I have to admit, "99 bottles of Beer" has been running through my head as I've been trudging along with the edging. Eventually I'll figure out a Princess Shawl Edging version. But as with the bottles of beer, for every one that falls (that is, for every repeat worked), there is one fewer to do. Eventually there will be one repeat left, and then it will be done.
Let's start with the good news:
There. As you can see, I decided to try your nifty trick, so I ripped out what I'd done and started over again. Then I made a mistake, ripped out, started over again. Then I made a mistake, ripped out, started over again. What the photo shows is my progress as of last Friday -- I'm now well on my way towards completing a fourth repeat.
As an aside, the yarn to the left of the photo is the one I was originally going to use for Princess. I actually do like the colour, but I'm really rather glad that I decided to switch to the gossamer merino, as it's showing much less wear than the original yarn, even at this early stage. But that first yarn will serve me well, I think, in later stages, as I can use it to practice some of the stitch patterns and whatnot before I actually go to work them on Princess.
I think I can say at this point that a few things happened in the last week which mean that I'm finally making steady, if slow progress on the edging.
First: I changed needles. After reading some discussions on various lists about needles suitable for very fine lace work, and after struggling with my usual favorite needle, Inox, I had a look at a couple of other brands. I'm not keen on Addi Turbos (exception: I think if you're working on huge great wonking needles, the cables on very large Addis are really great), and when I compared the tip of the Addis to that of the Inox in the shop, I honestly couldn't see a difference. I know that the true proof would be in actually knitting with them, but I'm cheap enough that I wasn't about to buy an Addi circular just for the experiment.
One recommended brand that I really hesitated to try was Aero. Do you have the same reaction I do when I think about Aero needles? I actually own a goodly stock of Aeros, mostly straights, a few circulars. There was a time when all you could buy here were Aeros (or their cousins, Milward). You didn't even know there might be another choice, because you never saw anything else. Remember, this was all B.I. (Before Internet).
And those Aero circulars. Ugh. Blech. Stiff, unwieldy cables, lousy joins. No wonder we rarely worked anything in the round.
But, I was assured, Aeros have changed. They are different, and they are very, very good for working fine lace.
So I went to investigate. I have to say, I still think that in larger needle sizes, the Aeros I saw were still crappy. But it's a different story for the fine sizes. I could actually see a difference in the tip when compared to the Inox, it was slightly finer and more tapered. The cable was light and supple and had some give to it -- still a little more stiff than the Inox, but not bad, and as I'm working with it, it's easing up.
The join. Well, that's still crappy, and something I'm going to have to think about. Right now it's not a problem, because I'm only working the edging, but I may have to see if The Other can fix the join on a longer needle for working the rest of the shawl. This was also something mentioned in various needle discussions, so it's not just me being picky -- the joins on Aero circulars are inconsistent, and you can get a good one, but you can just as easily get a lousy one.
But definitely, this needle has made the stitches easier for me to work.
The second thing that happened was that I made mistakes on the edging, and had to rip back and start over several times. Let me remind everyone that at the moment, I'm not in much of a state to "fix" mistakes (back injury/pain pills, not to mention the fact that I'm having a really hard time seeing it all).
But as frustrated as I was through all that (a fact The Other will confirm, as I do believe I actually told him that I was going to abandon Princess, being incapable of knitting it), I think by the time I'd calmed down and started over for the third time, my hands had finally begun to understand what my head could see when I read the charts.
The third thing that happened was an attitude shift. Here I was, plotting the number of repeats I would do every day, and setting these goals, and then trying to Work as Hard as I Could to meet them. Inside of two weeks, I was knitting Princess to a schedule, and I was not enjoying it. I decided that all I would do at any time was work two rows. Just two. Then I would put the knitting down, do something else, and then maybe an hour later I would work two more rows.
And by doing that, I managed to get three repeats of the edging done over a few days. Even now, when I might choose to work more than two rows, I stop myself before I start the next one to ask if I'm feeling tired, to see if I'm still able to concentrate on the chart, and I don't hesitate to put the knitting down.
And I've also started counting the stitches after every row. If the stitch count is correct, I keep going. If not, I can fix it before I start the next row.
Yes, I do still have those moments of impatience, when I want to keep knitting, when I want to catch up to you, when I just want to see more progress. But I take a deep breath and let it all go. I don't want to reach the end of this project and be glad to see the back of it. I want to be disappointed that it's over, because I had such fun doing it.
So far it's working.