29 August 2012

Bootkicked Tutorial #5: Joined Picot

In the pattern I wrote "jp" for "joined picot." This maneuver combines both the picot and the joined ssk, so please be sure to watch both of those videos first and work those techniques a few times so you feel familiar and confident.

This maneuver appears in only one row of the pattern. If you like, you can just work a regular joined ssk instead, but I noticed the missing picot in the selvedge. Basically, you'll set-up the two stitches to be joined, work most of the picot, then finish the join, then finish the picot. By the time you get to this row of the pattern you will have knit many picots and made many joins, so this really shouldn't give you a lot of trouble.

28 August 2012

Bootkicked Tutorial #4: Joined SSK

In the pattern I wrote "jssk" for "joined ssk." You'll need to rearrange some stitches so you can work a left-leaning decrease that will join the triangular and square sections of the scarf as you knit. The joined ssk is worked at the beginning of certain wrong-side rows.

For those of you who are very clever and know how to combination knit, you can reverse-wrap the last stitch of the right-side row. When you turn, that stitch will already be turned and facing east, so all you will have to do is slip the other stitch over. This will save you a wee bit of time and effort.

27 August 2012

Bootkicked Tutorial #3: Fill Hole

In the pattern, I simply wrote "fh" for "fill hole." You'll make the holes on the right-side rows, then fill them in on the wrong-side rows. Notice that this technique could be used for different-sized holes. The ones in Bootkicked involve binding off five stitches. Whatever size you use, be sure to bind off an odd number of stitches on the make hole element because the fill hole element is (knit, yarn over) repeated as many times as you need, ending with knit. So the fill hole will always be an odd number of stitches.

26 August 2012

Bootkicked Tutorial #2: Make Hole

In the pattern, I simply wrote "mh" for "make hole." There are other ways to make holes, but I particularly liked this version from Lucy Neatby.

If you want to try this technique to make other sizes of holes, be aware you should bind off an odd number of stitches. It is easy to bind off any number you like, but when restoring the stitches on the following row, it will be easier if you are restoring an odd number rather than an even number. This is because you restore the stitches by working some variation of (k yo k) or (k yo k yo k) or (k yo k yo k yo k) into the large hole. While you could work (k yo) or (k yo k yo) or (k yo k yo k yo), I suspect ending with a knit stitch rather than a yarn over will be tidier.

25 August 2012

Bootkicked Tutorial #1: Picot

Bootkicked is an intermediate level scarf. You'll be doing three or four things at once:
  1. shaping (triangles or squares)
  2. pattern (half-drop holes separated by three ridges of garter stitch)
  3. edging (picots)
  4. joining motifs as you go
None of these things are difficult, per se. But all of them are probably a little more interesting than your usual knitting. So over the next few days I'll be posting five short videos to show you clearly the odd little steps to this strange little dance.

First up: Picot Edging

Be aware that in the pattern, I simply wrote "mp" for "make picot." There are a lot of different ways to make a picot, and you can do what I did or something you like better or you can just delete the picots entirely. Picots are made by casting on stitches and then binding them off immediately. In Bootkicked, you'll always be casting on and binding off three stitches, but you can do more or fewer to make your picots longer/larger or shorter/smaller. You could even vary the number of stitches in your picots to produce a very raggedy edge.

24 August 2012

Bootkicked, the Bad Noro

Back in the autumn of 2008, I came up with a scarf pattern I named Bootkicked.
It all started with a bad, bad skein of yarn. I am not the person who purchased the bad skein. No, that was Woofgang Pug. She fell in with a bad skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. Remember when we were all smitten by Noro Sock? The colors were lovely, and it knit up in the mysterious long gradual color changes we adore in Noro. Except this skein. Woofgang Pug started with a toe-up sock. The toe was green, then the foot was black. And there was an intriguing midnight blue that was supposed to be in there. Woofgang Pug kept knitting, but the yarn stopped changing. She was nearly to the heel turn, but still, the yarn was black. Where was the blue?

