Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So much knitting excitement yesterday that one could scarcely contain oneself.

The Schoolhouse Press package arrived at the crack of dawn, as you already know. Mid-morning brought Shirley Paden’s design workbook from Amazon – I’m afraid I didn’t tell you I had ordered that – and when the post itself arrived, it included both the DMC crochet cotton and the Heirloom merino lace.

I cast on my current jabot idea in cotton and have progressed rather briskly. That is about the only good thing I can say about it. I tried to take a picture just now, but was not sorry to discover that the camera battery is flat, sparing embarrassment. Those cotton stitches are slippery and each escape has been less successfully retrieved than the one preceding it. The whole thing is something of a mess by now.

The only thing to do is to go on and finish and block and see what we’ve got. It won’t take all that much longer. It looks, at the moment, as if the result will be somewhat smaller than my target size. It also looks surprisingly ethereal. Surprisingly, for cotton. All this is useful information. Regard it as a test square.

Joannie Newsome knit her second tier to come all the way up to the top of the first tier. They are joined by a three-needle bind-off. The top part of the second tier, where it doesn’t show, is plain garter stitch. The third tier reaches about half-way up the second one. Extra overlap may prove useful, to add substance.

The Mystery Project is within an evening, or at worst two, of completion, and is looking good. At least reasonably so. I could retreat to that for comfort, but I think I’d better press on with cotton and humiliation.

I love “Knitting in Art”. Sundbo is the one who studies scraps of old knitting – she actually owned a shoddy factory. (“Shoddy” is a technical term in that sentence, not a comment.) She has written about this resource before, in “Treasures from a Rag Pile” and other books.

This one is a worthy successor. At the back, there are some patterns, very elliptical and Vibeke-Lind. I am particularly taken with a shrug, which in Norwegian is known endearingly as a “soul warmer”. This particular one has full sleeves gathered in to the wrist, and is decorated with lice. The edging and cuffs must be st st, folded over.

The instructions are about as terse as you can get: “The garment is knitted in one piece and is the same width across the body as for the sleeves. The length of the soul warmer is the sleeve length + ½ the body width x 2. At the cuffs, decrease the stitch count so that the cuff fits the wrist and then knit an edging or a ribbed cuff.”

Now you know.

I was thrown for a while by that bit about decreasing for the wrist – on the first sleeve you’ll be increasing from the wrist. I am painfully literal. And re-reading what I have just typed, the formula for the overall length looks far too big. Since it’s got lice all over, one would want to keep knitting in the round, but steeking shouldn’t be impossible for the centre bit.

Judith, thank you for the pointer to the Ravelry KnitCamp group. It doesn’t entirely dispel my unease, but I feel somewhat more cheerful. Perhaps I should face up to following the story on Twitter, as the organisers suggest


  1. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Someone wrote an art book inspired by scraps from their shoddy factory and you think the pattern for something with lice all over it is endearing. We knitters are an odd lot! I will be chuckling all morning over your post.


  2. The math shouldn't be too difficult. Does the shrug pattern give a gauge? You'll want to knit a gauge swatch to get the stitch count because that will figure in the math.

    Take a favorite sweater and measure across the body at the bust. This measurement will be done three times in the shrug: two sleeves and the body.

    Then measure the sweater length from shoulder to the bottom edge. Multiply the sweater length by the stitch count. That will be the width of the shrug.

    For the cuffs, you'll probably have to experiment a little. I'm assuming that to get to the cuff size you will have to k2tog all the way across at least once with a second decreasing to fit the wrist.

    Hope this helps!

  3. =Tamar11:46 PM

    The way I read it: you are knitting a rectangle. Take the sleeve length, x2 (two sleeves). Add the distance across the body (1 body width). Add them; that's the length of the rectangle, knitted wrist to wrist.
    Then for the width of the rectangle, you want it to cover your torso enough from neck down toward waist, but not be too big around the arms, so compromise rather than casting on more for the body. The wrists will be decreased to/increased from, fairly quickly apparently, but the "edging" sounds like it isn't just stockinette; it even mentions ribbing as a possibility (maybe even lace?).
    If you prefer to knit in the round instead of sewing the rectangle together for the arms, you'll have to divide it to knit flat for the body part, and rejoin for the second arm. (Like a really big miser's purse, only without the ring closure!)
    Since it's side to side, row gauge is important for the ultimate length.

    Thank you for the details of the jabot design.