As you can probably tell by the off-the-end-of-the pier style of my knitting and stitching projects here, not everything is fully swatched, graphed out, or perfectly planned before it’s realized.  This may horrify some readers, but it’s the way I think.  I prefer to learn on the fly, and don’t mind ripping back or starting again.  For me, exploration is more fun than final product.

Case in point – the latest Wingspan.  Let’s critique this thing to shreds:


Things I like:

  • The basic Wingspan pattern
  • The larger needle size/gauge for this particular yarn
  • Using dice to determine hole size and placement

Things I don’t like:

  • The color progression of this particular yarn
  • This yarn in garter stitch
  • The overall (near) finished look
  • The combo of color, stitch and technique is too busy

One thing that made the last two Wingspans so dramatic was the long and gradual shading of the Zauberball Crazy.  This was achieved by Zauberball’s dual strand ragg plies each cycling independently through their color ranges.  In this full strand as opposed to ply-dyed yarn, color change is abrupt and the colors themselves are high-contrast.  Speckles of the next color dot each block.  (Now I remember starting socks with this ball, and not liking them either).  The holes look less like airy bubbles, and more like the savaging of a demented moth army.  And the eyelets, which work nicely in stockinette, look sloppy in garter stitch. 

In total, I was Not Pleased.  So this has been totally ripped back.  I may play a bit with other stitches and this yarn, but in spite of it being a looonnnnngggg repeat, I am not confident that it’s right for a garter stitch Wingspan.  However, the technique of placing eyelets in a fabric using a randomizing device to determine placement is still gnawing at me, as is thinking about other possible Wingspan variants.  As a single project, this is a failure, but as a learning experience, it was valuable.

In other news, I’ve added to our house arsenal:


It’s a Korean-made sickle, sharp and sturdy.  Similar ones have been used in Japan for centuries.  They often figure in Anime, Samurai (and gangster) movies, both in their agricultural context and as weapons.  We are close-in suburban here at String Central, and not out in the land of gentrified sprawl, so why do we need such a thing?

Giant grass:


I cut the patches on the side and front of the house each fall, just after they bloom but before they scatter seed.  I don’t want to be responsible for colonizing the neighborhood with the stuff, and I don’t want it to sit looking forlorn and frowzy through the winter.  To date I’ve been clipping each stalk with a pruner, but that’s painful and time consuming.  I am hoping that this tool will allow a swifter handful by handful harvest.

For those concerned with possible waste – I strip the leaves off the stems and re-use the stalks to build my bean trellis each spring.  The leaves go to town composting. I also post about availability of (free) plant stakes each year on the local mailing list, and put them out on the curb for other gardeners to take.

2 responses

  1. That sickle looks amazing. I wish I could see you use it and learn how to use it too. It looks absurdly useful; I can’t remember how many times we’ve had some horrible tree-thing popping up in our flowerbeds that resisted normal snipping.

  2. Hello! I have been following your wingspan for awhile, and this particular permutation has possibilities if the eyelets are more numerous. The shawls I’ve studied from Eastern Europe have pattern repeats right next to each other, so that overall, the eye can pick up the repeat regardless of the size of the pattern. It has to repeat enough times for the eye to make a connection. I understand the idea of randomizing the placement, but perhaps there can’t be any fill between patterns. So even if you are using a complicated algorithm for determining number of repeats and type of pattern, it is actually the placement of the repeat which will determine its success in the overall piece. Also look into stochastic algorithms, which change in size with complexity, usually larger to smaller, with more complexity. A non stochastic example but same idea in shape is the nautilus shell. The venous system is also a possible ex. Cheers, LJM

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