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April 2, 2009

Jared Flood is either a sadist or a genius; I think he is quite possibly both.  I am completely convinced that the Hemlock Ring Blanket is brilliantly engineered to drive knitters everywhere entirely mad.  (I am not paranoid.  I don’t know what you’re talking about.)  I know Jared didn’t write the original pattern (it’s based on a doily pattern from the ’40s), but I think the real genius of the evil plot lies in re-publishing an old pattern that (presumably) countless knitters before have successfully completed – being implicitly compared with generations of superior knitters while weeping and tearing my hair out at midnight really does a number on my sanity.

The pattern seems simple, achievable, perhaps a good first lace project for the relative beginner.  Every fifth round is a predictable series of yarn overs and decreases which gradually increase the blanket’s size, separated by four rounds of plain, good ol’ fashioned stockinette.  Easy, right?  Ha.

I made a Hemlock Ring for my grandma’s 75th birthday last year, and while the actual pattern is simple to follow, the ever-increasing sequences of yarn overs and decreases made my life a living nightmare, as (inevitably) I would miss one, and not notice until 5 gigantic rows later – because of the way the pattern is constructed, a single mistake can throw off the whole piece.  I ripped out hours upon hours of knitting many, many times, all because I (apparently) don’t know how to count.  Sanity: zero.  Hemlock Ring: 5,467.

The end result was so charming, however, that I somehow forgot about the weeping, the loss of all will to go on.  (I hear this is also common to childbirth.)  I thought I could certainly tackle the project again, this time as a gift for my sister.  “Of course,” I thought, “I’ll just double-count every single stitch on the increase rows, to make SURE there are no mistakes.  Should be simple!”  Hubris.  I knew I should have studied Greek mythology.

Please excuse me – I have 2 hours of knitting to tear out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2009 12:26 pm

    Might I suggest placing marker between every repeat. I didn’t actually do this, but I’ve been told it makes it much easier to tell if you’ve made a mistake. Double counting sections is much easier than double counting whole rows once the stitches start to number over 200.

    • The Little Woman permalink
      April 6, 2009 12:32 pm

      I should definitely do this. And I will, once the blanket comes out of time out. Right now, it’s thinking about what it’s done. I’m hoping it’ll show some remorse soon.

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