06 July 2011

Dolphin Lace

Some days the gremlins just get in things and muck them up. At least, I have to figure that's what happened to a particular pattern in Victorian Lace Today. This is a gorgeous coffee table lace book. I sometimes refer to it as the lace porn book, because it makes you want to drop everything, even socks, and go knit lace. The samples were modeled and photographed at an English estate, Belton Manor House, as well as some other locations around Cambridge. And the projects are based on Victorian-era knitting patterns. So, it's all beautiful and all good.

My friend Becky sent me an e-mail over the weekend. She was having a little trouble with the Dolphin Lace scarf on pages 106-107; and could I take a look at it and give her some helpful hints? I started by going to the XRX website to look up the errata. Yes, there are errata for Victorian Lace Today. So I downloaded those.

Hmmm. Not as helpful as I'd hoped. In fact, I didn't see anything indicating a problem with the pattern. A quick check on Ravelry was only partially illuminating. As with so much knitting, casting on and trying it out is the way to enlightenment. And the stitch itself does have an odd maneuver, so maybe that was the source of Becky's consternation?

The project is a long lace scarf with a dolphin stitch border on each side and a lace faggoting insertion in the center. The pattern begins with casting on 60 stitches in 3 groups of 20. Chart B, the dolphin lace, is worked on both edges, while Chart A, a faggoting insertion, is worked over the center. Go look at the scarves on Ravelry. Now look at the scarf on page 107. The pictured scarf has three columns of faggoting in the center. The ones made by following the pattern only have one column. So, first error: Chart A does not match the scarf! This is not as much of a disaster as it sounds. Why? Because it is pretty easy to see that the business section of Chart A is a 4-stitch repeat. To get something that looks like the model, you'll need to work the faggoting 4 times across the center 16 stitches, not twice across the center 8 as stated on the chart. If you still want to stick with 20 stitches in the center, cut four stitches off the left and right sides of Chart A.

To review: for the central insertion (Chart A), k2, work the faggoting pattern 4 times, k2.

Okay, but Becky wasn't asking about the faggoting; she was asking about the dolphin stitch. And her timing is serendipitous, because I've just finished a shawl that involved a lot of faggoting and some peculiar graphing. Chart B isn't bad, but there are some ways to adjust it to make it more helpful.

First off, the ten stitches on the right edge of Chart B are constant. The double yarn overs flanked by knit two togethers form wide open columns on each side of a narrow band. This extension sets the edging off from the central panel. So, in addition to the two stitch markers you already have to divide the work into three sets of 20, I recommend placing a stitch marker in each border section to divide the 10 stitch extension from the dolphin lace. Why? Because the dolphin lace stitch count varies on every row! It is easier to follow if you can narrow the problematic area to as few stitches as possible.
That brings you down to just the dolphin lace. I've redrawn the chart and shifted the stitches. Why? Well, one way to keep track of what you are doing is by lining up the k1-p1 on the wrong-side rows with their double yarn overs from the right-side rows. I've done this, and I've added a hazy bull's eye symbol to call attention to them.

I've also split the chart. If you put a marker at the split in Row 1, that marker will follow the split up through Row 7. It all goes bad at Row 8, as the marker will fall in the middle of a knit 2 together. If you try to continue with the marker, the same problem occurs on Rows 10 and 11. And carrying the marker completely falls apart at Row 12. But, you can use a marker for at least a few rows.

And here's a really bizarre bit -- that double yarn over on Row 11 will end up underneath the double yarn over on Row 1 when the new repeat begins.

And just to help you a bit more, here are the stitch counts for this section of the chart.

Start with 10.
Row 1: decrease to 9.
Row 2: increase to 14.
Row 3: increase to 15.
Row 4: decrease to 14.
Row 5: increase to 15.
Row 6: decrease to 14.
Row 7: even at 14.
Row 8: decrease to 12.
Row 9: increase to 13.
Row 10: decrease to 12.
Row 11: increase to 13.
Row 12: decrease to 10.

One last note: The illustrations on page 107 are excellent for showing how to work the peculiar maneuver of Rows 1 and 2. However, the phrase "On next row" has been printed one illustration too low! The top four pictures show you how to work the passing over of stitches on Row 1. The bottom three pictures show you how to cast on five stitches on the return row. Notice that the new stitches do not cover the gap you made in Row 1; rather, they are added between two stitches!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very heartfelt THANK YOU to Jolie for all the time and effort she devoted to my query. (Yes, I am
the Becky who posed the question.)
Your analyses, diagrams, and elucidations are extremely helpful! I had not idea when I ased for some assistance, just how
complicated the process of solving the riddle of the dolphin stitch would be. It makes the riddle of the sphinx look like child's play!