Saturday, September 15, 2007

Designing on the fly part II

Ambition is not a good thing. I thought I could do a theme a week! Well, maybe a theme of every 2 weeks or a theme of a month is more likely. But this is very similar to my knitting. I always think I am going to finish things a lot faster than I actually do.

Anyway, more on the large black thing. You can see the st pattern in the swatch above. That is 1.5 repeats of the pattern above the garter st divider. The swatch is blocked so while you can see the different heights of the knit and purl sections, the swatch is actually quite flat.

I put in the garter st dividers when I switch needle sizes in a swatch, to allow me to compare the qualities of the fabric created by the different sizes side by side. I typically swatch at least 3 needle sizes to see how they affect the resulting fabric. But in this case I didn't see a lot of difference so I went with the smaller size as the yarn is alpaca. A tighter gauge is better for stretch control.

Here you can see the wrap itself. It is scrunched up towards the top as it is still on the needles. At the very top you can see the pins I inserted to mark my short row turns. This is the unblocked fabric and you can see how much more pleated it looks. That is the characteristic of the pattern that I think will counteract the alpaca's tendency to grow. Time will tell if it works.

I have completed the neck shaping on one side and have started on the back. which is unshaped. It is half the width of the wrap. The neck shaping is similar to the neck shaping for a V-neck sideways knit cardigan.

The designing on the fly part comes about because there are times when I just can't count. The pattern repeat is 28 rows but I originally counted it as 14. So my first attempt at calculating the short row turns was off by a lot. I found I was running out of sts faster than I was building up the width of the front. I've modified the schematic I put in the last post on the wrap to add in the measurements and the direction of knitting . You may want to go back and look at the schematic.

After I ripped and re-did the front neck shaping I had a sudden, scary thought. I had partial repeats at the center front! That in itself is not a bad thing as the front bands will break up the front so as long as the two are mirrored, it is not a problem. But the back is a whole 'nother story. The back needs to have a smooth flow so that when I'm done with the other front shaping, the back and the front end up at the same row in the pattern. Also, partial repeats in the center back will look amateurish. Back to the drawing board.

I stopped knitting and started charting. That is the beauty of charting. It allows you to see what is going to happen and you can play with alternatives without too much wasted time and effort. I first put in the rows that matched my completed left front. Then I flipped them to show the rows that would have to be done to match the to-be-knit right front. That left the lovely little gap in the middle where the partial rows are. Here's the math:

My short row shaping is 32 rows each. So there are 64 rows for the two fronts total.

My pattern repeat is 28 rows. So the back is minimally two repeats which is 56 rows.

That leaves a gap of 8 rows.

I tried playing around with little motifs to fill in the 8 rows. Given they have to be mirrored, that is not a lot. So I am just going to put in a set of small triangles that will have their points facing down to the bottom of the wrap. While I'm not there yet in terms of knitting, and I may change my mind when I get there, my mind is now calm because I have a solution to the problem. Whew! I can knit again.

The bottom line is that there are always opportunities to fix problems in such a way that it looks intentional. My mother taught me this when I was a teenager and we made a cake for a party. It fell. Badly. The center was concave. It was dense. We cut it into pieces and made a lovely hard sauce to pour on it and served it that way. No one knew we meant to make a cake. It tasted like pudding. We got compliments on it. My mother said 'Why tell people that it didn't turn out as intended? Tell them we meant to make it the way it turned out' and I have lived by that motto ever since.

Mistakes are good learning experiences and one should learn from them and tell others about them so they can learn from our mistakes. But sometimes it doesn't matter and as long as the finished product makes the creator and the recipients happy, the mistake can be turned into a design feature.

And speaking of admitting mistakes, I have to find knitting friends who are not named Maggie. Darn! Maggie Brown, super lace knitter, I owe you a huge apology. I didn't even see the little 'b' at the end of the name. How can I make it up to you? How about a lovely adult beverage at next year's Camp or some luscious yarn?

For the rest of you who don't know her, Maggie Brown is my travel companion to Knitting Camp and was my room-mate this year. I can't believe that I didn't recognize her scholarly erudition in the Latin correction. Mea culpa, Maggie!

1 comment:

MaggieB said...

Well I guess i have to comment on this one. Super lace knitter, no, but lace enthusiast yes. You could call me Molly (unsinkable Molly Brown) as my son's coach does incessantly...

I enjoy your thoughts on the flow of knitting: stop and ponder and chart... and move on. I do it but have never verbalized the process. The point-down triangles sound like they will be a nice touch-- straight down the middle of the back?