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How Not to Knit Lace

Or “How to Not Knit Lace”. There are three primary ingredients required for your failure to successfully knit lace:

  1. Some lace knitting you’d like to knit: ideally, a lacey cardigan such as Girl Friday.
  2. Some Sambucca.
  3. A few episodes of Spongebob Squarepants.

Time required: 1-1.5 hours.
Level of difficulty: moderate.
Serves: 1.

Now, I should warn you, there’s some groundwork to be done first. You need to be fairly well along in the lacey pattern. If you’ve spent days deliberating over whether or not you’d wear lace (because you don’t wear it that often, but maybe that’s because you don’t have any, y’know?), then you’re golden. Having finally plunged into the project, you’ll find the days (or better yet, weeks) you spent agonising over it have built your expectations into a frenzy, and the success of not knitting depends heavily on that. Having committed, swatched, bugged everyone in listening distance, and cast on, work the rib with smug self-congratulation for about four inches. Now you’re ready to start.

Oops, not quite. You need to pour yourself a glass or two of sparkling white. Why not? You’ve earned it! All that indecision off your shoulders: phew! Ah,delicious. No, leave the bottle.

Okay, now you’re ready. Pour a single shot of Sambucca to keep you company while you watch Spongebob Squarepants. You’ve heard so much about it and the theme song kicks arse: this is going to be great. Grab that knitting. Have a little sip of the Sambucca.

Work the first row of the lace chart. You might find there’s a couple of stitches left over. No big deal. You probably cast on one too many. Amazing the way you were able to work four inches of rib over the wrong number of stitches, but okay! Work back across the wrong side. Some of those knits and purls are probably meant to line up a bit better than they do. You’ll get ’em on the way back, it’ll be fine. Have a little more Sambucca.

Hold the knitting for a while, as you watch Spongebob. Who drank that Sambucca? Better top up the glass. Oh yes, we were supposed to fix up those knits and purls, weren’t we? Why doesn’t that chart fit? Wait! Damn, forgot about that extra stitch after the chart repeats. Silly! Unpick the previous four rows. Have a bit more Sambucca. Just a kiss. Discuss whether or not Squidward really qualifies as a villain. (Bonus points if you forget your original position mid-argument.)

Pick up the stitches and work across: remember at the end of the row you’re supposed to be working the lace pattern, not more rib. Get distracted by Spongebob halfway through unpicking and accidentally switch to ribbing: work to end of row. Repeat.

I think this is going quite well.

Switch off Spongebob, finish Sambucca (what’s left in the glass, I mean, not the bottle). You’re back to the ribbing: resolve to complete the first row of the chart before bedtime. Succeed. Give three quiet cheers, having just noticed everyone else in the house went to bed a while ago.

(Note: Having watched an hour of Spongebob while drinking Sambucca, you may find your mouth and lips are (a) blue; (b) numb-ish. This is normal. Don’t panic.)

Final critical step: the next morning, check knitting. If you have swapped all your K2togs for SSKs and vice versa, congratulations! You have Not Knitted Lace.

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