Saturday, March 31, 2007

Size Matters

I'm still wrestling with the Japanese patterns, although it seems to be coming together quite well. Since all the patterns are charted and all the symbols on those charts are standardised, it's pretty straight-forward once you know what each symbol means. There are a few "special" symbols that are not included (because they are quite unusual/complicated, or both) and these are explained in "words". You can perhaps imagine the contortions I got into with "Slip one stitch to cable needle and leave at back of work, SSK,YO,P1 stitch from CN" and with the three variations of this same manoeuvre requiring the knitter to leave one (or two) stitches at the back (or front) and YO and single decrease (right leaning, left leaning, knit or purl). I have decided not to stress too much about all this and have reached a conclusion which suits me - looks like the picture, has the correct stitch count, is fairly simple to accomplish. So if it's not exactly as the designer intended? Well, we won't know, will we?

My problems at the moment are not to do with the actual stitch patterns but with gauge and thus yarn choices. The cardie thingie (technical term) I really want to knit uses a 100% wool yarn. The yardage is given as 80m/40g (which seems an odd put-up to me so I've "translated" it to 100m/50g). The needles used are 4mm and 5mm (but, as we know, the "loose woman" here will probably be looking at 3mm-ish). The gauge is 23sts/24rows to 10cm in pattern.

I've swatched using some 100% wool from Texere. The yardage given is 112m/50g, so it's a bit too skinny (technical term) but I just wanted to have a bash at the pattern stitch.

It's nowhere near the right size and when I increased the needle size the fabric became far too "floppy" (technical, very technical). This is obviously the wrong yarn for the job. Looking at the photograph of the yarn it looks quite lofty. So if anyone has any suggestions for a yarn I might try, please, do tell.

Here's a close up of the little cable and lace panel:

Tired of trying to bend the yarn to my will (and failing dismally), I turned my attention to something I feel much more comfortable with - a shawl.

This is from the Japanese book, too. Yarn called for is 145m/50g and is a mixture of wool, silk and some other squiggle that I don't understand but it must be a metallic element because the picture of the yarn shows a bit of sparkle in there. I don't really do "bling" so I started it with some Zephyr left over from the "Great Cosmos". This at least has the merit of being wool/silk. Of course, it's nowhere near as thick as the original yarn but we know that shawls don't have to fit and we also know that though I worry constantly about a shawl turning out to be too small, after blocking it very often turns out to be fit for draping Blackpool Tower.

Here's a slightly dodgy picture of the beginning. It looks much more purple in real life - this is what it looked like in the picture when I bought it and this is what I thought it was going to look like when it arrived. It's called "Iris" so I was imagining a deep blue. It's purple. There is no getting away from it. You know that poem? "When I grow old I shall wear purple"? That's me.

Then I started to worry that it would be too small and I'd run out of yarn (I've got nearly 4oz and we know how far Zephyr goes but nevertheless...) So I rooted through the stash and found some pearlised cotton that I'd completely forgotten about. I started again:

As I said, "Size Matters" You can see the pattern much more clearly here and I'm not sure I don't even prefer it. I'm still worrying that I'll run out of yarn. This yarn is so ancient that the yardage isn't given on the ball band but I've got seven balls. I don't know how I'll go on if I do run out. Do they even make this yarn anymore?

Just for a change we have the Saturday Back Field picture actually appearing on a Saturday. I got this about an hour ago, since then the sky clouded over, there was a very heavy shower, the sky cleared and now it's looking much as it did. Got to love England for the "four seasons in one day" roller coaster that is the weather.


Margaret said...

As much as I love purple, and love Zephyr, I think the white cotton really shows off the pattern better. You can always overdye it later. Best of luck!

Jane said...

I have to agree. The white shows the pattern much better. Maybe the other yarn would be OK once blocked but I'd hate to do all the work and then be unhappy with the result. I will cross my fingers in hopes you have enough to finish the shawl.

littlelixie said...

The white cotton looks awesome - I agree with margaret and jane. Hope you're having a good easter x

allisonmariecat said...

I was excited about the purple shawl, but then saw the white. It's gorgeous and the pattern is so much clearer.

rachel said...

Count me in as another vote for the white - it's lovely and everyone who knows me knows I generally prefer purple!