Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Pretty Edging

As I've been looking for ideas for the wedding garter I'm working on, I've found a few things that I won't be using but are too good not to share. To the right are my swatches of the Scalloped Edging by Judy Gibson from her website, The top swatch is three repeats worked in Size 12 perle cotton thread on US 000 (1.5 mm) needles. The lower swatch is only two repeats worked in Size 5 perle cotton probably  - - yes, I should have written it down - - on US 2 (2.75 mm) needles. What a difference!

These swatches are worked back and forth, but Judy also gives instructions for working it in the round (and for making a sweet lace bookmark).

I kept getting lost in the verbal instructions, so I made a chart. Don't freak out over all the black squares; they are just there as placeholders and require nothing on your part. The beauty of a chart like this is that you can see how all the stitches line up when one section increases while the other decreases. It certainly made it easier for me to keep track!

The cast-on is the straight edge. The bind-off is the curved edge and, as such, must be worked loosely. The rows numbered on the right are right-side rows and the ones on the left side are wrong side rows. (Of course, if you're working in the round, all the rounds are on the right-side.)  As the symbol key shows, I follow the convention that the chart shows the fabric as it would look on the right side.

Judy's site has more of her original designs plus eye candy she's knit from others' patterns. It's certainly worth a look!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I've Been Practicing?

In 1990, I made a wedding garter for my youngest sister. I started out trying to hand knit the lace on quadruple 0 (1.2 mm) needles. Okay, lace needles need to be sharp to facilitate working multiple stitches together, but when they're pointy enough to draw blood, you've got a problem. To make a long story short, I had to change my plan and use commercial lace.

I've designed and knit lace since then, of course, but I don't recall ever trying to work that small again. So a few weeks ago, when I picked up US 0 (2.0 mm) needles and some heavy thread, I was surprised by how natural it suddenly felt. I'm pleased to say that I'm now working on triple 0 (1.5 mm) needles with Size 12 perle cotton (shown to the right with sock yarn for comparison).

The impetus for this is our nephew's upcoming marriage. I asked his fiancee if she would like me to knit something for the wedding, and she asked me to make the garter. I'm so delighted to have a tangible way to welcome her into our family!

And I'm also glad that she asked for a garter. It's a small enough item, but it has so much creative potential! (I was a bit surprised, though, that now-a-days embellishments can include skull charms and flask pockets.) To corral all the potential, I set up a Pinterest board called "Bridal Garters". There are some DIY instructions for garters, bows, and silk flowers, and also a growing collection of knit edgings. And since this is a knitting blog, I will concentrate on the edgings.

I don't have a real idea about why it was suddenly easy to do fine knitting. I suspect that the US 1 (2.25 mm) needles I used for countless pairs of socks primed me for smaller needles. Certainly, I would suggest to anyone looking to work on very small needles to do some swatches or small projects on descending sizes of needles.

I'm still in the exploration stages of this project, but I've found a few interesting things to share with you in future posts. In the meantime, a couple of hints. I wish I knew this one in 1990: quilters have little adhesive ovals to protect their finger tips. I saw them on Jo-Ann's website, but I imagine other large craft stores and quilting specialty shops will carry them. The other hint is pictured to the right. Thread comes on spools that want to fall off the table and roll around on the floor. I'm using a ring stand to keep the thread clean! And I still have room for my rings!

That's it for now. Until next time . . .