10 April 2008

More Than One Way to Skin a Sweater: Modular

I do a fair bit of my own designing, so I'm particular about whose patterns I knit. This pattern is called the "Bamboo Kimono" and it comes from Two Sticks and a String by Kerry Ferguson. The copyright is 1999 from Fiber Studio Press. I happened upon it in one of the not-quite-local yarn shops. This is one of the few pattern books -- rather than technique books -- I've bought and it has lots of beautiful designs. At some point, I'd also like to knit the "Puzzlemaker Jacket." And a note about the sizing in this book -- most of these patterns are for bigger people. I dropped down several needle sizes to change the gauge so that the Bamboo Kimono would fit me. Ms. Ferguson's original is a 52-inch chest -- about 20 inches more than what I need.

As with Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater, the Bamboo Kimono was originally designed to be knit all in the same color. Once again, I acquired a supply of Knit One Crochet Too Paintbox color #08 Painted Desert. The sweater was cast-on at the bottom. The back is one rectangle with an interesting and fun chevron purl pattern. Paintbox has long color changes but not that long. I knit this lower panel with three different balls of yarn which all started at about the same point in the colorway. I knit one-third of the way across, twisted yarns as for intarsia, then knit the middle third with the next ball, twisted yarns again, and knit the last third with the final ball. Intarsia technique is not difficult and well worth learning if you like to work in color-changing yarns. (The intarsia twist is near the center of the detail at left.)

The upper part of the jacket is modular construction, primarily in garter stitch. I worked the modules from one cuff to the other, joining as I went. I also added length to both sleeves. Close attention to the color changes was necessary with a yarn like this. I wanted the colors to flow logically. This particular color of Paintbox wet-splices quite well and that was a big help, enabling me to manipulate the order of the colorway.

I finished off all the raw edges with a two-stitch k1, p applied i-cord worked from the wrong side. The effect is similar to reverse single crochet (crab stitch). I'm not quite sure what inspired (possessed?) me to try this, as I don't recall coming across it anywhere. The motion of the yarn from front to back for the change from knit to purl and back again helps to form the overcast edge.

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