Saturday, November 10, 2007

Continuing the themes from my last post...

My sweater is very close to finished. Now all I need is some knitting time. That's been in short supply this month.

The comments I got from my last post have inspired this post. Thank you!

Elizabeth wrote:

yarnover, slip 1, k2, pass slipped stitch over
Ok, this I've not run across (obviously I don't knit many doilies). You're slipping 1, knitting two, then passing the slipped stitch over the two knitted stitches, leaving a yo and two stitches on the needles? Hmmmm.

Yes, you slip a stitch then pass it over a couple of knit stitches. In this case, it's a 3-to-2 decrease. The yarnover adds a stitch, keeping the total stitch count constant. You are indeed left with the yarnover and the two stitches on the needle. The slipped stitch puts a horizontal to slightly diagonal line across the base of the two stitches, a loose wrap stitch effect. You can slip that stitch either as if to knit or as if to purl, depending on what you like.

I've included a close-up of how this pattern looks in my Mommes Lysedug doily/shawl. It's hard to see the details, unfortunately. Blame my poor photography skills! It's a very attractive and sturdy-looking motif. When I first started the Mommes Lysedug pattern, I thought it was a typo.

It's not a very common stitch pattern. Most doilies do not use anything so complicated! Many doilies only use yarnovers, knits, twisted knits, k2tog, SKP, and SK2P. I'm not sure if Christine Duchrow ever used this stitch pattern again. Herbert Niebling used it occasionally; it's one of his characteristic stitch patterns. I don't know about any other doily designers.

You'll also find this pattern in Shetland Knitting, where it's often called Mrs. Hunter's stitch pattern. It's in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting, on page 70. That version calls for slipping a stitch, knitting 3 stitches, then passing the slipped stitch over. The motifs are stacked vertically rather than offset diagonally.

Barbara Walker put Mrs. Hunter's stitch into one of her pattern treasuries, probably the first volume.

I vaguely recall someone on the knitlist, many years ago, who used Mrs. Hunter's pattern as part of a hap shawl she knit. It would make a good hap shawl pattern. I'd actually try to use it in a center-out square, so that it would automatically look like the offset/diagonal version that is in the Mommes Lysedug pattern. I could start the square with one pattern, add a wide band of Mrs. Hunter's stitch, then transition to something else. Would I finish with an outward-knit border or a sideways-knit border? How would this look if I changed colors, too?

Fleegle wrote:

I have been mentally toying with the idea of knitting half-circles and 3/4 circles instead of the entire round thing...then I run into the purling concept and sort of wimp out.

Another gray sweater! You clearly have more patience than I do. I can't remember the last time I knitted anything gray.

I go for a cabled vest...if you have enough yarn, you can then proceed on to the sleeves.


In reverse order:

Cabled vest... Although it would be fun to knit, I would never wear it. I'm not a vest person. If I'm cold enough to put on a sweater, then I need something that will keep my arms warm. I've tried vests in the past. I end up uncomfortably warm in the areas under my vest and uncomfortably cold in the areas not covered.

This batch of gray yarn is rather fuzzy. I'm not sure if there's enough stitch definition for complicated cables. I do have a different batch of yarn that would be perfect for a cabled sweater, with sufficient yarn to knit the entire sweater. Some day...

I probably will do a cabled vest someday, simply because it would be fun to do. I'll use a different batch of yarn that will show the cables well. I have no idea what I'll do with it when it's finished, though. In the past, I gave my knitted vests to a family member who loved them. That person is no longer alive.

However, I do like your idea of doing a vest, then adding sleeves if there's enough yarn.

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Gray sweater... It helps that I spun the yarn myself. I love knitting with my handspun. The yarn is heathery rather than being a flat gray. It also has some thicker and thinner areas to give a bit of texture to the sweater. I love the way the yarn feels as it runs under my fingers.

Anyway, the sweater is dead plain, an almost by-the-book Elizabeth Zimmermann percentage sweater, raglan variation. I'm not sure if it matters that I'm using gray rather than another color. A plain gray sweater isn't the most exciting thing in the universe, but it's been fun to knit. I don't have to pay attention most of the time. I go round and round and round, letting my mind wander on to other topics. There are few decision points or areas where I have to plan and think and count.

