Sunday, 7 July 2013

Winter blues

Just recently, I remembered why I'm not keen on winter. Can't be doing with cold weather - it seem to get right into my bones.

The one thing I really like about winter is that I get the urge to knit. When Jennie visited in June, she was knitting this scarf using short rows, which results in beautiful triangles. I got quite excited, because I haven't knitted anything with short rows for ages. So I tried out the technique on some variegated yarn I had left over from another project.

Of course, I didn't have enough of it for a scarf but it made a beautiful piece of cloth, which will get used for something, sometime.

Then I started thinking, "what if?" My first "what if?" was using short rows to make diamonds along the centre of the knitting. I knitted the initial triangle, but then, after the next triangle, I slipped stitches to the centre and knitted a double-sided version, for the centre diamond. Then I slip stitched to the end and knitted the second side triangle. It worked as I imagined but I wasn't thrilled with the results. The join between the changes in direction was much more pronounced, perhaps because there's a lot more distortion in the knitting and therefore tension on the stitches. If I used textured yarn, that probably wouldn't be as obvious, but I found the process quite tedious. It's not exciting enough to show in a picture.

My second "what if"? was to change the stitches. Obviously, a scarf needs to be double-sided, so the pattern uses garter stitch. The interest is in the changes in the direction of the rows and the variegated yarn. I tried a rib with a dropped stitch pattern in one triangle, doing it both sides of the knitting, and that worked very well.

I was using leftover plain knitting yarn as a test swatch, so I could see the effect, and I think it would even work like this as a scarf, without using a fancy yarn.  But it would be even more interesting in a variegated yarn, though the pattern would be lost (and difficult to achieve) with a textured or fluffy yarn.

All this is really procrastination. My next project is a vest for the man in my life, to be knitted in Bendigo Woollen Mills 5-ply Classic, but it requires some fiddling around to get the pattern right. I guess I'll bite the bullet this week and do the planning...