Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A brace of brace liners

A brace is a pair of like things. I have been knitting like things for the past week. All too frequently, I get bored with knitting the same types of things. This is not exactly the same as second sock syndrome. I don't have that. To me, a pair of socks is a finished object. So until the pair is done, I am fine. What really bores me is knitting the same thing multiple times. Like knitting 6 pairs of socks one after another or, in this case, knitting 3 pairs of wrist brace liners. As I said a few weeks ago, I wear wrist braces at night for carpal tunnel syndrome. These brace liners are comfy and easy to launder and keep my braces fresh and clean for a long time.

To keep my interest up, I use these sorts of things as opportunities to experiment with different technique and observe the results. I am going to share some of these experiments with you today. This is the cuff of the liner. These are longer than on fingerless mitts because the braces come down much farther on my arm. Also, they are tight fitting, so the liners have to fit tightly to the shape of my forearm. I found that a 1x1 shaped cuff works very well.

In the first cuff, above, I did the decreases right at the end of round mark. So the first st and the last st in the round were decreased. In the one below, the decreases are done 1 st in from the mark. So the second and penultimate st were decreased. You can see the difference in the appearance of the two cuffs. Which do you like better?
Here's a photo of the second cuff as it is laid on its side. You can see the intact column of knit sts along the edge. There is a matching column of purl sts on the other side but this made for a better photo.
I also use these as opportunities to experiment with solutions to problems. If one does this on a normal object, one has to rip out unsuccessful solutions. In a project like this, it doesn't matter as much. For example, in the last set I made (5 years ago?), you can see a tiny hole where I began the cast on to compensate for the sts set aside for the thumb. This hole is caused by the first cast on st that is disturbing the lovely st that was its genesis. I have tried a knit-on cast on, a cable cast on, a provisional cast on, and an e-wrap cast on. The e-wrap and the provisional cast ons don't cause the hole. The other two do. Of course, one can close up the hole in the finishing but isn't it better not to have it in the first place? I didn't bother sewing it up in this old liner.

Now, the problem with the e-wrap cast on in this yarn, is that it stays loose. The successful e-wrap cast on needs to be really tight as it has a lot of play in it. Also, it is a pain to do a provisional cast on for 8 sts in a liner that no one will ever see! What to do?

Voila! I cast on the first st using the e-wrap cast on and then switched to the knit-on cast on. It was still hard to get that first st tight but it is only one st. Note that the hole has vanished. I took a photo of the liner-in-process so you can see that I didn't cover it up with the finishing.
Lastly, you can see what happens when the e-wrap is used. This is a cotton/elastic yarn and so one has to knit it with a very light tension on the yarn. When knitting that way, the e-wrap stays loose. You can see the holes here in the thumb gusset increases.

In the cuff below, I used the 'knit in the st below' increase. See how much nicer that increase line is? This is a good example of varying the technique based on the yarn. The e-wrap increase works very well when the gauge is tight (as it is here) because it puts no stress on existing sts. I don't like the technique of picking up the running thread and making a st from it unless the gauge is looser, in which case it works very well. But given the yarn here, the knit in the st below is a much better choice. Understanding these parameters in one's knitting is the way to ensure the best results. It is ultimately knitters' choice as to which technique one uses, but selecting the right technique means a more polished and perfect result.

If you are wondering where the blocked Stor Rund Dug shawl is, it is still in the bag unblocked. We had a major power outage here and I had no power over the weekend. Blocking a shawl was the last thing on my mind, especially as I was also ill. That is also why this post is late. If all goes well, I will block the shawl this weekend and post pictures. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Preeti said...

The red liner shows the best results, small details like this make such a huge difference in the finished look. Thanks for sharing your tips.