The goal was to knit a sweater for myself. I'd started several over the years that never got finished. I decided that the Keep It Simple option was my best bet for getting something done. If I used boring yarn, then I wouldn't care as much if it wasn't perfect. I don't have to get every detail right. I just want something that I can wear when the weather is cold. I don't even have to wear it in public.

Sometimes I have to psych myself out. This was one of those times.


The next sweater from this gray yarn will be different. Period. One option is to add stranded color patterns to the yoke, sleeves, and bottom band area. If I do that, I'll probably do a round yoke. I'd start in the middle of the sweater (and sleeves), knit upward. Then, I'd pick up the stitches and knit downward to finish. Or, I'd do it totally top-down.

The other possibility I'm considering is a gansey-style sweater. Yes, it would be plain gray (unless I added some color anyway). But the shape would be different. It would be close to fleegle's idea of a vest, with sleeves added if there's enough yarn. Any stitch patterns would have to be very simple, since there wouldn't be a lot of stitch definition.

A third possibility is to make the next sweater from a different batch of yarn, thus avoiding an overdose of gray.

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Half-circles and 3/4 circles... Yep, I go through a lot of the same mental contortions. The endless purling can get to me.

There are other issues, especially if you're adapting a doily pattern.

The biggest issue is that a lot of doily patterns do not have an easy break between pattern repeats. The break may occur in the middle of a motif. It is usually not a straight line. You'd have to do some re-charting to get something attractive.

One option is to make a poncho-type shawl. Skip the innermost motif. Cast on at the point where there are enough stitches to go over your head. Knit the rest of the doily. You can add or subtract a pattern repeat or two if you want something a bit fuller or less full.

Another option is to knit the doily or other pattern in the round, and then slash it after you're done. Knit as many pattern repeats as you'd like. Start in the middle or skip the innermost motif as above. When you're done, baste the area you think ought to be cut, and then go for it. Pick up edge stitches and put on a suitable border.

Personally, I don't like slashing my knitting. Consider the above to be theoretical advice. I've never tried it.

I do like the circle, square, and other polygonal shapes because they are knit circularly. The intermediate rounds are usually plain knit, making for a restful interlude. The disadvantage is that they take twice as much yarn as the half-circle or triangle would take. Also, one usually needs to fold part of it over, like a collar, to wear it over the shoulder.

However, a square is a very useful shape. Having a square shawl automatically turns you into a hoopy frood who knows where his/her towel is. A circle is merely a square with the corners lopped off. Or something.

Triangles are useful shapes for shawls, but not as useful for other purposes. A lot of patterns can be turned into garter stitch. Other times, it really does make more sense to purl the wrong-side rows. It's not horrible, really!

I find that a stockinette-based shawl will end up being larger than a garter-based shawl, for example. There's probably not as much difference if you're using fine yarn and a loose gauge. For shawls with thicker yarns, the difference is very obvious.

2 comments:

fleegle said...

I don't mind purling...but I do enjoy the restful knit rows. Slashing is not an option (gah!). I have some nice Neiblings that would lend themselves to knitting, say, 4 out of 5 repeats or 6 out of 8. Martha Stewart gave ponchos a bad name. I would rather wear a tutu.

Like you, I find the concept of a vest a bit flawed. I have several of them, and never wear them for the reasons you stated. Cold arms, hot torso.

By the way, have you tried the Hiya Hiya micsocopic circulars (all the way down to 6X0? I ordered a few of the 12" 0000's and 000's for centers, but couldn't see my way to knitting with a 6X0. The Knitting Zone carries the full line.

The Doily Underground said...

Me, too, on all of that, except that I don't mind ponchos. I try not to let Martha Stewart dictate what I wear. My most recent poncho was the Mananita, knit several years ago for another family member, so it's not like I'm churning them out. I don't think I'd wear a tutu, though.

I keep getting tempted by the Rose Trellis Shawl at:
http://cdevine.typepad.com/patterns_from_so_much_fib/files/RoseTrellisShawl.pdf

It's essentially an open-front poncho. However, it would take gobs of yarn and gobs of purling.

I haven't tried the Hiya Hiya circulars yet. How are the joins? I could use some microscopic circulars, especially in the under 1.5mm size.