Friday, April 25, 2014

Crimped Row Stitch #1

I have more ideas for  modifying "Old Shale", most notably using eccentric increases and/or putting the decreases on different rows than the increases. By "eccentric", I was thinking of drawing up new stitches through various places in previous rows. I would decrease them out over several rows so that the new stitches would fan out over the background. It was a nice thought, but I ended up with a mass of strands I couldn't identify and decreases that did not correspond to the increases they were supposed to. I still like the idea; I filed my notes and swatches and I'm going to let the idea simmer for a while. In the meantime, I started a swatch where I drew up stitches and decreased them out quickly. And that created a topic for the next few posts. 

Unlike knitting in a row below the next stitch and allowing the intervening stitches to drop, these pattern stitches keep all the previous rows intact. For this reason, they can be done on every stitch in a row without  the row below completely unraveling. The process puts little crimps in the fabric, hence the name.
Basic Stitch #1 
(Notice that patterning is worked on the WS.)

Cast on any number of stitches, plus 2 for selvedges. Use a needle 1 or 2 sizes larger than the one you will be knitting with.
Rows 1 & 3 (RS): Purl.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 4: K1. Insert RN from front into st 3 rows below next st on needle and knit up a st. Place the new st on LN without twisting it and k2tog-b. Continue until 1 st rem; k1.

On the first pass through the pattern, the new stitches will be drawn up in the sts on the cast-on row as shown in the diagram. (I used a knitted on cast-on.) The patterning produces enlarged sts which will be three rows below when the next patterning row is worked.

Bind off loosely in pattern Row 4.

This stitch biases wildly before it is blocked. I used superwash Merino wool for this swatch. When wet, it is an extremely malleable material, so I was able to block it to get the result above. Obviously, it's important to block your swatch before you start a project, especially if you plan to use synthetic yarn. (Need I add that this is a good practice anyway?)

Next up will be the purl version of the basic stitch. Until then . . .

Monday, April 7, 2014

No Plain Rows

The next logical step after a pattern stitch with
only one plain row is a pattern stitch with no plain rows. At this point, the fabric becomes a different animal: the yarn overs are separated by single strands of yarn as opposed to the linked strands when there are plain rows. In fact they are given different names. The former is called "knitted lace" and the latter is "lace knitting". To me, this is somewhat akin to remembering what happens if the groundhog does or does not see its shadow. The names, of course,  are not nearly as important as the results.

I've been doing my swatches in Shetland wool since "Old Shale" is a Shetland pattern. This is wool that I can break with my hands, and on occasion I have - - without trying. I was concerned that  the single strands would not hold up and decided to do my swatch in a substantial cotton. As it turns out, I needn't have worried because there are a number of traditional Shetland stitches patterned on both sides. (Search for "Shetland Lace" and you will find some jaw-dropping eye candy!)

My first attempt was an offset pattern with the wrong side decreases above the right side increases and so on. It was horrible! I will keep less than successful swatches because there is always something to be learned from them, but I unraveled this one immediately. For the second swatch, I stacked the increases and the decreases and worked the same row repeatedly, both right side and wrong side like garter stitch except in lace. This result  looked a little muddled as you can see in the photo. The swatch pictured above is done as a two row pattern with knitted decreases on the right side and purled decreases on the wrong side. They are still basically the same row; if I were to work it in the round, I'd work every row as a right side row. For this reason, the chart has only one row. Since Row 1 is indicated on the right of the chart, it is a right side row and is worked as such. Row 2 is indicated on the left of the chart and thus is a wrong side row.

There are three things to notice in the closeup. First is the awesome texture of the solid areas. Second is the open area formed by the column of yarn overs that are not eventually "consumed" by the decreases; this is indicated by the green arrow. Finally, the blue arrow points to a "bonus" open area. This is formed between the three-decrease groups. (It is similar to the gap that forms on socks if you don't put one or two knit stitches between the decreases on the toes.)

Bind off in pattern, but put a (yo, bind off) between the pairs of decreases where the gaps occur.

Until next time . . .