A Beautiful Failure: My Mother's Christmas Gift


Disclaimer: All materials (yarn, looms, leaflets) were personal purchases for my own private use.

DSC00292 I’m new to loom knitting. I don’t know how to knit using needles and my crochet skills are very limited. My mother, however, can crochet. She’s been on a crocheting binge for several months, after finishing up a huge plastic canvas project that took over a year to do (20 bags). She had already purchased the knitting looms, but hadn’t sat down to figure it out. There was a hat that caught her interest and she attempted to make it.

Unfortunately, she chose one of the harder patterns. The top of the hat was a weave, similar to those potholder projects I did as a little girl. The instructions were confusing to DSC00291someone who never worked with looms before. Seeing how frustrated she was, I took over and she went to crochet. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore than she did, but I was interested in the had too, so soldiered on until I got the hang of it. The first hat was somewhat of a success: the weave came out correct, but the brim wasn’t right — it still looks nice though. The second and third attempts came out better.  At some point, I may even post pictures of the hats.

DSC00289 After that successful endeavor, I decided that I would make my mother the Mobius Shawl and it would be a Christmas gift (I was giving myself plenty of time to finish it).  The pattern looked interesting and simple.  No skipped pegs or changing yarn, just “knit” and “purl”.  The project suggested  Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair, which I thought was very pretty, and I chose “Tundra”.  The pictures don’t do the yarn justice.  It’s very elegant looking in real life.

Since I had to order the yarn, I also looked over the other projects and decided which ones I would like to do, and pick the yarn I wanted to use.  After the yarn arrived, I got off 1457to a rocky start.  I was getting frustrated with the casting on part of the project, which is the very first thing you do.  I kept making mistakes or the tension was too tight.  Eventually, I manage to do 30 rows, which is the base pattern for the shawl.  By that point, I needed a break.  I found a nice box with a lid, put the loom, yarn, and my notes in it, and set it aside.  That was back in March.  I didn’t touch it again until the beginning of November.

DSC00290Crunch time!  I was going to be off for a week, so I figured I could get most of it done then.  I could work on the remainder, I told myself, on weekends and after work (seriously cutting into my reading time I might add).  So, I pulled out the box and re-familiarized myself with the techniques.  I was surprised to find that the pattern seemed way easier than it looked back in the spring.  I figured that I need 165 rows to have the right size shawl.  Breaking it down into groups of 15 made it even more manageable, and less daunting, than just seeing the number 165 when you only had about 35-40 rows done!  By the time I return to work (as I reported), I was in the home stretch.  I finished the project on 12 November.  I was elated!  I had a bit of trouble with the finishing (joining the two ends together to make the twist), but it sorted itself out and it didn’t turn out too bad.  I even made a major goof (started binding off on the wrong end) that was fixable — and you can’t even tell I made a mistake!

Then I tried it on.

It’s too small.

It needs to be at least 30 rows longer.  When I read the instructions, I thought I was 100% clear on the number of times to repeat the 1-30 pattern.  And I was, except I counted the initial row of 30 when I sat down to figure out the total number of rows.  This is what the instructions said:

  • [Rep rows 1-30] 3 (4, 5)
  • [Rep rows 1-15] once.

I needed to repeat the pattern 5 more times: 30 x 6 + 15 = 195.  Instead, I repeated it only 4 more times: 30 x 5 + 15 =  165

So, what did I do with it?

I gave it to my father’s other “official traveling companion”, Nancy the rat bear. My mother will understand completely (she made a shawl that ended up being the size of a tablecloth):

Nancy, the OES Bear

Nancy, the OES Bear

Below is a close up of the shawl.

The twist

The twist



A Beautiful Failure: My Mother's Christmas Gift — 6 Comments

  1. Hang in there! The mobius is still beautiful.
    I love to knit, but there’s nothing like the feeling of having spent so much time on something, then realizing it’s the wrong size. I made a sweater for my husband once, that wound up so big, I just had to give it to a much taller/bigger friend. I always try to tell myself that I’m a much better knitter for my mishaps. It doesn’t make it all better, but at least it’s something concrete I can take from the experience. 🙂

    • Surprisingly, I feel okay about the whole episode. 🙂 I told myself the same thing, that I’ve learned from the experience. My mother will get a laugh out of it (she hasn’t seen the bear yet). And when I compare it to her shawl-turned-tablecloth, I don’t feel so bad. 😉

      I’ve ordered more Moonlight Mohair and will eventually try again. My next project will be very simple: washcloths. Simple and square. Can’t really mess that one up. My mother is crocheting washcloths as well. It will be interesting to compare the two.

  2. Congrats on giving it a go. I tried to teach myself crocheting last christmas season as I was awaiting my baby boy to be born…the first half is too short the second half too long! But it was made with love and that’s what counts, right? Well, I keep telling myself that anyway! I love the shawl on the bear, so cute! Keep up the good work!

  3. Hello Christina
    I have been looking for this Mobius shawl pattern to use with a loom forever.
    I know its not a complicated one.
    I love your blog on it and thanks for the heads up of adding the extra 30 rows!!
    Do you have the pattern to email??

    • Thanks! 😀

      Actually, I don’t have an email version of the pattern. I have the book, which is currently on its way to Kentucky with the rest of my belongings. 😉