Fridays with Franklin: Very Kinky, Indeed

April 26, 2019
Fridays with Franklin logo

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

If you want your Kinky Yarn to be kinky, you have to let it dry thoroughly before you unravel it. After I’d finished my dye jobs, I went away for a week. Probably a good thing, or I’d have been poking and prodding it to see if it was still damp. To speed it along, of course, you can uncoil the cake.

I was happy to see that the extra soak on the sprayed cake (dyed with Fashion Spray Marabu) had done some interesting things to the interior.

Oooh.

When I uncoiled the cake, I was even more excited by the effect.

Ooooooooooooh!

I was less thrilled with the painted cake (decorated with Textil Marabu) because of course the decoration was limited only to the outer surface. The inside was still blank.

Not quite ready.

If I were to use the paints again (and I would–they were a pleasure to work with) I think I’d just paint the unrolled coil. For the moment, I set aside this cake of Kinky (that is never not going to sound weird) for further manipulation.

The sprayed cake was begging to be knit up. I unraveled it from the end, rolling it into a ball as I went. Very easy. The strand was undeniably kinky.

Sure is kinky!

I wasn’t really sure what to knit with it. I decided not to decide until I’d messed around with it a little bit.

I knew I’d need a large needle, not only because Kinky is bulky but also because it’s lightly spun and lofty. If you knit a lofty yarn of any weight with a relatively small needle, you’ll squeeze the life right out of it.

I worked from plain garter stitch into moss stitch and then double moss stitch, increasing my needle size a few times to see which would give me a fabric that made me happy.

What’s more exciting than swatch photos?

Ultimately I settled on US 10 (6 mm) addi Clicks. For hands used to working with nothing much above a US 4 (3.5 mm), that took some getting used to.

Curiosity drove me onward. I really wanted to see what would happen with this stuff. I didn’t want to work only in garter stitch–too familiar. Moss stitch wasn’t much of an improvement. Double moss looked a bit better.

It made sense. This yarn was
• bulky,
• kinky, and
• variegated.

The combination calls for a bold, simple repeating stitch pattern if you’re going to use one. Anything delicate or finely detailed will just be lost.

On a hunch, I pulled out a Victorian pattern from my collection, suggested in the nineteenth century publication Weldon’s Practical Knitter as the center for a knitted coverlet.

It’s bold, simple to knit, and makes a non-curling fabric that’s the same on both sides. Here it is, translated into modern knitting terminology.

Wedge Pattern (1880s)

Multiple of 8 sts plus 3

Row 1. Slip 1, knit 4. [Purl 1, knit 7] to last 6 sts. Purl 1, knit 5.
Row 2. Slip 1, purl 4. [Knit 1, purl 7] to last 6 sts. Knit 1, purl 5.
Row 3. Slip 1, knit 3. [Purl 3, knit 5] to last 7 sts. Purl 3, knit 4.
Row 4. Slip 1, purl 3. [Knit 3, purl 5] to last 7 sts. Knit 3, purl 4.
Row 5. Slip 1, knit 2. [Purl 5, knit 3] across.
Row 6. Slip 1, purl 2. [Knit 5, purl 3] across.
Row 7. Slip 1, knit 1. [Purl 7, knit 1] to last st. Knit 1.
Row 8. Slip 1, purl 1. [Knit 7, purl 1] to last st. Purl 1.
Row 9. Slip 1, purl 1. [Knit 7, purl 1] to last st. Knit 1.
Row 10. Slip 1, knit 1. [Purl 7, knit 1] to last st. Purl 1.
Row 11. Slip 1, purl 2. [Knit 5, purl 3] across.
Row 12. Slip 1, knit 2. [Purl 5, knit 3] across.
Row 13. Slip 1, purl 3. [Knit 3, purl 5] to last 7 sts. Knit 3, purl 4.
Row 14. Slip 1, knit 3. [Purl 3, knit 5] to last 7 sts. Purl 3, knit 4.
Row 15. Slip 1, purl 4. [Knit 1, purl 7] to last 6 sts. Knit 1, purl 5.
Row 16. Slip 1, knit 4. [Purl 1, knit 7] to last 6 sts. Purl 1, knit 5.

How do you know which was to slip? Here’s a general tip to carry with you. Always as if to purl, unless otherwise stated; and also–if the last stitch of the previous row was a knit, slip with the working yarn in front, but if the last stitch of the previous row was a purl, slip with the working yarn in back.

The Wedge Pattern played nicely with the yarn. You can’t see the precise shapes of the wedges, but the regular changes from knit to purl gives the fabric a very interesting and pleasant faceted effect.

Happy and kinky.

I knit on 27 stitches until the yarn was almost used up, ending with Row 16. After binding off, I had a long rectangle about four feet by 18 inches.

That would be a frustratingly short scarf. But all I had to do was give a half twist in the middle and whip stitch the ends to gather to make it into a very luxurious, cozy moebius cowl.

Finished moebius cowl.

However, as I was unable to find a willing model I must present it to you on an unwilling model: me.

Zowie!
Mysterious!
Cozy!

Okay, okay–I kid. Here it is on one of my most loyal models. As we were in a hurry she didn’t have time to put her face on.

The other cake (well–now it’s a strip) of Kinky remains to be used up after a bit of further decoration, and that’s what I’ll show you when we meet again in two weeks.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kinky Yarn (100% superwash wool)
addi Click Turbo Interchangeable Needle Set
Textil Marabu fabric paint
Fashion Spray Marabu textile spray paint

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Bookwas brought out by Soho Publishing.

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, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, 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/Makers’ Mercantile. 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 (presently on hiatus).

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.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

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