The long flight overseas was not wasted. I managed to knit a hat during the trip. This is Le Bulot (The Whelk) by Kokolat de la Kokolatiere. I worked it up with some remnants, roughly less than half a skein each of charcoal color Regia Extra Twist Merino, and On-Line Supersocke 100 Harlekin Color for the multi.
I’m pleased with the result, but I can say that the pattern isn’t entirely straightforward. It took some deciphering, plus referring back and forth between the French original, the English translation, and the very informative pix of the finished item, but I got it all together in the end.
One thing that sped up production and minimized the number of things that could go sliding underneath my airplane seat – instead of using the slip one stitch to a cable needle and knit in front, I used a left twist stitch. When I got up to the part of the pattern that included decreases made at selected twists, I worked them by inserting the tip of my right hand needle into the backs of the second and third stitch from the end, knitting them together but leaving them on the right hand needle, then shimmying the right hand needle into position to knit the twisted stitch, and finally slipping the entire unit off the left hand needle. Oh, and while doing that I kept track of which color would follow in the logic of the row, and made sure that the decrease was worked with that one. Not particularly difficult, but not exactly mindless, either.
On the yarns, I’ve used the Supersocke many times before. It’s a standard issue self striping sock yarn, with an interesting mix of bright colors in a rather conservative small repeat. On socks, about four full repeats of the entire color sequence will occur in the foot part. I was less pleased with the Regia Extra Twist Merino. It’s nice and soft, and looks good when knit up, but for a sock weight yarn it splits like crazy. No word yet on durability, but I’ve knit a hat, admittedly not the most torturous use for the stuff.
I’ve finally unpacked my knitting and stitching stash. Working on my big green sampler right now will be problematic, though. I don’t have a good light for evening stitching, although I can haul a kitchen chair to the big windows and work on it during the day. I may ease my stitching withdrawal symptoms by working on a smaller in-hoop project. I brought some supplies and a kit with me, so I’m armed.
In the mean time, I’ve embarked on the MMario Knits Dragon Stole, an extended exercise in filet knitting.
I’d played with filet knitting before, but was not satisfied with the methods I had tried. MMario uses three worked rows per graphed chart line, and while not as teeny, nor as precisely geometric as filet crochet, works quite nicely. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to apply his method to my huge warehouse of Italian Renaissance graphed patterns and have some cross-pollination fun.