It will grow back.” So, with that in mind, my suggestion is to give the bridgey thing a try, see how it transitions to the border and, if it doesn’t work as planned (and here’s the hard part…brace yourself), rip it out and try something else. Heresy? Perhaps. And of course, if I’m being honest, I would say that I’d rather rip out all my hair that even one row of knitting. Which is why a hefty supply of mead and dark chocolate is a must for any knitting in my world. They make the ripping out slightly less painful.
    On a more practical note, it has been pointed out that you do have the lovely Icarus, which is so wonderfully fall-colored and which, I’m sure, would be perfect for you family get-together. Perhaps the book should take priority?
    But who am I to talk of priority? I just bought the most lovely bamboo to knit a tango skirt (which I need like another hole in my head) instead of sending that hard-earned cash to the durned credit card company.
    Good luck. I know that both the book and the shawl will be smashing.

  83. You may remember me! I am the one who finishes her Christmas knitting about mid-summer. I am a bit behind this year but not much more left to do.
    I have no suggestions to give you. The shawl is lovely. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with your decisions, deadlines, and the like … you could always do a bit of “honking”. Just finished reading yesterdays blog and it was hilarious. Honk! Honk! Honk! It was nice to laugh! Thanks for lifting my spirits. Right now I am facing breast cancer surgery and I really needed a good laugh … and knew I would find it on your blog. Can’t wait for your new book. I have read your other books several times now. Time for something new to read!

  84. Well, keep the points because they look wonderful. I kind of like the short transition idea with the increases in the last row before the border begins.
    However, don’t pressure yourself so much! I have to agree, the book is the MOST important, and after all, your family knows your knitting is fabulous and it’s not like you don’t have something else just as wonderful to wear.
    Stress is not good for the SOUL, and you need to be calm and enjoy the day you are in ….. Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday, and Today all is well.

  85. I’m on the team voting for you to wear Icarus and finish the book.
    What’s wrong with a ruffly border?
    Breathe. Mountain Dew has more caffine than coffee.

  86. My hair hurts.
    I’d be writing the book because nobody pays me (alas) to knit.
    But then what’s money when you have a gorgeous thing caressing your shoulders?
    Hey, I helped a lot, didn’t I????

  87. The shawl will be beautiful. You didn’t say how many leaf tips are along the outer edge. If you can split the 28 stitches between the leaf tips, you should be very happy with the increases. You won’t have ruffles. Be brave.

  88. That shawl is absolutely achingly beautiful Stephanie but, my god, girl…come back to reality! A book deadline is a book deadline for goodness sakes! You can always finish the shawl afterwards (even if you do have an event you want to wear it to)! I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I may be jealous of the growing size of your shawl, as I’ve just suffered 3 wks. of emergency surgery and forced relaxation without the focus required to knit, and the weather’s getting colder and my fall jacket has only (now) 16″ of the back on the needles. At least this week my focus and energy returned so I’m knitting away in hopes of finishing it before it actually snows! But you must finish your book–you know we’re all waiting for it–and then the shawl will have your undivided attention and you can solve its little problems. Love ya!

  89. hmmm, Margaret put this all in perspective. I say, let’s send a little love her way and sit back and watch what our dear Harlot whall accomplish…

  90. ummm – I’d really like to see the book…and you in Granby. But my daughter keeps telling me it’s not all about me all the time! Silly girl.

  91. Whenever I am in doubt and need a narrow a transition panel between two lace motifs, I do one row of YO, K2tog and then I do one repeat of Mrs. Monatgue’s lace pattern (which seems to compliment everything), then another row of YO, K2tog, incorporating any stitch-count changes into THAT row then the border.
    The end result os a row of: <><><><><><><><>
    between motifs.
    Or, I just do a few rows of faggoting between mathematically inconsistent motifs, adding/deleting stitches as needed within the faggoting until I have the correct number of stitches.
    Either method would allow you to keep the points, which MUST stay.
    However, don’t hasten the completion of this shawl and then regret your pattern choice later because you rished. Finish the BOOKBOOKBOOKBOOK. You can always wear Icarus.
    Hugs, and good luck, I was raised catholic and I would say a novena for ya if I could still remember how! Who’s the saint for lace? Anybody?

