I’m still chugging my way through my blocking pile. Here’s my Jang Print ‘o Wave piece, finished and blocked. I admit I could have done a better job blocking the thing, but it’s not horrible.
Due to the yarn and needle size I used, it ended up being stole sized rather than conforming to typical scarf dimensions. As I noted in my earlier posts, the endorsed rate of attachment is a bit ruffly. I prefer a flatter piece. The corners however turned out better than expected. The ease factor I used was (for the most part) enough to flare nicely around the corner in my non-stretchy linen, but “going round” rather than mitering does make the ends of the stole flare out a bit. If I were to knit this again, I’d work out a complementary mitered or fixed piece corner instead of just easing the edging around.
And on presents – a great pal of mine, co-conspirator, sometimes employer/sometimes co-worker/sometimes employee, fellow Kim, leader of the pack, and all around kindred spirit deserves a pair of fingerless mittens:
These were adapted from my previously shared Fingerless Whatevers pattern. Although they’ve missed the worst of winter’s weather, they’re on their way.
The blocking joy never stops. (Perhaps that’s why I put it of forever). Here’s the most current piece, pinned out and drying:
This is the Black Lace Doodle scarf I was working on a month or so ago. To be fair, it’s not entirely black, it’s more of a deep gray/tobacco color, knit from leftovers from my big Woven Diamonds shawl. Better pix away from the checky blocking sheet in the next post (promise!)
Finally – a private note to friend-from-elder-days, Wendy. I tried leaving a comment on your blog about your offer of the ancient photo, to no avail. I’d love to see the thing. I might even have one of you (of similar vintage) in trade. All my best to the family, two and four-footed, alike.
Back from a business trip, I exhibit productivity.
I was able to get work in during the plane rides and layovers. I’ve managed to get quite a bit further along on the Wave scarf’s edging: Overall, if I were to do this pattern again instead of following it verbatim, I’d change the ratio of attachment to make it a bit less ruffly, and I’d up the rate of attachment at the corners to diminish the cupping that occurs at the corners.
These things might have been less in evidence if I had chosen a wool yarn for my stole. I used linen, with very little stretch. When you use an unstretchy cotton, silk, or linen yarn for a pattern written out for wool, you need to be much more precise in the rate of attachment and in working the corners because you can’t rely on natural elasticity to even out tight or loose bits.
Obviously aggressive blocking is called for here, even though it will be only partly successful.
As to where I went and what I did – if you saw a tall gal with glasses and short dark hair knitting on this project in Logan, Chicago Midway or Dallas/Ft. Worth airports over the weekend – that was me.
Back to the Print o’ the Wave scarf/stole. I didn’t have enough time to sit down and noodle out a hat last night. Invention tends to happen over the weekends here at string. Instead I continued on with the knit-on edging. I’m within an hour or so of completing the second side and working the second corner. At that point I’ll be about half done, as I began my edging pretty close to the first corner.
The thing looks wing-shaped because I’ve got a zillion remaining live stitches picked up around the circumference all on a single circular.
Aside from the error in the chart described before, I’ve experienced no problems with the edging. It’s taking forever, but if you’re a process knitter like me, that’s a design feature, not a bug. The only remaining debate about this piece is to whom I will give it as a holiday present.
Back to the project in hand. I’m up to adding the edging to the Print o’ the Wave scarf, which in part sparked the past two days’ digression into general edge-affixing techniques.
I am sad to say I have errata for the pattern as available now. I wrote to the author over the weekend to report it. While the mistake is not something that will trip up people who are comfortable with lace construction, people doing this scarf as a first or second lace project will be a bit more frustrated.
In Chart B – the graph for the edging, the next to last stitch box on rows 9, 11, 13, and 15 should be a K2tog, not a plain knit.
