Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Turning a corner

The finished swatch of the lace edging.
I think it turned out well.
I went with the stockinette rather than the original garter. The garter hid the pattern too much. I had to redo the chart a third time; there was a mistake I didn’t catch until I got to the tenth row.

Five repeats of the lace edging per side should add enough lace, without overdoing it. The math is easy enough: 72 rows per repeat divided by 2 (you only attach the edging every other row for it to lay flat), multiplied by 5 repeats equals 180 stitches per side. But then there are the corners. I’ve never turned a corner in knitting before, and designing my own was quite a challenge.

I know of two ways to turn a knitted corner*, easing the boarder** or a short row turn***. The math required to figure out how to ease the pattern worried me. But you only need one extra stitch for a short row corner. I liked that math.

So, I picked up 101 stitches per side around the blanket. I had to fudge a bit, but not much. Then I knit around, and around, and around, yarning over twice per corner until I had 181 stitches per side. Easy, and rather repetitive. Designing the lace corners were neither. Getting your knitting to turn 90 degrees, while keeping the style of the edge, is not the easiest thing in the world.

Working on both projects kept me from going crazy from either. When the lace became too much, I switched to the relaxing stockinette. When the stockinette became too mindless, I worked on getting the corner right (pun intended). I tried out four different corner swatches and charted out at least five other possible corners.

This is the whole lace edging swatch with the four different attempts at a corner.
I finally decided on this one.
It's the closest to the image I had in my head.
I’ve finished the center stockinette, and started the boarder. I'll post pictures of the whole thing once it is done, and given away.

Next time: There is a fabulous LYS in Houston.

*I’m sure there are more.
**When you ease a boarder, instead of picking up a stitch on the center every other row, you pick up the same stitch three times on one side of the corner, four times in the middle, and three times on the other side. Or at least I think that’s how you do it.
*** When working short rows you knit a row and turn before you get to the end. Then you knit back and forth in the center, eventually going back to knitting the whole row. You end up with a section of knitting that has more knitting in the center than at the edges. This can be used for toes and heals in socks, and also for including more space in sweaters for bustier ladies. Here’s a better explanation of short rows by Cat Bordhi.

Friday, March 23, 2012

North Dallas LYS

A few weeks ago, while visiting friends in Dallas, I happened upon Holley’s Yarn Shoppe.
The ball of yarn with needles through it for the ‘o’ is a metal sculpture. Isn’t it neat?
Okay, so I didn't happen upon it so much as pump my friend for information as to where the nearest yarn store was and drag him and DH to it. When you enter the shop there’s a reading nook where you can browse through the latest knitting magazines.
It is also where a bored DH, or random friend you dragged with you, can hang out while you pet the yarn.
The magazine rack was made by a friend of the store.
I love the little yarn ball detail.
There was the required wall of needles.

Those are giant pegboards. Cool idea.
 They’ve only been open a year and a half, and already they have a nice selection.
From the front door
So many yarn stores have these square cubbyholes to hold yarn. Wish I had enough room to keep my yarn this way.
Scrumptious. Also on a pegboard, what a great way to show off yarn.
I couldn’t stop by a yarn store and not buy anything. But I was deep in baby blanket land, and didn't want to distract myself with new yarn. What to do? Buy a book about knitting dogs, of course. I picked it up because I liked Kay's review, and I've some friends and family who need dogs in knitted form.

If you are ever in the North Dallas area, check out this little shoppe. There are a few tables where you can sit and knit. It had that “my neighborhood yarn shop” vibe: cozy, welcoming, and a place to find good knitting advice. They admired my yarn choice for the baby blanket; they know how to make a knitter feel special. And you can tell they know what they are talking about, just by the caliber of the projects hanging around.
All the different strings that would be required impressed the heck out of this intarsia novice.

Next time: Lace, baby blanket, and the corners are going to kill me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Uncharted Mess

When last we left our intrepid knitter she was contemplating charts and lace edging. Specifically the No. 3 For Grace McGregor lace edging. From what she could make out peering at the little bitty black and white photo, she thought that it might be the edging she was looking for. There were triangles at the edge and squares in the middle and a zigzag line in between that, should everything else fall into place, it would bring the whole baby blanket together.

… Okay, enough of the third person.

