Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tales of Trial and Terror: A "Brooke's Column of Leaves" Success Story

I did it! I did it! I solved the mystery of the missing stitches! Rejoice!

The Brooke's Column of Leaves pattern gave me such a run for my money; I didn't think I'd ever get past the 1st row. I frogged and restarted more times than I kept count... because I am so brand new to knitting, I didn't even know that I could insert a "life line" which essentially keeps all the good stitching when you need to "frog" (pull apart your stitches).

So without further ado...
My column of leaves swatch

I feel like a dolt for not connecting the simple concept in my head sooner... on both the life line and the unique stitch I wasn't properly executing; the YO (yarn over).
In my defense, the tutorial video was of rather poor quality add to the fact that it was using a continental style of knitting; I am English style knitter, also known as a "thrower"... and yet to add more to the fact, I am completely and utterly youtube and vintage book taught; I have absolutely no individual guidance.

However, in case any of my readers choose to do this as well, fret not, knitting isn't actually as difficult as it may seem-- frustrating, but once you get the hang of the hand maneuvers, placement of the working yarn, and abbreviations, you will breeze through nearly any project. And really, it isn't a ton to remember; you can buy a vintage book for cents and it'll likely contain a list of abbreviations in case you're like me and hate remembering them. I highly recommend the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework.
It's one book that I find invaluable and nearly abundant, I see them all the time at thrift stores for $1; unfortunately for myself, my copy is back in Canada so I can't really offer an excerpt from it.

The next book I'd recommend is a book my awesome neighbors purchased for me in trade for one of my bleach art shirts. It is the Better Homes & Gardens Complete Book of Knitting, Crochet  & Embroidery. It was also a dollar from the thrift store.

Truth be told, I had given up on creating the Brooke's pattern; it was only during work on one of the patterns inside this book that lead me to my epiphany.

See, I was wondering if it was maybe the pattern that wasn't working and no one responding to any similar inquiries that made this so frustrating. So I tried something from the book, just in case; after trying one pattern over and over with no success, I knew then it was me doing something wrong; I was coming several stitches short again!

While working my way through yet another pattern from the book, it hit me; since the YO created a new stitch, why not bring one back over? Low and behold, it worked! I was so dumbfounded having realized I did it.

So here's the pictorial low down:

There are great videos demonstrating a yarn over for your viewing movement needs; my favorite by far is this one; they refer to it as a Yarn Forward but it is essentially the same as a yarn over:

Here is a small tip that I used for keeping track of my rows and the stitches I was working on:

My memory is just as bad as my eyesight, so I needed extra help to keep me on track, and it was as simple as using sticky notes and a highlighter pen.
Using the sticky notes to frame 3-4 stitches and block the other rows helped a ton! Highlighting every right side row also ensured that I was moving along the proper row, too! I found it really really helpful to make a mark on the row I chose to insert a life line into; for me I chose the 4th and 8th rows; so that if you put it down for a long time and need to frog when you pick back up, you'll know which row you placed your lifeline into so you can begin again. I used yarn for my lifeline, but I think it would be exponentially easier to use plastic cording; like the kind used in braid keychains; that's just preference. If you're working with lace weight yarn, it'd probably be best to use crochet cotton.

Here is my favorite video demonstrating how to insert your life line:

I can't wait to finish this scarf and send it off to its forever home!

I hope my info helped in some small way; please let me know if you're going to try as well!

P.S. I am using Lion Brand's Tweed Stripes in 215 Athena bulky weight 5. You can hardly see it, but it has subtle hints of green and blues within the purple and lilac tones. The needles are 6mm.


  1. Good for you for keeping at it and getting it figured out! It's going to be a gorgeous scarf when it's done, and I love the yarn colour.

    I wonder if that was my copy of the Complete Guide to Needlework you bought from the thrift store in Calgary ... ;o)

    1. Now that would be nifty little coincidence, wouldn't it be ;)

      Thank you! I think it's my favorite line by lion brand now-- they have exquisite color combinations with this Tweed Stripes line

  2. One of my New Years Resolutions for 2012 was learning to knit - and I did! Scarves for everyone! -- Jan

    1. Good for you! That's so good to hear that someone could pull themselves through a resolution-- that's so rare to find hehe.

  3. Hi,
    Do I do the yarn over like this throughout the pattern or only for row 1?
    Thank you for your help (:

    1. Yes, all of them have to be worked in this manner. Each yarn over must have the extra stitch brought back over and worked in the next stitch of the pattern.

      Good luck, and hope I made sense hehe =D


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