THINKING AND WAKER’S LEARN TO KNIT AFGHAN

I’m not sure what the next challenge should be. I really should finish the Galaga hat. I’m still working on the Kyoto (finished with the body pieces, now about a quarter of the way through the two sleeves). But having partially finished things has never stopped be from beginning something new before.

One possibility is to do something lacy taking advantage of the color properties of Noro’s Kureyon sock yarn. I couldn’t leave Wild & Woolly (in Lexington, MA – my favorite yarn shop) without it because these colors latched on to my magpie self and refused to let go.

noro-sock.jpg

I’ve been told that some folk think this yarn is too twisted and just a little bit harsh for socks. While not Regia smooth, it’s not particularly harsh to me. I suspect that like most Noro yarns, while they never achieve Merino softness, washing will make a tremendous difference. And for my purposes, rewinding to reduce twist and in the process increasing loft, isn’t optimal. I like my lace yarns to be tightly twisted.

But there remains the question of what to do with it. Something directional might work well with the repeat lengths, but so many other people have done Entrelac in these yarns. The same method I used for the Kureopatora’s Snake might be an idea – upping the number of stitches across to yield the same finished dimensions in the smaller gauge – but I want to do something else that’s more airy. Mating lacy stitches with the riot of hues is always a big challenge because textures tend to fight with the patterns produced by the yarn’s transition among colors. I’ll have to do more thinking on this one.

My other looming temptation is one of two tightly twisted little knots of Malabrigio Merino laceweight. I bought two – one in Emerald Blue (blues and teals) and one in Amoroso (a stunning garnet/cherry blend). I wound the blue into a ball last night.

malabrigiolace.jpg

The super-soft single-ply yarn relaxed and got considerably more lofty in the process – a bit of a disappointment for me, but not fatal. It just means I will have to use a much larger needle than I originally anticipated. Also some teasing apart was necessary because the thin strands were in the process of mating with each other, and some were slightly fulled into their neighbors. Thankfully I did not have to break the yarn to tame it. This slightly variegated yarn presents a smaller color challenge than the Noro, but a larger one due to skein length. 470 yards should be more than enough for a small scarf. To be sure that I will not run out mid-project, I will need to work it differently than the pieces I’ve been doing. I would revert to the method I used for Kombu – first knitting a narrow width of edging (the bottom), picking up stitches along the top and then knitting both the body and the left and right edgings at the same time. That way I could see how much I had left at all times, and maximize the scarf’s length by continuing until I had just enough yarn left to do the small strip of edging at the top. Or perhaps I’d chart out something with two decorative ends and included borders…

In the mean time, going back to a single color world – I can report that Elder Daughter is making excellent progress on her Walker Learn to Knit Afghan Book project. She’s using Cascade 220, all various greens and creams, bought one skein at at time from the orphan end of dyelot bin. She is going more or less in order, with skips ahead dictated by how much of what color she has on hand at any one time. I suspect that she’ll soon start improvising because she’s beginning to accumulate a stash of little leftover balls too small to use even for the book’s two-tone squares. Here’s the collection to date:

asquare-all1.jpg

and a few close-ups (unblocked):

1asquare-1.jpg 2asquare-2.jpg 3asquare-3.jpg
4asquare-4.jpg 5asquare-5.jpg6 asquare-6.jpg

So far she’s covered basic knit and purl (4 above), twisted stitches (1), simple directional decreases (2), yarn-overs (2), simple increases, cables (5), mosaic knitting (3,6). All in easy to digest aliquots and explained well enough that she’s been able to noodle it out all on her own. To be fair, I did show her a couple of tricks for 1×1 twisted stitch cables, but that was just a hands-on for the same methods described in her book. If you’re an experiential learner and you’re looking for a nice survey course in basic knitting, you might benefit from this classic bit of instruction. My only criticism of it is that it was written before Walker moved to charting – a vital skill these days as more and more resources rely heavily on that technique.

Needless to say, I’m quite proud of Elder Daughter and her ongoing project.


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One response

  1. Wow, the Elder Daughter’s squares are amazing! I sure couldn’t do work that nice when I was a teenager. I’m especially intrigued by the diagonal colorwork square. She was brave enough to do the cables with seed stitch borders. See stitch– ugh!

    When I was in high school I was boringly stuck in Feather and Fan stitch, and Trinity Stitch (did a vest and skirt outfit with a shawl). She’s certainly more adventurous than I was.

    Of course I didn’t have an enabling mother….

    –Kathryn

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