Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fun with Squares

In January, I posted a photo of a small square doily.  It was the smallest doily in a three-piece set.

Since then, I have knitted the other two doilies in the set.

The largest one is 72 rounds.  The medium one is 62 rounds.  And the small one is 42 rounds.  They all start out the same.  But as you can see, each successive size up develops the motifs a little bit more.

I've seen this set in an old Beyer magazine.  But I knit it from the charts and description in Burda Alles aus Garn Kunststricken Folge 2, also known as Burda 305.

The photos are obviously not to the same scale.  The biggest one really is quite a bit larger than the smallest, with the medium one definitely between the two in size!

Burda 305/12A

Burda 305/12B

Burda 305/12C

I enjoy knitting sets.  Why?  I'm not sure.  I don't think it's because I actually want a set of anything.  I think it's because I liked knitting one of the patterns, and thus enjoy knitting something that is similar without being exactly the same.  It's much the same fun to knit.  It's interesting to see variations on the same motifs, to see how the designer re-arranges or builds on the elements to make something new.

Some designers, such as Engeln and Kinzel, do this deliberately.  They design nested sets.  One starts with an inner motif.  Then one can cast off, or keep going to another layer of motifs.  And so on, up to quite large pieces.  Sometimes outer layers are the same motif as an inner layer, but with more repeats per round.

Another trick I've seen is to merely increase the number of pattern repeats.  So you might have a square, a hexagon, an octagon, an oval, etc.  Sometimes a few stitches are added or subtracted to make it work out better.  Sometimes it's almost exactly the same.  Those are also fun sets to make.

The three piece set above is slightly different.  Each is a standalone doily, not merely an inner layer of a larger doily.  Instead, it builds by making each motif bigger.  So, the small doily has 3 ladder-stitch columns in the inner diamonds and 6 columns in the outer fans.  The medium doily has 5 columns in the inner diamonds and 9 columns in the outer fans.  The large doily has 7 columns in the inner diamonds and 11 columns in the outer fans.  Therefore, it takes more rounds to grow and/or shrink the motifs.

I imagine one could build on these theme to make even larger squares.  Well, until the stitch counts per round get too distorted.  These squares have rounds with way more stitches per round than strictly seems necessary.  I also wonder about building a larger square by adding another layer or two of those inner diamonds.  These squares have two layers of diamonds.  What if one repeated that idea and made three or four layers?  The number of outer fans per side would of course increase to match.

I have no plans to experiment any time soon, though.  Time for the next doily!  What shall it be?  As usual, there are so many beautiful candidates.  I will flip through my pattern collection to see what catches my fancy.  Some quick 40-rounders?  A larger 100+ round doily?  Something in between or something much larger?  Take a break from doilies and knit more hats, socks, mittens, sweaters, etc.?  Decisions, decisions...