Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pink mint in Merino,

I have started Pink-Mint, thats the name I use to think about the latest jersey. And I have to make some decisons about how it will be. I had wanted to steek this one, just because I can, but feel the way the Merino Yarn washed up would not suit that at all, why, well it went very silky, very very slippery when washed. So I have a nagging doubt that even machine knitting could hold the cut edges safe and sound from unravelling. The edges on the washed swatch did fluff up nicely, and would make a fine edge for something with a fluffy fringe. I am however not going to tell my little wearer to be that, or that decision will be made for me - and this is my jersey design. This is intended to be a warm, intricate, my mother loves me jersey for my Josie-Poppy, who will be 5 and off to school next winter. Except all the adults assume she has a Nana who knits, they never assume it is the Mum. I guess they think working mums don't have time or the inclination.

This blog was set up for me to track my thinking progress as I plan and execute my knitting. So at this stage I am going into the details of what decisions I made in designing the new jersey and why. I am im part inspired by Wendy(see sidebar), although my knitting is no where as fast or productive. I ask my students to document the decision making processes on the designs and making they produce, so here I am using this to document the same in my work. Trying to be a reflective practioner, learning, improving through investigating my own work practice.

Ok so about a week ago I started the rib, having decided that corrugated rib in the round was quite attractive and unusual in a hand knit. I like to show off little clever technical aspects in my work. I do like the way the floats on the back push the purl bumps forward - making a nice textural contrast. I had a quick play with casting on in two colours, one stitch from each yarn, but was obviously having an uber dyslexic day and soon decided not to add to much learning to this curve. Turns out I as right - not so much a steep learning curve but a frustrting one this week. Gauge on my washed swatch is around 9.4 sts per inch, or 3.7 sts per cm, using 2.5 mm needles. Yarn is Naturally Haven 4 ply Merino in mint and pink, and Schoeller and Stahl Baby Merino in winter white. I am using a size chart which suggests a size four needs a finished chest of 27 inchs, and a size 6 28.5 inchs. I calculated I needed a 27.75 inch finished size for my 5 year old to be next year, making 252 stitches for the body. I rounded this up to 260 stitches, which is divisable by 4 so fits lots of the small fair isle repeats I want to use.

I first started the rib and had ribbed around 1 cm when i discovered the tube was twisted. All 260 stitches on 2.5mm needles. Bother, briefly wondered if about continuing on for a mobius scarf then I cut the yarns and cast on again, in tubular rib edging - and it went well, except I found I had switched yarn order over my fingers about 3 cm in, and the rib was flicking or curling up plus there was a very prominent switch in yarn floats on the back. I assumed that the switch in yarn cary so breaking float pattern had caused the flicking up - or curling. I frogged, and cast on 260 stitches again, this time on 2 mm needles, as I had also noticed a little flare in the lower edge. The tubular hem was a nice treatment, and looked great despite the curl, so I used smaller knitting pins to cast on to tighen it up. Again a few cm's into the rib and I realised this stitch, corrugated rib, curls, and curls and curls, despite how lovely the tubular rib looks the curling was bugging me. A whole week of knitting and nothing but a 4cm band of curled corrugated rib to show for it. You can see the curl in the close up on the right, and the lovely tubular rib edge.

I did a search on corrugated ribbing, as had little response to my querry on knitters review. In my search I found a link to rjconklin. who had researched curling corrugated rib. Apparently the solution is to have more purls than knits. Problem, I wanted 1x1 rib, not a chunky 2x3, or 1x2. What to do? A second search found a Wendyknits post, that women is amazing, who suggested using a long tail cast on, and steaming, but it does look like she used a 2 purl rib so who knows if that would fix it. Another cast on, at this stage I think I am up to my 5th?, and gosh darn it, only had enough tail for 210 stitches, so a little more frogging and up to cast on number 6, 260 stitches, and rib, keeping the purl yarn wound over the index, the knit yarn over the indes but wound on the 2nd finger, and we are now here -

I have completed a few repeats of the fair isle I am using on the lower body section, repeat over 4, with a plain or ground colour row between each pattern row. I am looking at Josie-Pop flit around my bedroom, and notice she is wearing a blue sknow flake sweater I knitted last year, which is shaped at the waist, now I wonder if I do this to this next one.

Long weekend in New Zealand, labour weekend, Monday off work, celebrating the introduction all those years ago of the 40 hour week, imagine working longer for less as our grandfathers and grandmothers did. Today is Monday, and I get to blog, photograph, fold washing, yesterday we had two little girls over for a play date, and the day before - Saturday, we had two swimming lessons, one princess party to go to, one boy visit and out for dinner. Today I am happy to do little, but knit, fold washing and think about the short week at work.

Take care.

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