I started my Starshower cowl way back in February. The intervening months have been neither peaceful nor calm. Frequently I have felt as though I were trying to create something beautiful in the midst of a tempest and instead spending a bit too much time brushing wild strands of yarn out of my face, eyes, and mouth.
The first two sections of Starshower knitted up like a dream, but when it came time to join them into the round, I became… confused. I was tired
most all of the time, and I kept dropping stitches and having to tink back and fix my mistakes. That third section caused me a great deal of angst.
My troubles weren’t the pattern designer’s fault. Hillary Smith Callis has done a really lovely job of detailing instructions for Starshower that are clearly written and easy to follow. I’m currently knitting up another of her excellent patterns – Adama. I adore her design eye and her manner of presenting instructions. Trust me when I say it wasn’t the pattern, it was the knitter!
Well, partially the knitter. I also blame the Wild Kingdom – adorable menaces to counting stitches. Someone is always head-butting me for pets right in the middle of a repeat, and I end up wondering, wait, am I at K3 YO SSK or K1 K2T YO?
The crucial thing I learned to do on Starshower to save time in the long run is to count my stitches at the end of each right side lace row, even after getting the pattern into my fingers to the point that I want to move fast, fast, fast. With as many distractions as I have in my life, I need that extra little bit of meticulousness to keep me on track. And the minute I notice myself starting to drop stitches or get off pattern? STOP KNITTING! Go to sleep, instead.
Once I got into the habit of regularly checking my stitch count and fixing any mistakes while in that row, I was back to speeding along on the project. I brought it along when Allison and I went camping on the Nantahala at the very beginning of August, and by the last morning of the trip, I was weaving in ends and crowing louder than the nearby birds!
I frequently feel as though I’m knitting life lessons and experiences into my projects. My Hitchhiker shawlette is inextricably bound up with memories of my beloved foster dog (now in his forever home!). My Starshower cowl is just as bound up, but what I remember is not the stress or tiredness that accompanied its creation; what I remember is lying in a hammock, seeing glimpses of sunshine and tree leaves through the lace pattern, thinking that this moment is everything I ever wanted. I could live in this hour forever.
And in a way, now I can. Every time I put it on, a part of me is there on the side of the river once more. And I can’t help but smile.