The Adventure of the Transparent Excuse to Show You More Pictures of My Adorable Dog, Part Four
For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.
For the first part of this adventure, click here.
The votes are in!
Last time, I asked you to decide whether I ought to move forward with Option A or Option B…
…as the fabric for a new sweater for Rosamund..
(This is Rosamund.)
More than 500 of you voted (thank you!) and it was a landslide for Option B, 73 percent to 27 percent.*
Which meant–shall I tell you what that meant? I’ll tell you what that meant.
That meant I had to re-knit the swatch for Option B all over again, because I didn’t take gauge measurements from it the first time.
I think it was then that I realized if I could stitch together all the false starts and swatches associated with this sweater, I’d have enough fabric to make Rosamund a set of billowy Auntie Mame hostess pajamas with a matching capelet.
As a seasoned professional, I try not to let such thoughts become obstructive. When they bubble to the surface, I find it’s best to shove them down, down, down into the deepest recesses of the most remote crevasses of the outskirts of my soul. There they remain until, years later, they re-emerge under medically supervised hypnosis as a series of harrowing, apocalyptic shrieks.
It works for me.
Planning for Growth
Knitting a shaped, patterned fabric means planning the shaping so it plays well with the patterning.
You don’t necessarily have to hide your shaping stitches; but if they’re going to show, I find it’s wise to consider what effect they’ll have on areas around them. Otherwise you’re almost certain to find the areas of transition are a muddle, and it’s those areas that often draw the eye.
In the first sweater, which was plain, I put the increases at the shoulders. That made the increase stitches themselves something of a feature.
I could have done the same again. Why not, though, try to find a way to keep that grid of garter stitch flowing with as little interruption as possible?
It seemed to me I could begin the increases right under Rosamund’s chin, on either side of a center stitch, gradually forming a triangular panel across her chest.
According to my calculations I needed an increase of 44 stitches from the neck to the shoulder, over a distance of seven inches–or, at my gauge, 42 rounds. Very convenient: I could simply increase two stitches in every other round. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect fit–but it was well within the fudging limits that knitting allows us.
Some designers can keep all this stuff in their heads and rush into the knitting. Me, I have to make myself charts and drawings to figure out what I want to do. In chart form, the triangular panel (here abbreviated so it will fit the page) looked like this.
The question remained of how exactly to treat each of those stitches.
It would have been possible to work out a completely different stranded pattern for this area, but frankly time and logistics were against me. This is the busy season for a traveling teacher, and I will be at retreats or festivals almost every week throughout January and February. This would therefore be an on-the-road knit, and for the sake of my sanity I decided to do this.
The chart’s been turned point-down now, of course, so it’s oriented in the fashion it would be knit–beginning at the neck.
What you see above is a series of stockinette panels which are, as in the original swatch, bordered by garter stitch. Within the garter borders, the light and dark yarns alternate stitch by stitch and round by round.The horizontal garter bands occur in the same rounds in the chest panel as they do in the rest of the fabric. In theory, it should all flow together.
It’s not revolutionary, but it’s something I can work without a chart on a bumpy airplane. In fact, that’s exactly where I knit most of what you see in this hasty progress shot.
The chest panel is emerging pretty much as I hoped.
However, this is the awkward adolescent phase of the project, when it’s bunched up on the needle and nearly
impossible to photograph without it looking more like a dog’s dinner
than a dog’s sweater. So I choose to reserve judgment until I have knit quite a bit more, and can perhaps get it home and have a preliminary fitting on the model.
In the meantime, I’ll be doing something we haven’t done before–revisiting and remaking an old project from one of the first series of Fridays with Franklin. Drop by in two weeks to see what I’ve been up to.
*Fans of Option A, don’t despair. I still like the chart and have filed it away. Today’s rejected idea is tomorrow’s…well, something. It’ll become something, some day.
Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue
Simpliworsted by Hikoo® (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; 140 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 033, Red Hat Purple; and 013, Violette.
addi® Turbo 16-inch circular needle
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.
He travels constantly to teach knitters
at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has
been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue
Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and
the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon,
one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average
day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays,
cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.
Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with
15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of
yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.