March 3, 2008
It’s funny how, after a couple of days away from the computer, you lose the habit of feeding all daily experience into the blog fodder funnel. I’ve been back so long I can’t remember vacation, but you guys were having so much fun dressing up preserved animals that I didn’t want to jump in with my petty knitting concerns.
Until now. I’m back with the petty knitting concerns.
Here’s what I have to show for my vacay knitting: Ether, from Rowan 41, using substituted Euroflax Originals Sportweight. Like Olive Oyl, I’m knitting a Medium, but a Large feels SO good. The reasoning behind my Aspirational Sizing was: 1. My proportions are a Medium, with the exception of my tummy, which didn’t get the memo. 2. Ether has an overlapping, doubled front, which gives a little wiggle room for the tummy (literally). (Ew. Sorry about that.) I’ve tried it on, and with a manageable amount of tugging and suckingitin, it fits fine. I just wish it were a little bit longer. Which brings me to my question of the day:
What knitted lace edging could I substitute for the edging in the pattern? The edging in the pattern, which is knitted separately to the length required to go all the way around the bottom of the body and the sleeves, and then sewn on, looks to be less than 2 inches long. I’m looking for something more like 3- 5 inches. I’m taking suggestions. Bonus gratitude points for a pattern or tips on knitting the edging on instead of sewing it later. (It seems to me like I ought to be able to just knit the last stitch together with a stitch picked up from the edge, no? What’s the biggie? Why does Rowan want you to sew it? The difference between row gauge and stitch gauge? Just to bust chops?)
Currently under consideration: Mary’s Lace from Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge. I think that criss-crossy bit will look cool in linen.
New Knitter Excitement
I’m sure you have a friend like this: the Non-Knitter By Choice. A person who seems to appreciate knitting, and who may even have knit in the remote past, and who in any event seems to have all the Right Stuff for knitting, but suffers from Failure To Knit. I have a friend like this. Let’s call her “Diana”. Diana has a wide streak of Norwegian in her. She has a trunk full of snowflake sweaters. She wears a lot of sweaters. She looks good in sweaters, and she cadges a handknit whenever she can. Yet for many years she has resisted gentle encouragement to take up the needles. The encouragement has been gentle because I know my psychology. You can’t make a person knit. A person who is forced or pressured to knit is going to make a lot of mistakes and get crabby and blame you for starting her up.
So you have to lie in wait. You have to accept the loathsome fact that this person, despite her aptitude, may never know the joy that only true knitting brings. She will be dishcloth-dependent for life, and there is nothing you can do about it.
When a person like this expresses a faint stirring of knitterly longing, be especially careful. Don’t act like you’re excited, even if your heart is about to burst out of your chest and you hear a high-pitched whine in your ears. BE CASUAL. Say something like, “I’m sure there is a knitting shop in Providence that gives knitting lessons [YAWN].” It is a matter of complete indifference to you. Knit–don’t knit–do I look like I care?
When the person calls you up and says they have knit 6 dishcloths, and they have signed up for knitting classes at the local yarn store, however, OPEN THE FLOODGATES. Send yarn. Send flowers. You’ve got a live one! Reel. Her. In.
So, Diana was asking me what would make a good next project after the garter dishrags started to lose their glamour. I gave my standard counsel against scarves, on the grounds that a scarf goes on long after the fun of knitting it wanes. I suggested a simple roll-brim hat. Quick and easy, and you learn how to decrease. I think that was good advice.
But then I saw some Misti Alpaca Chunky in the yarn store, and I remembered how quick it knits up, how pleasant it is to knit, and how it could addict a person to the act of knitting. I cooked up a 2-skein scarf–a mere schmattah–in one repeat of Feather & Fan. A tasty way to practice your K2tog, and a dramatic demonstration of what happens when you line up some yarnovers. To a beginner, Feather & Fan looks like alchemy. It snakes! It has mysterious holes! It always ends up with the same number of stitches! In case you have a live one, here are the instructions I wrote to Diana:
This is a traditional pattern called “Feather & Fan” or “Old Shale.” You will learn some basics. I started it for you so you can see the pattern. [And also because I couldn’t help myself.]
There are 18 stitches on the needle. The pattern takes 4 rows for each repeat, and only one row has anything fancy in it.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: (Knit 2 together) 3 times, then (yo, k1) 6 times, then (knit 2 together) 3 times.
Row 4: Knit.
Repeat rows 1-4 until you only have a few yards of yarn left. End with a Row 4, then bind off.
“Knit 2 together,” commonly abbreviated as “k2tog”, means you stick the right needle into the next 2 stitches and knit them together. This leaves you with 1 stitch, ergo it is a decrease of 1 stitch.
“YO” is the abbreviation for “yarnover”. It is a way to create a new stitch, or to “increase” by 1 stitch. It makes a hole in the fabric which is the basis for all lace knitting. Here’s how you do it. Don’t think about it too much.
Place the working yarn in front (as if you were going to purl the next stitch). Then, knit the next stitch. (This completes the instruction “yo, k1”.)
On the next row (row 4), when you come to the new stitches that you created with a yarnover, knit into them normally, thus creating the characteristic hole in the fabric.
Notice that in row 3, you work a total of 6 “k2tog”, and 6 “yo”; thus you decrease 6 stitches and increase 6 stitches, so you still have 18 stitches at the end of row 3. [Intro to The Mathy-ness of Knitting.]
If you mess up, unravel back to a plain knit or purl row, put the 18 stitches back on the needle, and carry on.
I will let you know how Diana does with her mailorder knitting instructions. I hope I haven’t spooked her.