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Japanese Puzzle

confused-geek-woman-203x300The Japanese are known for their love of a fiendish puzzle, from wooden boxes that can require over a hundred moves to open, to all kinds of number puzzles. It seems that this apparently includes knitting patterns, as if the use of different symbols and the obvious language barrier weren’t enough of a challenge.

You may be aware that I began a Japanese Shawl last week and gaily cracked along through the first chart thinking, “This is easy.” Uh-huh! Then I reached the third chart (the second being a short section of only 8 rows, which also went swimmingly).  The second chart helpfully gave a stitch count of 175 and I was spot on (I counted twice…at least). Then I started the third chart, got to the end of the row and found I was 3 stitches short of being able to complete the pattern. (The charts have this wavy-lined break indicating that you repeat the pattern as set and then the last few stitches are shown so that you know where you are supposed to end). After a couple of retries on the assumption that the mistake was mine, I calculated the number of stitches required by the pattern. It came to 178. Huh? I checked and rechecked several times. Nope, definitely not my error.

The problem was that I couldn’t just add 3 more stitches to the previous row without messing up the pattern, and I couldn’t change the current row without messing up subsequent rows, so what to do?  Sleep on it. Agonise. Then agonise some more. Until my head hurt. Quite a lot. A bit like writing really.

Warning: This is where it gets a bit (more) technical!

In the end, the only possible solution seemed to be to make a stitch (m1) where there was a k2tog or ssk and then knit it together with the existing stitch, effectively faking the k2tog (or ssk). I did this in three places where it didn’t seem to impact the pattern too much, and in fact, it helped to ensure that the pattern stayed on track. Unfortunately, I didn’t note exactly* where these were and now I can’t see them. Puzzle solved! 😀

* The first was at the start of the second repeat of the charted section, the next two were somewhere in the third repeat. Once you realise what needs to be done, the best location to remain in keeping with the pattern will present itself.

Interestingly, the following rows all seem to work out just fine, despite there being 3 more stitches than the pattern indicated and normal, break-neck speed was duly resumed. I found another relatively minor and easily fixed error at R143, (decreasing 2 instead of the necessary 3 stitches). All the errata are documented in my Ravelry project should you feel inspired to have a go at this pattern.

I think I got away with cocking up a small section of the shawl and fixing it by dropping the extra four stitches and redistributing the surplus yarn *whistles nonchalantly*  Nothing to see here, move along!

The final minor annoyance was finishing the 3rd ball of yarn half way along the cast off row. Fortunately, I bought 4 balls just in case. *smug face*

I think I can safely say that this Japanese Shawl Challenge has been challenging, though to borrow the words of the immortal Bard, who almost certainly never knat in his life, all’s well that ends well and this one certainly did:

Japanese Shawl

Japanese Shawl

I’m rather pleased with it 😀



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2 April 2015

2 Comments to “Japanese Puzzle”

  1. Beautiful shawl, it looks fabulous BB

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