I’d gotten a few lace edge patterns under my belt, so I thought I’d try charting out a really old one and maybe make it better.
Knitted Laces by Lillius Hilt (Needlecraft Vol. XI, No. 1) No. 3 for Grace McGregor if you would like to print out one of your own.
You’ll notice that this is a 72 row repeat. I wasn’t really thinking about that when I started charting it. I figured that out when I had to use three sheets of paper to get it charted.

My first attempt. I included all the knit stitches as lines instead of just leaving them blank.
Something is not right. There are extra stitches at the end that don't match up.
I figured it out when I re-charted it without the lines for knits.
You can see the pattern easier once you strip out the extra stuff.
Once I’d done that, I realized that in the pattern they’d missed a bit. They'd forgotten to include a line of yarn-overs, starting at row 65, and that’s why the stitch count was off.

No extra stitches in boxes.
I haven’t actually test knit the edge because I think it’s going to eat a bunch of yarn. I think I want to do it in stockinette rather than the original garter. I’m fairly sure that it’s the pattern I want to use, but I need to get from 406 stitches (I think, I haven’t picked them up yet) to a multiple of 72 (plus a few extra rows so that the corners lay flat). And I need the repeats to be even around the blanket, and for the corners to turn right… And it is at this point my head explodes and I want to run to the nearest knitting design guru and throw myself on their mercy to please come up with a pattern for me.

So instead of joining an ashram in search of said guru, I took my knitting with me to my parents' place for dinner. While telling my Mom about my current project, she suggested that three colors with three different lace patterns might just be a tad busy.
She asked, "How about doing the middle bit plain?"
I said, "Stockinette? That's easy, and I can increase until I get to the correct number of stitches for the lace edging I want to do? Brilliant!"  (Thanks Mom!)

So that's what I'm doing. I still haven't decided if I'm going to be doing the pattern garter or stockinette edging, but for now I'm going to work on the bit in the middle and let my brain rest.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Living on the edge

When I first started this baby blanket journey, I went searching for lace centers. I came across quite a few edgings that I thought were pretty but I was focused on the center. Now that I’ve found the center and finished it, I’ve been indulging in lace edgings. This is putting the cart before the horse because I want to do a bit in between the center and the edge, but I figured that I’d need to know how many stitches to end the middle bit on.

So I scoured the internet for lace edgings, and boy did I find them. I was drawn to the older patterns. I wanted the traditional look of lace in the nontraditional color I’d picked. I found a great collection in the knitting section of the Antique Pattern Library. I spent quite a while reading old patterns but the Knitted Laces by Lillius Hilt (Needlecraft Vol. XI, No. 1) caught my eye. And of those No. 3 for Grace McGregor, seemed like what I was looking for. But I decided to try out other ones first.

First I tried out the English Wide Lace:
Garter on the left, stockinette on the right.
I did it in both garter stitch and stockinette and adding three garter stitches at the end. The end garter stitches didn’t work out, but I think that the stockinette showed the lace off better.

Then I decided to string all the different possible edgings together.
From right to left: Perfection Leaf Lace, Betsy’s Rose Leaf Lace, Grandmother’s Edging and the last three are variations of Rule 58
I found Rule 58 Lace Edging in Trimmings: A Sample from Piecework on the KnittingDaily site. It wasn’t written out using modern terms. There was "n" for narrow, instead of "k2tog" for knit two together. So, I decided I’d try my hand at interpreting and charting. This was my first foray into creating my own charts.  I may have gone a bit mad, but hey, we're all mad here. Since the style was old, I charted Rule 58 out first including the knit stitches:
The knit stitches are the 'l's.
But I couldn’t see the design very well so I took them out.
So much easier to see the pattern.
I had already played with the Grandmother’s trimming, and liked the way it looked. So I changed the over all pattern from garter stitch to stockinette - that way the design is easier to see.
Stockinette on right, garter on left.
It was nice but there was something missing, so I went back to my inspiration boards. I remembered that No. 3 for Grace McGregor was an edging I’d been interested in. And then the charting exploded.

Next time: So many different charts your head will spin - mine did.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Center found!

I’ve found my center. 
Well, I’ve found the center of the baby blanket. My center requires way more yoga.
It went from being this big about two weeks ago.
To this big, now.

The center is done. The stitch pattern is Heatherbee’s Honeycomb.

Next time: Lace edgings and very old patterns.