Full Definition of JACKPOT from the Merriam Webster Dictionary
1: a (1) : a hand or game of draw poker in which a pair of jacks or better is required to open
(2) : a large pot (as in poker) formed by the accumulation of stakes from previous playb (1) : a combination on a slot machine that wins a top prize or all the coins available for
(2) : the sum so wonc : the top prize in a game or contest (as a lottery) that is typically a large fund of money
formed by the accumulation of unwon prizes
2: an impressive, often unexpected success or reward
3: chiefly West : a tight spot : jam
Until I moved here, I only knew the first two definitions of "jackpot;" the term always held a positive connotation for me. The first time I heard my husband swearing about the "jackpot" he'd run into in trying to fix something, I was stupified. I thought he was using the wrong word; English is his second language, after all. But it seems in the north here, the third, negative usage is quite common. And it seems the best word to describe my recent encounter with a certain knitting chart.
Last summer my friend Anne Marie ordered some Cotlin yarn from Knit Picks and the pattern for the Sea Glass Shawl, but didn't get round to knitting it. She's going to Florida in March and thought a cotton shawl would be nice to have for the trip, so she made it a priority in her new year's projects. The striped portion was easy peasy, but then she found herself in a real jackpot. I spent one Monday afternoon trying to help her sort it out, but only more ripping ensued. We could not get the right stitch count for the charted lace. She fared no better in a couple more attempts at home later in the week and phoned me on Saturday to vent her frustration and alert me that the next Monday would find us right back where we were the week before.
I knew that my only hope in figuring out what was going wrong would be to knit the pattern myself. I wandered into my yarn room and found a couple of discontinued colors of Patons Grace that I had bought at $.99 a ball about five years ago without knowing what I would ever do with them. It wouldn't have the drape of a linen blend, but it was a slightly finer yarn and loosely knit should work out okay. The striped section did go quickly, and by the end of our girls' Super Bowl evening I was caught up and ready to start the lace. I went to Michael's on Monday to buy two balls of ivory color Grace for the lace insertion. (It's up to $5.49 a ball now, but still a cheap shawl since my other 4 balls were bargains.)
Row 1 worked out fine, but there was a yarnover symbol on row 2, which reason said should be a plain purl row. So I trusted my own judgement and didn't do it. On row 3 it seemed that the yarnover should be there, in the square above the one where it was printed. But the last section of the chart still didn't add up. I finally realized that in order for the sections to be symmetrical, since the chart was repeated in the same order on the other side of the center stitch, there was another yarnover missing too. I was able pass on the corrections and all seemed to be well. I got further than we had ever been before. Until Row 25. I struggled, and strained my eyes, and did math, and then found the designer on Ravelry and emailed her for help. Too stubborn to give up and go to bed, I finally recognized where a yarnover had been omitted from the chart again, and emailed the designer again to tell her I'd solved my own problem. Only to run into another jackpot on Row 27. This time I thought to compare the chart with the line by line written instructions (I hate them and do much better with charts normally), and found that a K2tog symbol had been omitted. It was after midnight by this time, but I fired off another email to the designer. I was polite, assuming that all the errors were publisher's typos, but made the point that she should be aware of the problems and get the errata on the publisher's site. I was surprised no one else had commented on problems or inquired about corrections. I got such a nice reply from the designer, with apologies for my frustration and assurances that she would contact Knit Picks right away and post corrections on the Ravelry pattern page as well. She hoped I'd have no further problems, but I did have to write back one more time to tell her that Row 33 had one extra stitch at the end of the chart that shouldn't have been there at all. The written instructions do seem to be correct throughout.
I posted all the chart corrections in the notes on my Ravelry project page for anyone else who wants to make this shawl. Because it really is a nice blend of modern and traditional, with its stripes and its lace. The striping follows an unusual sequence that is really cool and eye catching. The lace circles are lovely and dense, while the mesh surrounding them opens up nicely with blocking. The pattern looks good made like the original in three colors, or like the designer's second version in two colors. I have more Patons Grace in the stash. Now that I have it all figured out, I think I'm going to knit another one.