Just after I launched yesterday’s post into the ether, I was visited by a Moment of Illumination.
That four-row chart for the edging of my Japanese hat is there to show precisely how the edging goes around the ear-flap. On the third of the four rows, there are decreases at the inner corners – where the flap grows out of the hat – and increases at the outer edge. Obviously, since you’re working in the round, you’re going to encounter one flap from the back and the other one from the front. There is a little code at the top of the chart (it had been puzzling me a lot) with arrows pointing right and left – and with the Japanese characters for “right” and “left”, it turns out – to reassure you that you treat both earflaps the same no matter which direction you’re going. Decrease, increase, increase, decrease.
That’s pretty well it, then. A great many Japanese characters remain un-interpreted, even when you allow for the fact that some of them must say “hat” and “earflap”. And I’m still slightly puzzled by that chain around the earflap, and quite possibly around the entire lower edge of the hat.
I’ve ordered the “Hand Knitting Techniques Book” from Needle Arts, a companion work, apparently, to the stellar “Clear and Simple Knitting Symbols” which I’ve already got. I am hoping that the chain will appear there.
Maybe this pattern doesn't use a provisional cast-on at all? Maybe the chain around the bottom of the hat is just the cast-on edge, with a crochet chain added to the earflaps to facilitate a smooth pick-up all round?
Never have I had such fun with a pattern before casting on a stitch. We’re going to Strathardle today – back by Tuesday or so – and since the whole Strathardle-project thing is up in the air, I think I’m going to try the hat. I’ll take Matt’s socks along to fall back on in case things go wrong.
The pattern seems to use something like DK yarn, a quality in which my stash is sadly lacking. (I’ve got tons of lace-weight, Shetland jumper-weight, and Koigu-and-sock weight, fingering I think you’d call it.) I’ve decided to try using the left-overs from last winter’s Grandson Sweater.
This has been such an exciting intellectual adventure that I wish there was a Japanese sweater pattern which transported me with delight, so that I could throw myself into its interpretation. There are lots I admire, but nothing that makes me want to knit it Right This Moment.
See you next week.