Archive for April, 2009

Looking at Lace

I’m sitting here with coffee and marveling at how much nice effect you can get from a very easy lace pattern!  I wonder if, other than faggotting, Vine Lace is the easiest of all?  I mean, there are only 2 pattern rows and they’re actually the same … it’s just that they’re offset by 1 stitch (either K3 at the beginning of the row or K2).  And it results in a nice wavy fabric that looks very effective with a multicolored yarn!

But the wrap I’m working on now includes the “little arrowhead” pattern and that’s pretty easy too.  I don’t usually publish a pattern in a post (especially when I’m not even finished with the project yet!) but here it is for discussion’s sake:

Little Arrowhead and Feather Faggotting Lace Wrap

multiple of 11 plus 4  (I cast on 59)

R1, R3 (WS) : K1 YO P2TOG K1 P7 * K1 YO P2TOG K1

R2: K1 YO P2TOG K1 * K1 YO SSK K1 K2TOG YO K2 YO P2TOG K1

R4: K1 YO P2TOG K1 * K2 YO SSKP YO K3 YO P2TOG K1

SSKP = slip two stitches as if to knit, K1, pass the two slipped stitches over

The Little Arrowhead has only two pattern rows and the differences between them are small.  I inserted some faggotting between each repeat and that adds a tiny bit to the complexity because now you can’t just mindlessly purl the Wrong Side rows.

Faggoting is a 1-row pattern, so you do the same thing on both the RS and WS.   It’s nice to use if you want to add or strengthen a vertical line in your design or if you want to add some airiness to your lace.  As mentioned before, I also think it makes a nice side border.  It’s easy to see the 4-stitch faggotting pattern in the Wrong Side rows (just ignore the P7!).  When you knit a YO K2TOG and then turn the knitting around, it looks reversed.  So if you knit a YO K2TOG on the back, you automatically balance the biasing.  Simple and elegant!  There’s lots of variation in faggotting, the one I’m using does a P2TOG instead of a K2TOG.

The way I see the Little Arrowhead part of the pattern is:

R2: K1 YO [5 stitches becomes 3 stitches] YO K1

R4: K2 YO [3 stitches becomes 1 stitch] YO K2

The YO stitches add 2 to the stitch count, and the operation in the middle eats 2 stitches up so the stitch count comes even again.  In R4, a couple of stitches are “borrowed” from the center and added to the outside, which shifts the YOs toward the center.  Now, all that’s left is to come up with some stuff in the middle that uses the available stitch count to eat up 2 stitches.  In R2, it’s SSK K1 K2TOG.  In R4, it’s SSKP.  See how pretty and symmetrical these two pattern rows are?  If you’re adding YOs on one side only (in this case, the Right Side) , then you have to do that if you don’t want biasing.

I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I look at lace patterns.  It not only helps me memorize the pattern but it’s really helpful when trying to figure out a mistake!

I don’t have much to illustrate this post cuz my wrap is still in progress, but I made a wrap last summer which used the same idea.  I used the “Faggotting and Beehive Lace” pattern from Barbara Walker’s first “Treasury of Knitting Patterns”.  You can click on the picture to see my Ravelry project, if you want:

Hydrangea Lace Wrap

Hydrangea Lace Wrap

Wow!

My knitting activity didn’t just taper off, it dropped off a cliff!

When you last heard from me, I was working on (post)Christmas knitting projects.  I had just finished the next-to-last of them and was ready to get back to the last one (already in progress).  Well, that’s about the time I just stopped all knitting-related activities!

I recently decided to take a new direction in my non-knitting life by expanding my volunteer activities into self-employment.  This began while Christmas knitting was in progress and accelerated rapidly as I immersed myself deeper and deeper in the process of investigating different options.  Exploration, research, planning, experimenting, learning, changing direction a few times … from this, a plan has begun to take shape! 

That last Christmas project is off the needles now, but it moved at a much slower pace.  I didn’t want it to be a chore (part of the fun is thinking of the intended recipient and putting those “good vibes” into the knitting), so I only worked on it when I had a good stretch of quality knitting time … and those were hard to come by!  Even the 2-3 hours of train travel every week were lost because I now ride the bus more and it turns out that knitting on the bus is a motion-sickness inducer.  Boo!

It seems as if the activity for my new project is shifting to a different mode now.  It was wide-open at first, now it’s more and more focused.   So knitting is moving back in to the gaps again!  I have some WIPs that have been lingering since before the holidays and I have two new-ish projects, both easy.

Easy knitted cowl

Easy knitted cowl

The first is a cowl that I’m improvising to go with a pair of fingerless mitts already completed.  I’m using yarn that I bought for Christmas and decided was not a “manly” enough color.  It’s great for me though!

EasyKnitted Cotton Wrap

EasyKnitted Cotton Wrap

The second is a lace wrap made from ecru cotton that’s been waiting in the stash for springtime … it started as a swatch for a kitchen tablecloth but morphed to “placemat” when I realized I don’t have the quantities for a tablecloth (yet) and then to “wrap” when I was pretty sure I DO have the quantities for that!

The non-knitting project?  I volunteer tutor English as a Second Language (ESL)  in Philadelphia a couple of times a week.  From Day 1, I have wanted to expand into some form of related employment and in the fall I began to more actively look into  that.  To cut to the chase, I’ve decided to go into business for myself offering business and academic tutoring to paying “learners”.   I intend to continue the volunteer work and hope that the two activities will complement each other … that whatever skills I develop through either activity will benefit the other.


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