A good way to “proof” graphed lace patterns is described in the Lewis Knitting Lace Book published by Taunton. It’s in several others, too but I think Lewis outlined it the most clearly. To paraphrase, special techniques and weird row-perturbers aside,, for most simple lace to remain at a constant width, with left and right edges parallel, the number of stitches increased must equal the number of stitches decreased. For lace to grow wider, there must be more increases than decreases. Conversely, for lace to narrow, there must be more decreases than increases.
On the edging in question, we know that rows 9, 11, 13, and 15 are the ones on which the pattern narrows, forming the “downhill” side of each repeat’s gentle pyramid point. But if you count up the increases and decreases on (for example) row 9, you end up with four stitches added (all YO increases), and four stitches decremented (two k2tog, and one k3tog double decrease); yet the pattern shows a net one-stitch loss on each odd numbered row. Since the visual lines established in the design are very strong, there’s only one logical place where that extra stitch can be lost – the next to last position on the row.
I have to admit that I was a bit tired when I first played with the edging pattern and kept messing up. But I muddled through, and then compared this variant of the Ocean edging to those in my other reference books (most notably the most excellent Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller). Those patterns do put an additional decrease in the penultimate position on each “downhill” row, so my guess has precedent.
I also have to moan about another minor lace tragedy, visible in the photo below:
All that muddling about at the beginning, starting the trim and ripping it back resulted in a dropped stitch over near the beginning of the edging (I’m working along the top edge of the stole first). Aaargh! I don’t want to rip back, so I’ll have to repair it tonight.
My red doilies are still damp, so there’s no unpinning them for show and tell today, but I’m still working on the Wave Scarf, so I’ll report on that instead. I have taken yet another significant departure from reality as described by the original pattern.
First, I decided to dispense with knitting from the center out to make the two ends identical when worn. I didn’t like the visible seam-like line down the center of the back. So I just knit the piece end to end. Then I decided I wanted to make the thing longer, so I did. Which means that the carefully worked out in-pattern directions for picking up around the edge and working the small eyelet divider rows are all not going to work. I looked at the numbers of the original and working out the pattern row multiple vs. the available stitches for attachment. And then I winged it.
I ended up with more than 17 repeats of the 12 row cycle. I had about 20. Picking up stitches around the outside, I needed more than the original, so I ended up with 80 stitches per short end, plus 420 stitches per side (7×60), plus 8 more (2 for each corner). Then I worked one row of plain knit all the way around to confirm my stitch count (adding a YO on either side of each pair of corner stitches).
Now I’m doing something that’s a cognate for the eyelet row. Since my total is divisible by 4, I’m working (K2, k1, YO) units all the way around – ignoring those corner stitches for now. I’ll do another row of plain knit next, then look into whether or not I need to play with the row ratio for one of the several versions of the Print of the Wave family companion borders I have in the house (the variant supplied with the pattern, plus two in Heirloom Knitting, plus at least one other in yet another lace book on my shelf.)
How did I get all those stitches onto something manageable? I’m using the two-circ method. One circ holds one end and one side, the other holds the remaining stitches. I may not enjoy using that method for socks (for me DPNs are faster) but for flogging a zillion stitches into submission, it can’t be beat.
Do I recommend just winging it in lace knitting? Probably not if your constitution can’t take the searing realization that you’ve done something stupid and have to rip back miles of work. Since I don’t bother with lifelines, that ripping can be harrowing. Why do I do it? I can’t say. Maybe I just like living on the edge in this one tiny facet of my life. If you’ve been reading along for a while you have seen that whenever I am given two paths knitting-wise, I’ll always chose the more risky or more arduous option. Getting there may be half the fun, but I want to chug up craggy mountains and press on through jungle perils on the way.
