Monday, March 19, 2007

Turning Japanese

I think I'm turning Japanese (I really think so). Regular readers of my blog will know that Kate would rather read about it than actually do it. Imagine her frustration, then, when she is presented with a knitting book that she simply cannot read. However, in another way this is a great liberation. There is nothing to do but "just START, Kate."

Of course, I haven't "just started" quite yet. Partly through my usual procrastination, partly through there being other projects on the needles; projects I would really like to finish in order to give me a good run at the Japanese patterns. I have been doing more research on Japanese knitting patterns. I joined the "Mountain Ash" Yahoo group. Not that I'm knitting Mountain Ash (I haven't even got the pattern) but there is some very useful information in the files section. I think it's worth joining the group just to have that info. I have also become aware of the "Crossed in Translation" KAL. Again, not that I'm knitting that cardi but there are some useful leads to follow. I found some general notes on reading Japanese patterns here, and a more detailed discussion of reading Japanese charts here. These are written from the point of view of a machine knitter but nevertheless contain valuable information.

As soon as I finish the Romance Shawl, I'll start on the Japanese one. I thought that moment would come fairly soon - I was working the very last row of the light border when I discovered a dropped stitch (it's those pesky double decreases), which had run down a few rows. All efforts to repair the damage (as I managed so triumphantly on the WRS) failed and I was obliged to rip out the whole border. I have not taken a picture as I did not wish to be reminded of the devastation. It's "only" fifteen rows (but there are about 500 stitches on the needle...)

Then there is the "Anne" cardigan. Whoever decided that it would be a good idea to knit a cardigan in one piece from the bottom up and incorporate vertical stripes needs their head testing. I am beginning to suspect that this person has not actually knitted this garment. There are three colours, there are twelve stripes, there are twelve "balls" of yarn hanging off the knitting.

Here is the original chaos, when I thought that keeping the yarns in a box at my feet would work:

Obviously not. I then thought about using the knitters' secret weapon, the clothes peg, to pin each skein-ette to the bottom of the cardi. That was so not a good idea that there isn't even a picture of it - far too heavy, far too unwieldy, just plain hopeless.

Finally I have reached a workable alternative. The skeins are arranged on cloth, in the correct order. The cloth is turned at the end of every row.

It works. It just means that I have to sit at the dining table to work on it, so it's not terribly relaxing. It's a real shame because the yarn is beautiful and just knits up like a dream.

I am so not enjoying this project, simply because of the design, that I seriously considered re-writing the pattern to start at the front edge and be worked sideways around the body (effectively in horizontal stripes), knitting on the bottom border afterwards. It wouldn't be that hard and would make the knitting so much more enjoyable. However, because I'm knitting this as a commission, and because the recipient is out of the country and thus unavailable for consultation, I've decided I'd better stick to the pattern as written. I should think a Japanese cardi will be a piece of cake after this little delight.

Saturday Back field:

The weather forecast threatened snow, and though there were a few flakes, it came to nothing.


Marguerite said...

Check out my blog for pictures from the New Style of Heirloom Knitting.

Now that you can manage dozens of balls of yarn attached to the same sweater, I think you need to give that entrelac sweater a try. :-)

Marguerite said...

Have you seen the Knitting Japanese Wannabees blog?

Sounds like you qualify to join us.

Kat said...

Wow! That look complex, but a good idea, I thought trying to knit with four colors of yarns was difficult!

Jane said...

I too joined the Mountain Ash KAL but I'm not knitting it at this time. I also looked over the posts for hints on how to make that shawl so I have some idea what I will be in for once I start. My sister bought a pattern that had similar strips to the one you are knitting. We donated the yarn and said "forget about it!". Good Luck with that cardigan!

allisonmariecat said...

Oh, good heavens, look at all that! I think I would have given up, and I'm quite impressed that you're soldiering on.