Friday, June 01, 2007

Learning Experience

Today tastes like vanilla butter cupcakes with a chocolate ganache filling slathered with coconut buttercream frosting. So innocent to look at, all snowy white goodness. So decadent in the mouth, three-four bites of fleeting richness.

I have reached an interesting point in two projects. Tyger is all but finished, it needed some borders to be complete. Entrelac is that way, I find. The edges look raw somehow, with stitches just far enough out of alignment to trigger my inner Virgoliscitudinousness.

As you may recall, "Tyger" was started for a Project Linus contest. I decided I wanted to reflect an abstraction rather than try for picture knitting. (With few and notable exceptions, picture knitting does not work. See Mary Maxim for great views of What NOT to Do.)

I started with a tigery colored boucle and black smooth worsted in diagonal stripes, surrounded by a field of varied greens. The tiger's pelt, as seen against the foliage in passing. So I opted to continue the abstraction in the borders--a dark purple along one short edge and one long edge for "Night" and a periwinkle along the other two edges for "Day." Night will have cream-colored prairie points for the moon and stars' Day will have lemon yellow prairie points for the sun.

I am enthralled with this design. The purples look wonderful against all the green and orange. Night is dark enough to read as dark without looking weird, like part of the tiger escaped the border. Pictures and pattern to follow.

Before I tried writing an entrelac pattern, I thought they were far too wordy. It's easy to get lost in all the ink. Surely I could do it faster.

Uhm, yeah. Right. Pride goeth before prejudice, right? It's so easy to explain entrelac, holding up your fingers and drawing squares to illustrate how it goes and how you just knit one square at a time. Explain it in words, and suddenly you have an inky morass of verbiage. Sigh.

The red shawl is moving along despite a small setback. I wanted a modern Shetland lace look, withe a center square surrounded by a thick border and an edging. However, Wings of the Swan, the main feature of this shawl, looks best run lengthwise--so making an inner square and then bordering it log-cabin style was Right Out.

No problemo, thought I, I'll fake a center square by changing stitch pattern and setting it off with a border of YO, K2tog. That'll be easy to work across the top and bottom of the square. Then I'll just work YO, K2tog before and after the pattern, and Bob's my uncle.

Well, except he isn't.

See, last weekend, I got to this point in my knitting, and gleefully began working what I had charted. I write before I knit--that way, I can edit my writing as I go. Plan A doesn't work, so re-think, re-write, and rip. If Plan B works as written, you don't have to try to remember how you were speaking in tongues when you attached the border at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday night and write it down again. (Or reconstruct from fevered notes. In some ways, that's worse than reading your knitting and writing it down.)

One little tiny problem. I'd miscalculated the stitches available to play with by a bunch. And I'd written the directions poorly--I got lost trying to follow them!! Rip, rip, rip. And re-write.

Second try last night. Rocking along, having big fun as this poured off my needles. Hmmm . . . the side YO's look too big. Whazzup wit' dat??

Crapamous! Knitting stitches are WIDER than they are TALL. So the YO's on the sides every other row don't have the same thickness between holes as the YO's on the bottom between stitches. I KNEW that. I just didn't think through the effect. And I didn't swatch this idea before trying it.

You guessed it. Rip, rip, rip and re-write.

And someplace I'm gonna make a note of this; that when you want a square in the middle via changing stitch patterns, you'll want to solve it by either working two rows of faggot all around--straight across the bottom and top, and vertically up the sides OR working YO k2tog across the bottom and working YO K2tog every OTHER right side row up the sides.

Oh yeah, and you might wanna swatch, too. Do a big swatch in worsted and have another little Project Linus binkie

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