  92. Sweetie, you are talking about adding 2 stitches for every 40 stitches. In lace. This is not a problem. No one would know.
    If I was doing this, I’d probably toss in a couple of plain rows, then the old stand by K2Tog, YO and make 2 double YOs per motif and make those 2 stitches on the way back. Or for each motif just K, YO, K, YO instead of K2Tog, YO in the middle of the motif. And then a couple of more rows of plain. If the plain offends you, then slap the YOs in before and after a small motif centered nicely.
    I bet you are focusing on this to get your brain to stop thinking about the book.
    Dez, as for a patron saint of lace – there are actually several, you have your choice, try St. Crispin or St. John Regis on the grounds that the others are WAY more famous for other things. Sadly there is no patron saint of regular old knitting, because there are times when a good novena would help me out!
    And Margaret, we’ll be thinking about you.
    (knitting my way through Robin Hansen’s mittens to reduce the stash…..)

  93. You can do it. Chug along like the “Little Engine That Could” with coffee and chocolate for fuel. Can’t wait to read the new book.

  94. So I just had a gander and the STR Harlotty colorway while I was at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Very nice and you should know that there wasn’t a ton left either which is a good thing. I have to say though that I didn’t pick up any because the color wasn’t speaking to me at the moment, Sundrops and Lucy were so I went with those instead. But I will keep it in mind for another day. Have a good weekend!!!

  95. It seems to me that you thrive on insane deadlines. Look at the Knitting Olympics β€” in essence a self-imposed deadline made up especially for the occasion. I have no doubt that the shawl will be finished, blocked and beautiful (and even dry) in time for its planned debut.
    You could probably get an extension on the book if you needed it, but what would be the fun in that?

  96. Oh my word. First of all, I’m in awe of anyone who juggles as much as you do. It’s amazing to me that you even string together coherent sentences on a regular basis. That said, don’t sweat the shawl, it’ll be beautiful as always. Make stronger coffee (stronger as in, take the curl OUT of your hair) and focus on the book. We’re all rooting for you!!

  97. Alternating creative work is a great way to solve the dilemnas the always crop up. It’s something of a relief. Suggestion: Keep the pointyness, definitely, then do about 4 or 5 rows of stockinette, then one row of yo,k2 tog, then 4 or 5 rows of stockinette with the increases hidden in it. Emily and Dez had great suggestions too. P.S. To Margaret in Nova Scotia…We will all be sending good thoughts your way.

  98. I wish I had a suggestion, but I don’t. I’m sure that the Power of the Yarn will show you The Way. πŸ™‚ I’m convinced that knitting is totally a Jedi thing.
    It’s quite lovely, though. Good luck. πŸ™‚

  99. The lace is beautiful! I can’t wait to see it completed. But I’d rather see you make your book deadline and you still be relatively sane!
    As for the increases, I agree with the others – there are a couple of possibilities and lace is pretty forgiving of 2 stitches. The YO, K1, YO above the center of the pattern sounds the simplest. Don’t rush the shawl – put it down and give it time to tell you what it needs. Knit the sock, finish the book-book-book and then come back to the shawl.

  100. As a lace novice, I am far too scared of your question to even look it straight in the eye. I’m going to have to put a border on some lace soon, and I’m pretty sure I’ll need to acquire some anti-anxiety meds before I can.
    As a professional writer/editor/web monkey, can I please take the essay test instead? Ask writing questions, darn it. Writing is easy. Lace is scary. And I think it may want to kill me.

  101. Please read K’s post over again, and relax! I copied it into mine for you. Ü
    Of course it will work. Your plan is perfect. You’re going to add 28 stitches over 560, and you think this is going to ruffle anything? Man, that book thing is messing with your head.
    Posted by: k at September 22, 2006 02:14 PM

  102. Wow, I’m impressed. The shawl is beautiful and way beyond anything that I would willing believe that I could do unless I was under some serious medications . . . I already have many projects that are in the “gee I must have been on drugs when I bought this” bin. Anyway, I would think that given that you want to stay “on point” that adding them after would be the ideal thing to do and wouldn’t blocking take care of any ruffle. I am looking forward to seeing the final thing.
    To be honest, any pattern that would call for 50 rows of border would have sent me screaming into the night!

  103. it’s more of a question. i’m working on a poncho and i’ve come to the finishing . i sewed the shoulder seams together. now it states that with the right sides facing and starting at left shoulder pick up and knit 24 stitches around front neck thats including 12 stitches that on the holder and 20 from the back. i know i pick up 6 stitches on both sides of the 12 but where do i pick it up from and how

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