Monday, January 30, 2006

Lace and cable mods

Thousands and thousands of ducks on the bay, enjoying the run of fish. I love to stand outside at night and listen to them chatter and fly about in small circles. They dive to eat and then take long naps in flotillas during the day, but night is an unsettled span of bumping into each other and freaking out and settling back down and bumping into each other...

I've been tweaking Dainty Chevron from BWII. It's a nice pattern, but I needed it to be a bit more open to blend better with the other stitch patterns in the EZasPi KAL anniversary shawl I'm knitting. I like the scale of the length and width of the repeat (8st x 10r), I like the curve to the chevron, and in this case I like the vertical lines (I'd purl them in other situations). However, there's a cluster of stitches where the points of the chevron meet a vertical line and I think it takes away from the beauty of the pattern. I experimented with continuing the yo's flanking the vertical line until the last moment, then doing a centered k5tog to dump the extra two sts. Looks good, has a bit of thickness in the k5tog, but I'm doing this in laceweight so that shouldn't be a problem.

The transition from the leafy pattern to the arrows, doubling the stitch count, was tricky. I'm not completely pleased with my solution because the arrows have little knobs and are a bit too long, so I'm going to try one more draft and then go with it before DD or I change our minds about which stitch pattern comes next...

Christine has some excellent "observations of a new spinner" on her blog. Definitely worth reading, a good review for the veterans and a helpful lesson for newbies.

The mitts for DD are finished. The photo to the left shows the left mitt inside out, always fun with cables, and the right mitt waiting for a thumb. I had a nice bit of yarn left over, but I expected that since have five skeins of this particular yarn. The axiom is that we run out a few yards from the end when there is no more yarn available and that one has plenty left over when there is an abundance...

No pattern yet because I have a head/chest cold and those ruin my math ability. Here are some of the tricks and comments that came to mind while I was knitting. If you start at the finger end, you won't end up with a truncated pattern in the panel. Start with k2p2 ribbing and do a little hidden increase on each side of the center ditch right before the first set of crosses to make the necessary stitches. Sometimes it feels more as if I'm moving the extra purls around instead of manipulating the knit ribs.

DD's hands are still growing, so she needed the finger ribbing to snug in quickly. Four rounds before the bind-off I p2tog in the nine non-panel ditches, which was just right for her paws. The original wrist cast on is 56 stitches. When I began the panel crosses (k2 over p2), I increased a stitch in the center of a palm side ditch, to compensate for the drawing in of the width during the crosses. I increased at the rate of a pair per four rounds, three times to make six additional stitches. I increased more stitches on either side of the hand, as needed, in the stockinette section, which I started just to the wrist side of the palm. I could have hidden them better, but she'll lose them so soon I didn't bother. The thumb is a bit small, as hers still is, just 15 on a holder and a bridge of 8, decreased rapidly to a total of 18 in k1p1.

The braid on the right mitt is a common one. Easy, logical, quick, and pretty. The base is k2p2 ribbing with an extra two st introduced into the central ditch. Pairs of ribs cross the purls in the first row, then cross each other in the third row. Definitely a mindless over-under. If your gauge is too snug (mine is in the mitts, but DD likes them that way), the curving outer ribs won't curve as much (and you will bend your needles!). Either a looser gauge or a snug fit will curve them into a more pleasing arc. The braids on the two mitts are very similar. The lattice on the left mitt is from Lavold's Viking book, with modifications. It is very dense and I'm going to try it next at a much more open gauge. It's also just a bit trickier used in a sweater because I'll need a vertical half panel to finish (5 lattice and 4 ovals, for instance).

To finish, an orchid from the garden. It's been such a mild winter we have ripe strawberries!