Counting to six.

I am pretty sure that I learnt to count to six quite quickly in life. I can remember counting to five and then using the thumb of my left hand to aid me in my counting to six and then quickly mastered counting to ten. And after the terrible eleven and twelve and being able to remember which way around they came the rest came pretty quickly.

I never thought this would ever be a problem again, how wrong I was.

This morning I was near the end of a shawl. I haven’t counted the stitches but it takes a jolly good while to knit a row. There is a saving grace in this pattern that half way it is obvious whether you are correct in your counting, and on this row I wasn’t correct. At once there was a slight feeling of dread. You see I had been gaily knitting my shawl from nine until one in the morning. I’d occupied my knitting time with a soppy film called Hachi, which had the bonus of Richard Gere, a gorgeous dog and was based on a true story and there were many tears from me, (I’m a real gusher when watching a soppy film) and then I happened to click on another film, again based on a true story Miss Marie Lloyd – Queen of the Music Hall. So I was concerned that I had dropped a stitch whilst gaily joining in the singing of ‘My old man said follow the van.’

And as knitters we know that we should stop knitting before we get tired. But the pattern was easy, the company was great – even if it was only the T.V. and I was enjoying myself. And I had stopped just before the next tricky row. So I was feeling pleased with myself, lots of quality knitting time that I had enjoyed immensely.

Fast forward to this morning when I next picked up my shawl. And started on the tricky row which involves counting to six. At the half way point I realised there was an error, I was one stitch out. And as I say the feeling of dread came over me. Had I made a mistake during the previous evening? So, I counted the sixes, backwards and forwards over the row. I counted them several times, then I switched on my side light next to my chair and counted them a couple of times again. I carefully stretched out that half, a section at a time to see if I had dropped a stitch. I looked again to see where the pattern changed that showed the error, and thought I could identify it where it had, but couldn’t find the error in that area.

I stopped for lunch, deeply frustrated.

I came back from lunch and started the whole process again, the counting of sixes and the looking for a dropped stitch. I considered botching it and actually picking up an extra stitch!, but I am just not that kind of girl. So after another three quarters of an hour I decide to tink back that half row and whilst I am doing it I count the sixes, and as I am tinking back everything is how it should be and they are perfect sixes every single time. Eventually I am at the start of the row. I have found no error in my maths and I cannot see a dropped stitch, the yarn fumes seem heavy at this point, they have me ensnared in their power but if I could have grabbed hold of a yarn sprite at this point, I would have given them a severe telling off.

I pause, I drink tea. I wonder what to do.

I check for any dropped stitches again to no avail and reconsider adding a stitch and botching it, but again I am not that kind of knitter.

And then in the end I decide there is only one thing to do. Before I frog a whole section of lace which will be tricky because I have no life lines in place. Just one stitch can make you this crazy.

I decide to knit the same section again. Now there is no reason for this, I have proved to myself several times that my counting to six is correct, that if I knit it again it will have exactly the same result. But if I don’t do it, if I haven’t followed every possible action to find a solution and when I am picking up the hundreds of stitches from frogging it, it will give my mind plenty of time to jab me with a sharp and pointy stick that maybe I should have tried, just tried to reknit it.

Okay, I breath deeply and knit the row again, counting carefully..

And this time, its absolutely perfect, the row is how it should be.

Why? I have no idea, although I can hear the yarn sprites laughing!

And then I find that I am very lucky indeed to live in such a technological age, because no one in my household will truly understand the lost three hours and the complex ways that I tried to find a solution, apart from my knitting friends, some of which I will never meet, but am lucky to know and share this story with.

And that is what I learnt today, I am truly blessed being able to meet like minded knitters so easily, that and I can’t count to six.

3 thoughts on “Counting to six.

  1. amelia says:

    I knit a lace stole a while ago, and I counted stitches every row!!! It was a lot of work but worth it as I saved myself many a bad mistake by doing this. I know though that a stole doesn't have anywhere near as many stitches as a shawl!!Will we get to see pictures when you're done?


  2. Jenny says:

    Yes, now I remember why I've never tackled a lacy shawl. Good job you are so determined, a lesser person might have pulled it out or even abandoned hope. You must be feeling pretty pleased with yourself.


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