Yes, I’m still knitting. I’m in the “I’ve memorized the pattern repeat and up to churning out yardage” part of the project. The center area of my scarf/stole is approximately 3 feet long. Another two feet and I’ll be ready for the edging:
On the other needlework project contemplations, I wrote to ACP Textiles (the linen source I cited in my first post on the curtain project), asking them about thread counts of their products. They were gracious enough to reply immediately. Here’s the data in case you’re looking at their products, too:
- Flax Canvas 28 x 24 – 52″ wide
- Craftsman Linen 20 x 18 – 55″ wide
- Osnaberg 40 x 45 – 58″ wide
- Irish linen 40 x 32 – 55″ wide
- Belgian linen 34 x 38 – 54″ wide
- Raw linen 34 x 38 -54″ wide
That’s one set of vital data points necessary for further contemplation of this project. The remaining two are what stitching design to choose, and how and to what size specifications will the curtains be made
I am contemplating using one of three historical patterns from The New Carolingian Modelbook – all done in monochrome: If you have a copy, here are the citations.
Plate 33:1 – an extremely long block unit repeat, which I would embroider in voided style (working the background, not the foreground) in either cross stitch or long-armed cross stitch. This one is of a complicated interlace sporting grape leaves, and columbine flowers.The strip is 53 units wide, and the entire pattern repeats in about 308 units, center to center. The first publication I found of this was in a modelbook printed in Lyons dated 1533, although it was reprinted at least once by a different publisher in Venice in 1546.
Plate 63:1 – one of the more open straight stitch unit motifs, not suited for knitting or cross stitch but perfect for double running stitch (aka Spanish stitch, Holbein stitch) work. This one is an interlace with pomegranate and acanthus motifs. It’s also 53 units wide, but the repeat is complete in 146 units. This one was graphed from a photo of a boy’s shirt, circa 1540.
Plate 69:1 – another straight stitch motif. This one is of grapes and grape leaves, 65 units wide, with a repeat complete in 127 units. If you happen to have a copy of Drysdale’s Art of Blackwork Embroidery, the original 16/th/17th century Spanish artifact this was graphed from is also shown there on page 33.
Window size and curtain construction
My window is pretty big, original to the house. And it’s one of two. Here it is, adorned with the tired dime-store lace curtains and tobacco-stained roller shade left by my predecessor
I have not sewn curtains before, but it should be pretty logical. Especially for something this plain. I’ve you’ve done this and have warnings or spot flaws in my thought processes, please chime in.
I want flat panels with little or no extra width compared to the window. I want to sew little brass rings on the top that will be threaded onto a narrow brass rod, so I don’t have to allow for a header. I am also going to line the curtains to improve drape, give a bit more privacy, make the back neater, and increase their thermal retention (such as it will be). My window is 44 inches across, from one edge of the sill to the other. My window is 71 inches from top of the casement to the surface of the sill, and 74 inches from top of the casement to the bottom of the casement. It looks like any of the fabrics listed above would be wide enough to provide the two panels I need for the window side by side.
Since I would be hanging the things from a rod attached to the casement, about .75 of an inch below the top, and the rings are likely to be about an inch in diameter, I’d subtract about 2 inches from the 71 for total finished length. That gives me two mirror image panels about 23 inches wide x 69 inches long. I have enough width in my fabric for seam allowances. My guess is that for stability and drape, I’d want a hem of about 2 inches at the top, and about 4 inches at the bottom. That means that for each window I’ll need to buy about 2.25 yards of linen, plus an equivalent amount of lining fabric.
Now which fabric would be suitable for which of my motifs, and how would I go about placing them on the curtains, and how would I treat the right-angled corner when using designs that don’t provide that detail? Obviously more public contemplation of this project will appear here.
As you can see, I’m making progress on my Print of the Wave scarf/stole thing. It’s roughly 24 inches long. I figure I’m a tad under half-way home.
I am now contemplating whether or not I want to do the center back graft thing recommended by the author. The advantage is that the highly directional orientation of this texture design would then present the same way on both ends when worn.
They’d match, with the vine-like bits growing up from the each end. On the other hand, there would be a noticeable seam across the center back – another area of visual focus.
