20 April 2011

Serpentine Short-Round Scarf, finish

This last video shows you how to work a three-needle bind-off.  In this example, the bind-off closes the double-knitting.  You can also use this bind-off to join two pieces of knitting.  And I've even shot it both with knitting needles and with a crochet hook.

For those of you used to knitting straight through both stitches, you'll notice that I knit the stitch on the front needle and purl the stitch on the back needle.  This causes the stitches to lie flat to form a nice, well-behaved chain detail.  It also causes the wrong-side of the chain stitch to hide inside the knitting, rather than on the public side.  It's a subtle difference, but one I hope you'll appreciate.

19 April 2011

Serpentine Short-Round Scarf, continued

Above is a nice, clear pictures of the finished Serpentine Short-Round scarf.  The first three repeats of the pattern will turn in one direction, the next three repeats turn in the other.

You'll be carrying the shifting contrast color up the inside of the double-knitting.  It isn't difficult as it only involves moving the yarn forward or backward, and some slipping of stitches.  But if the words in the pattern don't make perfect sense -- or if you are just a very visual learner -- you can watch.

This first video shows you how to shift at the beginning of the pattern, as the contrast color rounds are becoming shorter.

The second video shows you how to shift during the second half of the pattern repeat, as the contrast color rounds become longer.

Tomorrow: Finish with three-needle bind-off.

18 April 2011

Serpentine Short-Round Scarf

Well, my first published pattern is moving out into the world. The Serpentine Short-Round Scarf was in the STITCHES South Fashion Show on Friday evening. If you were in the market on Saturday or Sunday, you could acquire the pattern with purchase of the yarn. The booklet will be published later this summer, hopefully in June.

I do want to be good about pattern support. If you purchase one of my designs, I want you to be able to work through it all and to be able to do so using the sort of subtle detailing that a long-time knitter would use. I want you to have a beautiful product you wear with pride around knitters.

Because I enjoy playing around with construction and technique, this scarf is knit in the round and shaped using short rounds, rather than short rows. It is also a type of double-knitting, this being the slipped-stitch variety. You only deal with one yarn at one time, working across the needle in knit one, slip one. I have given you a cast-on and a bind-off that match, which is the sort of quality detailing I think you all expect in a good pattern. I don't think this scarf is a difficult pattern, but the techniques are a little unusual. I hope the words in the pattern make sense, but if for some reason they don't, I've shot some videos to help.

This first video is the crocheted cast-on. I work it with my fingers. Yes, you may personally find it easier to use a crochet hook, but I'm working on the assumption that we're all knitters here, and you might not want to get off the couch to find the crochet hook.

Notice that the crochet cast-on will produce a chain-stitch that will match a regular bind-off.  If you are knitting flat, try working a slipped-stitch selvedge (knit the first stitch of every row through the back of the loop, slip the last stitch of every row purlwise with yarn in front), you can have chain stitch all around. This is especially great on blanket blocks, because all the sides match and it is easy to seam. But this also is great on garments or afghans, because you can pick up in the chain stitch or add edgings very easily. And on a scarf you can make both ends match, which is great if you are adding fringe or trim.

The second video is how to convert the crochet cast-on into a double-knitting cast-on. If you want to make the serpentine scarf, you'll have to do that.  Watch the first video to learn how to get started, then watch the second to see how to continue.

 Tomorrow's videos: how to shift your yarn in the scarf.

11 April 2011

That's no shawl . . .

it's a tablecloth!

Earlier in the year, I returned to working regularly on Lyra. I was doing either two or four rounds a day, and enjoying just puttering along at a consistent pace. But then I decided that maybe I should check the boards on Ravelry to see if there were any errata or other bits of advice. Many, many people had stories and pictures about knitting Lyra and having trouble with a certain section not blocking flat.

So . . . I sat down and checked the math. Lyra is knit from the center out. And the math in the first few rows is roughly as expected, about 8 stitches every-other round through about round 42. But then the increases slow down. Part of this may be because hexagonal mesh lace is introduced at that point, and hex-mesh seems to stretch generously. But from round 69-86 the increases just stop. And then round 87 has 16 decreases! Inconceivable! And this is all the more perplexing because Herr Niebling was clearly a master lace knitter. How could his math be so terribly wrong?

I was discussing this problem on Wednesday with Pam. We were sitting at a round table, eating our lunch and sipping our tea. And then Pam had an epiphany. Why would a master lace knitter forget to increase? Because he didn't want to. He wasn't knitting a shawl, he was knitting a tablecloth! The lack of increases was to make the tablecloth hang straight and to prevent it from sliding around on the table.

Now I won't feel like an iconoclast if I make changes to the pattern.