Tuesday, January 30, 2007

there are always more fish .....

Its wednesday, 2nd week back at work, albet short days 9-3 due to 'holiday' child care hours for my under 5, but work none the less. And I have a heavy head cold, the kind where the front of your face aches, and feels full, and your brain is numb. Still while I don't feel up to playing multiple rounds of connect four, or candy land or other games with my wee ones so they are rejoicing in the extra tv time, I can knit mindlessly- so knit I have been.

First up Toby's hat, finished, knit late-but-sort-of along to the podcasted instructions, it fits, and is all washed, blocked, dried, pom-pomed, and folded away in a drawer awaiting winter. I got the decreases wrong, thinking in error that a that I had planned a standard k2 tog to give me a clock-wise spiral. Well no, it didn't, and I had thought about that for more than a 30 seconds when i wrote my last post, I do realise why. Anyway by the time I noticed it seemed to late, then I realised that there was no rule that said hat decreases couldn't zig or zag - so switched to the ssk decrease, and the result is this bent arm 8 legged spider top to the hat. Measuring ear lobe to ear lobe, and Toby having a small head means this hat is 'generous', but that is not a bad thing he is 7 and will grow. I blocked the hat over a pink balloon, inflated to the same size or a tad smaller than Toby's head, and left it to dry amongst our collection of brass vases. This means the folded up cuff will be set in place. the added pom-pom is a tad retro, but Toby insisted, and he made this one. Notice my increasingly sophisticated photoshop skills, managing to construct a serries of images for the blog from one, all matching in image size and resolution- she says modestly.

Fish, I have been fascinated by the fish afghan which pops up on knitters review and other blogs over the last few years. Apparently the original was published in a knitters magazine (not one I know personally but is considered good), and is not in the public domain. This is an blog with one knit to the original recipie, which seems to be larger and with eyes, and is joined by crochet. I did find a link to a german version which seems the same as the one I used. I printed a recipe out from the net last year and pasted it in the back of my workbook. It has now been removed from the www world. There is a good knitters review discussion on this. I decided this project would be a great way to use up the little bits of fine yarn left over from socks. I just can't bring myself to throw so little bits out, and yet there is no way I can get another pair of socks from the remains, nor am I likely to knit a composition sock of mis matched remains. I do have some aesthetic sensibilities. I'm not alone in this, as fibrephile was knitting hers in sock yarn also, but that was Jan 2006, by March she was up to 46 fish, and now we are a year latter. I did find a Lucy Neatby tessalated workshop image that fascinates me, but don't feel up to it in several ways, visually, colour matching or just plain following the necessary graphs. Imagine the pre planning!

The pattern I used is this pretty much the one here reverse enginered by AprilBrokenArrow. Sock yarn on 2.25 mm dpns. I have knit around 28 fish so far, this image was taken when only 21 were done. Not sure how big the blankie will be, but the fish are quick to knit. I can knit between 5 and 7 of an evening. There have been some reports of the fish not lying flat, but this pattern results in flat fish, especially after blocking. I do wonder if what lies flat in sock yarn would curl in heavier yarn. In my muddled mind I clearly see that the differences in the lengths of the edges and shaping is far smaller in a small fish than in a large fish - larger fish would need different shaping. This lady has worked out a version for heavier yarns where all the increases and decreases are at the edges. I am using a long tail cast on (not twisted) and a sewn bind off so both the ends looks the same. In hindsight I realise that a chain style cast on and a chain cast off would make all the edges of the fish match, the sides have a chain resulting from slipping the first stitch purlwise. I don't care enough to re knit these fish, but if I were to start another blanket might consider it. Each fish takes 9m of yarn, including a generous cast on and cast of thread, so a real left over project.

I did start to wonder about the fish, if they could be knit in a strip. Not sure if you can tell, but one of the pink fish here were knit tail to nose, while all the other fish were knit nose to tail. It was a very simple pattern to reverse. What I did learn was that tail down fish end up with a straight tail, while nose down fish have a curve to their tail. This is because my cast off was tight, an observation lost on me until I compared to two fish. The fish knit after that observation have much straighter tails.

Co-joined Fish, Simese fish, or knit-as-one Fish Afghan play around.
So my little play last night was to see if I could knit the blankie as a whole with no seaming - why? well I'm not sure why. I honestly don't know but it seemed a good idea at the time. I haven't sewn any of the sock yarn fish together yet, so don't know if seaming will be a problem. I read some where whip stitch not matress, and others have crocheted. As I said I don't know why, probably lack of clear and critical reasoned thinking due to coldrex day and night tablets and lack of sleep the night before due to blocked nose and coughing. Anyway here is my result, note please the way I even bothered to slip the first stitch of the co-joined fish which resulted in a chain edge, not necessary, not planned but very pretty. Sometimes not thinking to much makes a nice effect. Notice also the neat interlacing of yarns on the reverse side. It would be possible to knit a blankie like this with no seaming. And again I am tempted. The down side here is that it would be a preplaned blanket, knowing where each colour would go. For me this scrap sock yarn fish afghan blankie is more in the tradition of granny quilts, those made from fabric scraps saved and resused. However I am not discarding entirely the notion of a planned version latter, maybe in sea blues, or monochrome black, white and grey?

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