And the jury is still out on how to edge the piece. Part of me says that working the narrow complementary edging specified in the pattern would be quick and easy. And part of me says “Easy. Heck. Just think of the challenge of edging the thing with an 8-inch wide mitered border using at least three different stitch designs and THEN putting on an edging.” We’ll see which one prevails – sense or the lack thereof.
As an aside – if you’ve had problems with sporadic access to this site or leaving comments here, please send me a note at admin [at] wiseneedle [dot] com. I know that moving is disruptive and that when you move part of the audience is lost, but the silence here is deafening. Of course shouting out “Where did everyone go?” in an empty field is an exercise in absurdity. Sort of like thinking about adding a complex 8-inch border to what amounts to a spur of the moment knitting doodle. In any case, a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year to all!
Working away on the Wave scarf. Looks much as yesterday, but longer. I have however found my Heirloom Knitting book. I’d swear the knit gremlins stole it and then replaced it because it turned up on the shelf where it was supposed to be, in a spot I had checked a half-dozen times before. I am sorely tempted to use one of the wider Wave family border variants shown in the book instead of the elegant but simple one included in the pattern. We’ll see what happens when I get there.
In the mean time I continue to work on wiseNeedle. I’m tinkering with the KnitWiki’s structure (on paper). I want to get the skeleton logically organized before leaping into populating the thing. I’ve also been answering old advice board questions. There’s a spotty backlog of about a year, mostly inquiries that were stuck behind the junk entries. I am sure I’ve surprised some folk who posted their questions years ago, requesting that answer notifications be sent to them by eMail, who then never got an answer. More than a few out-of-the-blue notifications have arrived this week past.
On the yarn review side, I’m slowly adding basic info for as many of this season’s yarns as I can find. I’ve put in about 130 this week past, but have barely scratched the surface. I do note that people continue to be confused about the yarn maker list. There are hundreds in the collection – far more than the top 10 or so that appears on the drop-down list. In an effort to clarify how to use the thing I repeat some of the info from the how-to page.
The list of makers that appears on the drop down is a list of convenience only. It’s automatically generated, and changes as more yarns and reviews are entered and posted. We do not alter this list in response to manufacturer requests, nor do we put forward this list as a “short list” of recommended manufacturers – it’s based on a flat-out census count of yarns in the database only.
To look up a manufacturer that is NOT on the top-ten list, we provide a handy search utility. Click on the “Lookup/Add” button next to the “Manufacturer” field. A small secondary window will pop up.
Type in the first few letters of the manufacturer’s name and then click on the “Search” button in the little window. A list of manufacturers with similar names will pop up. Select the one you are interested in by clicking on its blue code name.
Some manufacturers are particularly arcane due to mergers, acquisitions, licensed “celebrity” names, national-market specific branding, or sub-lines. Here’s a list of the more arcane:
- Alice Starmore is listed under Broadbay
- Babajoes is under Merino Sheepskin Co, Ltd.
- Cestari is under Christoper Sheep Farm Yarns
- Dalegarn is under Dale of Norway
- DGB is under Difference G. Brui, Inc.
- Galler is under Jospeh Galler
- Holiday is under Robert Bremen
- KFI is under Knitting Fever
- Filtes King is under King
- Knit One Crochet Two is under K1, C2
- Kraemer is under Robert Kraemer, Bremen/Holiday
- Lady Fair is under Eaton
- Lily is under Spinrite
- Lewis is under John Lewis
- McGregor is under JL McGregor, Ltd.
- Peter Pan is under Wendy
- Pierber is under Laines Pierber
- Plassard is under Laines Plassard
- Trend Collection is under On Line
- Triola is under Bonnie Triola
- Vittidini is under Adrienne Vittidini
- Zitron is under Atelier Zitron
When you click on the manufacturer’s blue code name, the little search window will close and the “Manufacturer” field on the main form will be filled in with your choice.
