Monday, August 27, 2007

B, C, and Actual Knitting Content

That alpha-blogging thing didn't get off to such a great start. lol Let's try this again. Today's post: B & C


Books. Really. I'd die without them. I always have at least 3 or 4 out from the library at any given time, not counting my knitting books.

Basketball. The only sport ever created that can keep my attention for more than an hour. Spurs kick ass baby!

Boys. Yes, I know, this may seem strange because a good 80% of the time I'm not attracted to bio men (excluding two Hansons and a certain actor) but I have a specific boy in mind here. Gay boys. Gotta love them. The world would be an awful place were it not for gay men. ;)


Chocolate. (Maybe I should have saved this for "d" since it's dark chocolate I'm talking about. Oh well.)

Crochet hooks. Best way to pick up dropped stitches, hands down. (I'm a dork. I'm aware. Moving on.)

Computers. Without them I would have never become a knitter. Without Knitty I would have thought the world of knitting patterns was made up of fun fur and baby clothes.

Ok, now on to the knitting content. I told you there would be some. I'm always curious about the process behind knitting. What made that knitter decide on that pattern with that yarn? What went into the design? The technical parts are all part of the fun for me. So I thought I'd go over how I pick out a new knitting project, since I have space in the queue for a new project. A shawl that never even made it to the blog is 99.9% done, all that's left is four rows of edging and a good blocking.

So how I start varies. Sometimes I start with the project in mind and then find needles and yarn accordingly. This time I have the yarn and needles, but no certain project in mind. I think this is my favorite way to start, but it can also be frustrating.

To start off I have some laceweight and size three needles (one of my preferred sizes for knitting with laceweight). I have a crochet hook too, just in case I need it for a cast on or a dropped stitch. I've already done a gauge swatch with this yarn and these needles and I know I'm getting around 20 sts/4". Gauge isn't crucial for a shawl, so I'm not overly concerned about it. I'm just keeping it in mind for a guideline.

Merino Oro (There's more than this, this is just one ball I've wound. We won't speak of the rest of it)

Usually I would start with the internet because there are an incredible amount of patterns out there. Knitting Pattern Central is one of my favorite stops for getting started. But this time I have a great book out of the library, so I'm going to start there.

This is an amazing book. I have to admit that there may be only 3 or 4 patterns in this book, out of 40 I think, that I don't want to knit at some point. I definitely want this book for Christmas. I'd leave that as a hint for Dylan, but he's gotten bored and clicked away by this point.

I start off by just flipping through the book and seeing what jumps out at me. This book has wonderful pictures.

This is the first shawl that jumps out at me. Looking at the pattern I see that the center panel is made up of a simple 6 stitch, 8 row repeat that also makes up a good chunk of the border. I'm not sure if I can do something this monotonous, but I really love this shawl so I'm leaving it on the list for now.

This is the shawl that prompted me to want to look at this book in the first place. It's called "The Cap Shawl" and it was originally written as the top of a baby hat. I love this shawl, but I don't know that I want to knit something in the round that's this big. This is a shawl of massive proportions. I'm taking this off the list right away because, as much as I love it, I have many projects going right now and I need something that's going to be a little bit quicker than that.

This is another gargantuan shawl. It's gorgeous, but taking a closer look at the center panel I can see that it's a little too simple for me. Also it's knit in the round (there are half hexagon and fichu sizes as well that are knitted flat but the biggest one is the one that struck me the most) and I have size 3 dpns and a size 3 24" circular, but I don't own anything between that and I wasn't wanting to buy anymore new needles for this project.

The color is off in this photo but the shawl itself comes through just fine. Looking at this one I can see that the center panel is interesting enough to keep me occupied and the overall piece is beautiful. This is definitely the leading contender for my new project.

This is another one that I really really like. The construction is really unique as well. You cast on for the wide border and work it first, knitting it to the length of shawl you want, then you turn and pick up stitches for a simple and very narrow center pattern worked widthwise. Then you cast on stitches again for the other side of the wide border and work it lengthwise again. This is giving the previous shawl a run for it's money.

This is another one where the color is off (this digital camera really does not like the color orange) but once again the shawl comes through just fine. I like this shawl a lot, but doing an big triangle out of trinity stitch in white yarn? YAWN Maybe with some handpainted or something.

This pattern was one of the first to jump out at me, but looking at it a little more I can see that it's just the bottom pattern that I like. I would get past the clover leaf lace chart and hate the shawl. Possibly even sooner. I like the color variation of this one though. I'm a big fan of natural colored wool.

I like this one as well, but after just a few minutes of studying it I can see that it's really just the border I like. The center pattern would be too repetitive for me. Also, it's garter stitch. I don't like garter stitch too much.

This one is one I really like a lot, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I don't like the border too much, I feel it overwhelms the center panel. I would probably change the border to something a little less geometric, maybe even the border from the shawl above. I don't really want to have to fiddle with the design of anything though. The shawl I'm just about finished with is one of my own design and I've had enough of that for now.

By this point I've narrowed it down to two shawls, the green one with the interesting construction and the orange one whose color won't show up properly. I would give the real names of the patterns, but when this book was written not much thought was given to names. The name of the green one? "Scarf with the No 20 edging from The Knitted Lace Pattern Book, 1850" So they'll be green and orange from this point on.

Looking at green's pattern, I can see that the gauge is similar to mine (18 sts to 4") and the size is pretty good. I can also see that the yardage is about half of what I have. I'm not sure of the width (20"). I was wanting something a little wider, but I think I could modify the center panel by working more rows of chart b. The only thing still bothering me is the idea of picking up 222 stitches to work the center panel. We'll come back to this one.

For orange the most important thing for me is that there's only patterning on right side rows of the center panel. I need that purl across row to give my brain a rest and enable me to work on this around my husband without tears. The border has something going on every row, but I really think that it's do-able. The width is exactly what I had in mind, the gauge is close enough (again, 18 sts to 4"). The only thing I'm concerned about is the yardage. It's exactly what I have and that concerns me because my gauge doesn't match completely. I'm worried I'll run out of yarn. While buying more laceweight wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for me, I'm trying to keep the stash under control and having an unknown amount of laceweight sitting around waiting for me to turn it into something makes me twitchy.

I think for sanity's sake I'm going to go with green. I can deal with picking up 222 stitches a lot more than worrying I'll run out of yarn.


Krystal said...

I see you conveniently left out the part where the shawl you haven't quite finished is not quite finished because you ran out of yarn... very interesting...

Angie said...

You know, it was bad enough running out with you on the phone, ho bag. lol