07 January 2015

Rovaniemi Swatch

Yesterday I wrote about the cell phone bag I made using this technique. Today I want to write a little more about the technique.

I've posted the picture nice and large so you can see details (I hope!). The diamond at the bottom was worked using the techniques and chart Susanna Hansson provides. The red and yellow lines when running from lower left to upper right are worked by knitting two stitches through the back of loop, dropping the first stitch, and knitting the second stitch through the back of the loop again. When you knit a west-facing (left-facing) stitch through the back of the loop, it twists to form a "p" with the vertical strand (formerly the right leg of the stitch) on top. It is these vertical strands that mimic weaving. In the bottom diamond, there is no special technique for the lines running from lower right to upper left. They do end up a little distorted because the vertical stranding is two stitches wide. Since most people knit from right to left, if you knit two stitches and then shift the pattern one stitch to the left, you are working the same wale of stitches twice in a row.

The little black motif in the center is also a bit distorted. If you knit the bottom stitch from right to left, then on the next row the left leg of that stitch is pulled back to the right as you work the three center stitches. As Lucy Neatby teaches, happy stitches have a friend on both sides, so their left legs are drawn to the left and their right legs are drawn to the right. There are a whole lot of unhappy stitches in this swatch.

The middle diamond was worked in the same way as the cell phone bag. I still worked lines slanting to the upper right using the technique Susanna teaches in class. But now I mirrored the stitch twisting on the other side. Here's what I did.
Turn all the stitches to be twisted so they face east (right).
Instead of working k2tog-tbl, k1-tbl work knit 1, leave it on the left needle, then knit it together with the next stitch, coming at the stitches from the normal direction.
By changing the stitch facing and working the stitches from the normal direction, the stitches are now twisted into a "q" rather than a "p". The vertical strand was formerly the left leg of the stitch.

My change to the central black motif was to knit the three stitches in the center back backwards. While this doesn't make the top and bottom single stitches completely happy, at least they get some tension in roughly the proper direction. I also slightly changed the overall red and yellow diamond in the chart.

Midway through working the bag, I thought of another way I could have handled the problems this technique presents. The diamond at the top is worked this third way. I used my changes to the chart. Fair warning: this way of working is a mindful knit. When I really sat and thought about where yarn was tugging on the back of the work, I realized that my mirrored solution was not quite perfect. The lines running upward to the right would have the yarn from one row to the next pulled diagonally across the back of the work, while the lines running upward to the left would not because the same wale would be worked in the same color. So, I decided to make the yarn run diagonally across the back for the left-leaning lines. To do this, I worked the right-leaning as I had before. When I got to the first pair of stitches meant to be twisted for left-leaning, I slipped them knitwise to turn them. Then I worked k2tog, k1 again by knitting back backwards. I only did this for the yellow and red strands. The white strand I continued to work as I had in the middle diamond, because the white yarn is background and runs all the way around the swatch. Yes, this is just a fiddly and crazy as it sounds.

For the black center motif, I worked plain white stitches and duplicate stitched the five black pattern stitches afterwards. This does make the black a little more raised and textured than working it as an incorporated color motif. On the other hand, all the twisting to make the diamonds adds a great deal of texture. More texture is not at all out of place. And the duplicate stitch has better tension and less distortion.

Overall, I'm happy with the experiment. But, I don't think I'll be designing anything with this technique and motif anytime soon.

1 comment:

plnc said...

You have done it again!! I took Susanna's wonderful class and made mittens with my class wristlets (I pre-purchased some background yarn and took the already knit cuffs with me to class). Anyway, I love your solution because, you are right, my mittens are not mirror-imaged and you neatly solved that :-)