It was cookie time here again at String Central. School Bake Sale season is upon us. I know there are some readers here from outside the US and Canada who may not have run into this custom before, so in the interest of sharing the joy, I share the joy. (I do hear that the UK shares this particular custom, too although it’s more centered around church groups doing good works than it is civic groups and schools.)
On election day most polling places in the US are in public buildings – very often county, town, or city-run schools. School parent committees see all that foot traffic as opportunity, so on most election days they mobilize as many parents as possible to make edible goodies to sell as fund raisers – always with some lofty goal or another. Send the band to the regional competition; refurbish worn-out playground equipment; send supplies to a sister school in a disadvantaged area; buy books for the library, a van to transport special needs children, robes for the choir, violins for the orchestra, or uniforms for the sports teams- the list is endless and every cause is deserving.
Most often it’s hapless non-baker moms who are dragooned, and interminable plates of cake mix brownies and slice-to-bake chocolate chip cookies are prepared by those with generous hearts and more volunteer spirit than time or baking knowledge to spare. Zucchini (vegetable marrow) season is especially feared because of the flood of zucchini breads and muffins that overflow the sale tables. I don’t think there’s a parent of a school age child in the US who has not heard “Oh, and we need to bring something to school today for the bake sale” ten minutes before the bell rings. You can find those parents buying cupcakes at supermarket bakeries on most bake sale mornings.
Needless to say, it’s local/state election day tomorrow and the clarion call for cookies has been made. This time around I made icebox cookies: half and halfs – chocolate and cinnamon. Seven dozen. On a work night. Thankfully I had advance warning and mixed the dough and refrigerated it on Saturday. Which explains in part why time was at a premium this weekend past. Even so, I’m cookied out.
Knitting? Yes I did some of that, too. As you can see, my Wave scarf grows:
Working with this linen of forgotten provenance is interesting. It’s relatively soft – no sharp bits of cuticle like some linens I’ve used. There are some fluffy slub like areas, and some places where the stuff is sewing thread fine. I am not having any problems working the lace pattern in it, and the result is surprisingly soft for something as slash-your-fingers-before-breaking durable as the the yarn actually is. I’ve got a ton of it. My foot or so of lace has made no discernible dent in the ball.
Well, it’s obvious that talking about wiseNeedle is a sure-fire way to keep people away from this blog, so I’ll give the topic a rest. Back to knitting.
I’m swamped again at work so discretionary knit time is at a premium, but I did manage to cast on for a Print o’ The Wave scarf. The body pattern is relatively simple – a 12 row 16 stitch repeat, with half-drop symmetry. That means there’s only three substantive rows to memorize, plus the fact that after three rows they’re repeated with an 8 stitch offset. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll bother with the author’s specifications for grafting two pieces together in the middle thing to make the two ends symmetrical. Perhaps instead I’ll just pick up stitches and work out in the other direction. Or maybe I’ll just keep going. It depends on how mindless everything end up being and how bored I get without other sections or pattern changes to look forward to.
The yarn is a nameless lace-weight linen I bought aeons ago at a Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. You can see some of the texturing it has if you click on the thumbnail above to pull up the larger image. No stretch in the stuff of course, which will make blocking interesting, but it’s butter soft. I’d estimate that it’s about 15 inches across with minimal on-needle smoothing out.
I have to admit that one of the reasons I like complex lace knitting is that there’s always something interesting and new happening. It’s fun to watch the pattern build row by row, accumulating each new texture and design. This scarf by contrast is a long strip of a single stitch pattern. We’ll see how I as a knitter with the attention span of a mayfly handle this challenge to perseverance.
On the domestic front, my Heirloom Knitting book is still AWOL and I’m at sixes and sevens over it. I wish I could blame Franklin’s Delores, but she was no where near Boston during the week it disappeared. Besides, she’s not my hallucination. I’ll have to get both more creative and entertaining before I come up with an excuse half as amusingly incorrigible.