You've probably guessed this was a "norotorious" skein. Yes, we all love the beautiful colors of Noro yarn. But we also hate the way Noro all too often has knots or joins with breaks in the colors. This was one of those bad skeins. This is also a yarn that is not springy like most sock yarns. It was early October and we were at a knitting gathering to welcome Benjamin Levisay and Rick Mondragon at Whit Robbins' home. (This was during the run-up to the very first STITCHES South.) Woofgang Pug talked about how she had just fallen head over heels for Opal sock yarn and how she was regretting her relationship with Noro. And finally we all came to the consensus that life is too short to knit with yarn you hate. So we had an intervention, and the bad Noro came home with me. (At Christmastime, Rare Purls in Duluth helped me secretly send a skein of Opal Harry Potter Dumbledore to Woofgang Pug. She gave one, she got one better.)

I thought about this skein that had treated a friend so shabbily. And I knew lots of people were not knitting this yarn into socks. So I designed a scarf that would make the skein look as if it had been flogged. Bad skein. No more being mean to knitters. To summarize Nancy Sinatra: These boots were made for walking and they're going to walk all over you.

My inspiration came from a couple Lucy Neatby patterns I had purchased that summer. The Spindrift Scarf uses holes to create a very open and lacy fabric. It would be a great pattern for a skein of yarn that is a little short, as all those slits cause the fabric to open and cover more area. The Sea Lettuce Scarf uses picots to create an intriguing ragged edge. Combining those elements created a finished fabric that looked flogged and distressed. There were also lots and lots of people working short-row scarves with alternating triangles. I wondered what would happen if you "made a mistake" and knit straight between the triangles? It turns out the resulting shape hangs with a slight ruffle that is quite feminine and pleasing.

By the way, the skein did get back at me. This bad boy was short! I ended up running out near the end and swapped with archamanda on Ravelry to get what I needed to finish. Yes, he was a bad skein indeed -- inconsistent colors and only 90g instead of 100g.

After I finished the scarf I found an afternoon and went up on Kennesaw Mountain to take pictures. I had planned to send the pattern to Knitty. But then after I took many, many photographs, I checked Knitty's submission rules and discovered the requirement you had to have pictures of the item being worn. Eventually the Cuddly Hubby and I found a day to take pictures. But the whole thing just sort of fell by the wayside. Sometimes a project gets snake bit, and this one got snake bit on the back end.
In the intervening nearly four years, I've come back to this project off and on. I wrote out the pattern. I cast on with a different yarn -- leftover Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (another norotorious yarn, but at least it wet-splices) from the Curlique Shawl. I messed up and put it in time out. Life went on. This summer, I finally picked Bootkicked #2 up off the piano. (Yes, time-out knitting sits on my piano.) It was time to finish. I ripped back my mistake. I pulled out my notes. I reprinted my directions. I rediscovered what I had done. And off I went, confidently. I even recorded five videos of how to work particular maneuvers in this scarf. And so, I now offer Bootkicked as my very first for sale self-published Ravelry download.

Edited 12 January 2014 to add:
Thank you to Brenda Morison for finding a couple mistakes in version 1.0. If you purchased the pattern on Ravelry, you should be able to download version 1.1. If you purchased a paper pattern -- perhaps at Georgia Alpaca Fiber Fest 2012 -- then here are the errata:
Beginning Triangle:
Row 63: mp, inc, k1, (mh, k2) 4 times, k1. 17 sts total — 2 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 2 sts.
Rows 73 - 78 (same as 65-70): mp, k32. 33 sts total.
Row 79: mp, k1, (mh, k2) 3 times, mh, k1. 17 sts total — 2 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 2 sts.

Edited 24 January 2016 to add:
Yeah, that gremlin on Row 63 refused to go. Thankfully, Tronya on Ravelry noticed it.
Try these instead:
Beginning Triangle:
Row 63: mp, inc, (mh, k2) 3 times, mh, k1. 17 sts total — 2 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 2 sts.
Joined Triangle:
Row 63: mp, inc, (mh, k2) 3 times, mh, k1. 17 sts on left needle — 2 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 3 sts + yo + 2 sts, 1 st on right needle.

Upcoming: the video tutorials.