29 March 2010

Catching up


Where does the month go? I've been very busy knitting away. I'm not done with either project, so no finished objects to show yet. But I did want to show a little bit.

I'm working on a couple extra sweaters I want to add to my STITCHES South class. I've made good progress on both, so I have to just keep at it. One of them I cast on just a week ago. I'm using the hand-dyed cotton yarn Crayons Lite from Rainbow Mills. This is one of those handpainted yarns with color changes every few inches rather than every few feet. (Schaefer Laurel is similar.) I swatched this yarn about a month ago, trying different pattern stitches. The yarn is meant for plain stockinette in the round to create a tie-dye effect t-shirt. But I knew I would be knitting a cardigan jacket back and forth. After much testing, I settled on linen stitch.

Both sides of the fabric are interesting, so much so that I'm not sure which is the public side. Perhaps this will be a reversible garment. Glee! If you haven't done linen stitch, it isn't all that hard but it is time consuming. Working on an odd number of stitches, alternate knit one, slip one purlwise with yarn in front across the right-side row. (You'll end with knit one because of the odd number of stitches.) The right side is shown at the top of the post.

On the wrong side, alternate slip one purlwise with yarn in back, purl one. (You'll end with slip one because of the odd number of stitches.) In other words, you'll work the stitches that were slipped on the right side row and slip the stitches that were worked on the right side row. The wrong side is shown below. Because the purl bumps are on that side, it has a more textured surface. Can you see already that since you are only working half the stitches on each row, it will take twice as long to knit something in linen stitch as it would in stockinette?


The advantage of this extra patience is a reversible fabric that lies flat and behaves somewhat like weaving. That's because you are essentially weaving the working yarn in and out of the wales of knit stitches. The yarn on the slipped stitches is always carried to the right side of the work. However, I can certainly envision variations of this pattern where you slip more stitches, change which side the yarn is carried on, and the like. A special advantage for this yarn is that the slipping breaks up the color pattern on the hand-dyed yarn. There is some flashing and pooling, but it is broken up in a way that I think is very nice.

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