After finishing Nina's mittens I decided to make something for myself; a pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands warm whilst working at Wentworth Falls. It should have been a pretty straight forward project. I found a pattern on Ravelry for fingerless mittens in a feather and fans lace stitch, knitted flat and then stitched up the side leaving a hole for the thumb. Having already knitted the fan stitch sample square back in May I didn't think I would have any problems.
I first came unstuck with the pattern when it called for me m1 (make one). I am by no means an expert but as far as I can gather there are many different ways to m1. My bible on these matters, the 'Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft', describes 8 ways to increase by changing yarn position. The pattern also asks me to do yo (yarn over) increase, after a knit stitch and before a knit stitch, which again is omitted from the Guide.
In a fit of frustration I decided to scrap the project. I was not that passionate about the pattern and thought that I could improvise a similar pattern with a stitch I hadn't tried before; the Diamond Fern Stitch. Referring once again to my trusty Needlecraft book, I cast on for the third time (there was also a case of rib gone wrong) and knit the 8 rows of 1:1 rib and the first 20 rows of the lace stitch pattern. It was at this point that Jamie said to me "but the diamonds aren't going to match up!". And he was right. The stitch pattern in my trusty book started with the solid part of the pattern and finished with the open lace part.
CO #4 - I try to wing it, adding an extra 6 stitches to the CO and hoping this will complete the half diamond at the end. Something goes very wrong (I actually think I dropped a stitch to tell you the truth) and my lace starts going haywire.
Finally, I decide to get myself a pad of graph paper and draw up a stitch chart (below). And what a revelation! I am a very visual person and with the help of the stitch chart I could finally make sense of the relationship between the stitches and the pattern, and was able to complete the missing half diamond correctly.
Unfortunately the first prototype turned out too big, even for my wrists. They even fit on Jamie's calves. I didn't even bother sewing up the second one or photographing the finished one. But I am determined not to get despondent, and will revisit the project soon (after a few baby presents are knitted). Not too bad for my first attempt at an improvised pattern.