Saturday, January 14, 2012

The weekend, in full technical detail

At last it is the weekend!  It has been a hard hard week, trying to readjust to early rising and commuting.
My car's electrics have been acting up with blown fuses and headlights that won't go off unless you pull the key out of the ignition.
FL and I have both learned more than we wanted to know about the fuse box, but neither of us has solved the problem and tempers have been frayed as FL's triumphant "I've fixed it!" is splattered by my "OH no you haven't!" the next time I start the engine.
It doesn't help that he cancelled my garage appointment. Sigh.  And to think it all began when FL tried to use the car cigarette lighter socket to charge my mobile phone... which blew the radio fuse... which blew the headlights fuse... which... ugh!
Enough of that.
And guess what?  This morning, mysteriously, the headlights are fine. 

FL isn't fine - his cold has come back full-force, just like New Year, and his teeth hurt and he is exhausted.  I am administering tea and sympathy but he prefers whisky with honey and lemon!

I need to get back in the groove.  The obvious thing to do is use fabric from the stash to sew a tried and tested pattern.  But I wanted something "new".  So I got up early this morning and traced the Meringue Skirt pattern from my Colette Handbook.  The sizing is strange.  On the face of it, I need to make the waist wider than the hip to make it fit.  This cannot be right!  So I have cut a size 2 and am going to stitch it and see what happens...  I have a suitable stash remnant so there's nothing to lose except patience.

I am enjoying very happy sock-knitting with my Finnish experiment.
Don't read too much into this:  I am only using the charts!
The Finnish words surrounding them are only comprehensible with the help of google translate which tells me this is a "sock recipe" for users to adapt to suit themselves.
That's what I am doing, thank you!
However, I do now know the Finnish words for "needles", "pattern", "socks" and "yarn" :D

Designing? (Warning - heavy on the technical detail!)

Hmmm.  My design idea for a knitted cowl has reached the point where I have to admit defeat.  I know what is wrong with it:  I tried to throw too many ideas at one project.  It had three separate stitch patterns, each of which knitted up at a different gauge, so the resultant fabric was puckered and mis-shapen.  I considered adding short-row shaping to the mix, but realised I was over-complicating the design to a ridiculous degree.

For those interested in the technical detail:  it was to be a strip of knit, joined at either end to form the cowl shape, possibly twisted over, moebius style.  So basically a simple rectangle of knitting, using stitch patterns which look the same on both sides of the fabric, rendering the item reversible (ooh!).

To one side, there was to be a deep border of lace, which would gradually get narrower, next to a big chunky cable which would cross the piece on the diagonal, next to a border of seed stitch which would gradually get wider as the cable moved across.

But as any fool knows, seed stitch is dense and tight while bird's eye lace is loose and drapey. Every time the cable crosses, it warps the overall fabric shape.  Movement on the diagonal required the introduction of garter stitch stripes across the lace section, to preserve the holey pattern as stitches were lost. It is possible that short-row shaping of these garter stripes might have helped regain some of the lost rectangularity, but this is the point at which I decided it was all getting out of hand.

I tried gathering the lacey section down each garter stripe and it looked pretty good, but that didn't help the too-tight seed stitch section, which moves in and out like the tide, according to the pull of the cable.  Yes, stern use of a steam iron might have knocked it into shape, but this would just be an attempt to cover up the inherent design flaw.  I don't want a flawed design!

Now... someone reading this might very well know how to make this idea work and will make their fortune on Ravelry selling pdf patterns of the resultant design (LOL).

 To this mythical person I say:  "Congratulations!  You earned your money, honey!  Because I am out of here with this damn-fool idea!"   ; )

Norby by Gudrun Johnson

 It was to be called "Skene's Moss", a terrible pun about the family who farmed here in the 19th century (the Skenes), the geese that fly overhead (in skeins), and the SkeinQueen yarn I used for the prototype.  Convoluted, rather like the design itself!
I think this yarn will make a lovely Norby hat!  So that's where it is headed. 

Better luck next time, Roo!


andrea said...

What about if you knit the cable as a separate piece and then sew it on afterwards? It wouldn't be totally reversible but would prevent the drastic pull that you get with big cables.

And no, I shan't be taking your idea and making a fortune on Ravelry. I have too much respect for other people's ideas to do that, and too much going on in my life to have the time even if I didn't have the morals.

Linda C said...

So frustrating to have a great idea which get more and more involved as you think of more ways to make it greater and add more and more embellishments until finally you end with a mess, as my mother would have said. Actually, she had a very descriptive term for such a thing (she was a crocheter- if that is a word). This term was "rat's nest.". Not that I would think so- but you, with the vision and the design, might.

My daughter weaves and is often stuck in the middle of a project when she realizes one of the threads or yarns chosen is fraying or just working out.

I think the NORBY hat looks wonderful and I am sure you will enjoy wearing it.

Scruffybadger said...

I'm going to keep out of the knit tech talk, but will say don't lose faith- you will get there in the end! Im thinking meringue too. Have an office number in mind, but interesting what you say about the sizing- I thought it was me that had changed shape! ( the dreaded middle aged spread!!) ps the knitting reminds me of space invaders- in a good way! said...

Wow own design! It may not quite have worked but you've learnt from that. I think what makes someone really successful is pushing themselves and being prepared to fail, because that's how you learn and grow (say's she totally in a knitting comfort zone at present lol)