Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pass that Frog.

There I was racing away on the pink shoulder cozy, when I suddenly took it into my head to check the stitches per four inches again. Yes, there we are, perfect. 14 stitches. Then I glanced at the pattern. I did a double-take. How many stitches in four inches? 18. What? 18; eighteen; one, eight; one ten and eight units.

You would never imagine in a million years that I have been knitting for over 40 years. You would think that I had never taken up a pair of needles before; that reading a pattern was a closed book to me; you would never imagine for the smallest nano-second that I could be so stupid as to mis-read the pattern and then dash on (using needles 4mm smaller than called for) until I had knitted up the whole of the first ball of yarn and a fair proportion of the second. Would you?

Pass that frog.

I have frogged the whole thing. I have started again using 6mm needles (only 2mm smaller than the needles called for - that's a bit more like it.) The drawback is I have wasted a bit of time. The advantage is that I now know the pattern inside out and I can use short rowing to make the curve smoother.

How did I do it? I cast on the total number of stitches needed, which in this case is 146. I used a separate length of yarn for this. I then placed markers to indicate: the central 34 stitches (this was the original cast-on number); 20 stitches on each side of that (for the cast-on 4 stitches at beginning of next 10 rows); the 22 stitches on each side of that (for the cast-on 2 sts at beg of next 22 rows); which left me with 14 sts at each end for the cast on 1 st at beg of next 28 rows. I then slipped stitches until I was at the beginning of the 34 central stitches and, using a new end of yarn, began knitting in pattern, incorporating an additional four stitches at the end of each row until I hit the markers, then I started working two more stitches at the end of each row until I hit the markers again. I think you will agree that this has eliminated the "steps" in the original:

Isn't that so much better? It is so often the case, at least for me, that the pattern as written could be improved no end. I don't know why the designer didn't write the pattern this way. It is not rocket science - the hardest part is doing the maths and if the designer had written the pattern this way she would have done the maths for you! Anyone who might have contemplated making this as written would be more than capable of working short rows (especially if they were well explained) and the added benefit would be that knitters who were unaware of the magic of short rows would have the scales fall from their eyes. Anyway, I'm pleased with it. I suppose tinkering with the pattern gives me something to do in my copious spare time.

"Happy Spider" asks if the pattern stitch has a name. In the book it's called "Slip Rib Pattern". I have never come across it before but that is not so surprising as I do not own Barbara Walker's Treasuries (except the Charted one) and have only a couple of stitch dictionaries (one ancient Mon Tricot book - "1500 punti", in Italian; and one collection of stitches, part of a Fabbri partworks thing, also in Italian).

That's enough for now. I have to go back to work and deal with Christmas parties. I'm afraid I'm a little bit "Bah, humbug!" at this time of the year.

Cheered up no end by the sky as seen from the rural backwater at 7.45am this morning:

"Red sky at night? Shepherd's delight.
Red sky in the morning? Shepherd's warning"

Oh, dear.


Jean said...

Do I understand you correctly? You had fewer stitches per inch than called for, and you are going to a larger needle size? Um...

-Jean K.

littlelixie said...

Bummer about the frogging - I love the colour and the stitch. Promise me you'll do another swatch first!?

happyspider said...

oh dear... giggle though. i hate it when i get to confident and then the knitting brings me back down. think of it this way, you get to knit that lovely yarn all over again! :) its like having an extra ball at no extra price